After Sage’s first birthday party, my sister-in-law Ashlie put Sage to bed. Later in the evening, I decided to check in on her. (Sage, not Ashlie.) I often check on her in the evening. I knew Sage’s room would be warm enough, but it occurred to me that we hadn’t discussed leaving a nightlight on. The nightlight isn’t for Sage; it’s for us, in case we feel the need to check on her — we need to be able to see her.
I went into the room, and Sage had thrown things out of her crib (whether she did this before Ashlie put her to bed — say, at her afternoon nap that wasn’t much of a nap — or after, I’m not sure, and I feel the slightly paranoid need to say that Ashlie did a fantastic job and none of this is a complaint in any way).
Sage’s stuffed animals were on the floor near the crib — her Sock Monkey Sailor, her Brown Bunny, and Crinkle Dog. Crinkle Dog is a loud little toy, flat as can be, whose body sounds like those bags of Sun Chips that were supposed to be so environmentally friendly.
I picked up Sock Monkey Sailor and Brown Bunny, leaving Crinkle Dog alone so as not to wake Sage, and I put them carefully in the crib. I went to her nightlight and switched it on so I could see her better.
She was stretched out so that her head was nearly touching one side of the crib and her feet nearly touching the other (short way across, of course), with her face to the wall, lying mostly on her stomach. I realized that this position meant she had probably dropped at least one of her pacifiers between the crib and the wall, so it was underneath the crib. I took a peek, and sure enough, there was one about a foot and a half underneath the edge of the crib. Since she sometimes wakes up and searches for a pacifier, I decided to grab it and get it into the crib next to her.
I had to drop to hands and knees to reach it… and I still couldn’t. I lay down on the floor, stomach down, holding my torso off the floor by using my elbows as support. Crinkle Dog was right beneath my chest. I had to lower myself carefully, stretching out my left arm to reach the pacifier while holding myself up on my right elbow high enough that I didn’t squash Crinkle Dog, which would make such an incredible noise that I feared I would wake her.
Three more inches to reach the pacifier… two more inches… stay off Crinkle Dog… one more inch…
I was so focused on Crinkle Dog and the pacifier that I failed to take into account how close the top of my head was to the Diaper Genie, which I had knocked backward into the wall.
Sage started shuffling around a bit.
I froze, balancing my chest two inches from the floor, my left hand extended to reach the pacifier, my right arm shaking with the exertion of the unintended isometric exercise.
Ten seconds. Still shuffling around.
What if I have to straighten up and I startle her and she spends the rest of her life terrified of monsters under the bed?
Twenty seconds. Still shuffling and huffing now, too.
At forty-five seconds, she seemed fairly quiet. I cautiously pulled in my left hand, straightened up, stood up, put the pacifier in the crib, and zipped on out of there.
I felt like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Except his head didn’t bonk a container full of used diapers, of course.
Action Hero Dad.