Freddie, Angel, and Georgie were playing on the stairs with some neighbor kids. Angel has discovered the joy of sliding down the stairs. When the bigger boys were little, their silly daddy would put them in cardboard boxes, or seat them on snow sleds before sending them, giggling and shrieking, bumping and sailing, down the stairs. The middle boys like to take slick sleeping bags to slide down. The older boys even now will augment this fun by squishing a twin mattress into the stairwell, and then sliding down. What raucous, wild, boy fun! And now Angel and the twins have joined in the club, pulling nicely-folded sheets out of our linen closet to slide down on.
There were four or five kids on the stairs, little preschoolers who don't take up much space and slide down the stairs slowly, cautiously. Somehow in the peewee melee, Georgie got tipped over and stopped himself in a precarious head-down position. By the volume of his screaming, he must have thought he was going to die.
I hurried down and scooped him up, but he continued to wail, loudly. When we mothers hold a distraught child, we usually cradle them on one arm, over our shoulder. The little one screams while we try to comfort. It is very noisy.
I wish I'd known to protect my hearing. Position the baby or tyke, over your shoulder, with his ear next to your ear. It's even better if you can get your ear even with the back of his head, so his head is all the way behind yours. The little one if facing backwards, you face forwards. Hold the back of his head with your hand to prevent his head from arching back, if you need to. This way, the screams go behind you, and not in your ear.
Children scream at about 110 decibels - about the same as a chainsaw!
I'm right-handed, and usually hold babies on my left arm so I can do things with my free right hand. Consequently, I am a little bit deaf in my left ear. I'd do it all over again if it was the only way I could have my wonderful rugrats, but I wish I'd known how to keep my ears a bit more safe.