Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Beware the Second Mistake

I have a little aphorism for life called "beware the second mistake."
Basically, it means that when you make a mistake, be on the alert so
as not to, in the fuss over the first mistake, make a second, bigger
mistake. This aphorism was created when I was a teenager. I was home
alone and had to leave the house to run a quick errand. As I was
pulling the family car out of the garage, I crashed the passenger-side
window into the side of the garage. Mortified about what my parents
would think, I hurriedly rushed off to my errand . . . and forgot to
close the garage. Now, we didn't live in a bad neighborhood, but
neither was it the kind of place where you can leave your front door
(or garage door) open. You can debate whether crunching the car
window or leaving the garage door open was the worse mistake; the
point of the aphorism is that when you make a mistake, don't lose your
cool or else you might make another mistake.

This aphorism came into play this afternoon. I was feeding Jada
lunch, and she started crying. Even though she doesn't eat much for
lunch, I thought maybe it was because I didn't feed her enough. Sure
enough, when I warmed up more food and offered it to her, she took it
and stopped crying. When she had finished that portion, she started
crying again. I decided to heat up more food, and again, sure enough
she took the food and stopped crying. By this point, this was a good
amount of food for lunch, so when she started crying again, I didn't
offer her any more food. I was cleaning up when she started coughing,
enough that I started to get worried that she might something caught
in her throat. Nope, not choking . . .vomiting. Yes, all the extra
food I fed her, that I probably shouldn't have, came erupting out of
her mouth.

I muttered to myself as I raced between the sink and the high chair,
wiping all the vomit off her clothes and the high chair. I
second-guessed my read of her earlier crying, shaking my head about
having fed her too much. All the while, I was a blur of wiping and
rinsing and more wiping. About the fifth or sixth lap between the
sink and the high chair, I realized that I had unstrapped Jada from
the high chair. I don't remember when I had done that, but even if it
was just for one trip to the sink, she could've fallen from the high
chair and gotten seriously injured. I stopped my cleaning, picked her
up out of the high chair, and held her really tight, so glad was I
that she didn't stir from the chair. I thought immediately of my
little aphorism, and scolded myself for not remembering it in this
instance. Thankfully, like the original second mistake – leaving the
garage door open – there was no harm. Still, when I make mistakes
with Jada, I would do well to remember my little aphorism and be
careful not to make a second, bigger mistake with her.

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