'Cat’s Cradle' by Georgene Smith Goodin


    The coroner ruled it an accident.
    At the inquest, my post-partum depression was thoroughly analyzed. The psychiatrist who signed my 72 hour hold testified, and I cried when I said I had no idea how the Winnie the Pooh blanket got into Julia’s crib.
    The day of the funeral, snow swirled like cotton candy spinning off the machine and strangling the paper stick. In the church vestibule, I greeted those who braved the weather to gawk at my grief.
    Catherine looked charming in the dress I made because off-the-wrack mourning clothes didn’t come in toddler sizes. She enjoyed the attention when the dress was fitted.
    She always wanted attention.
    People lay their hands on Catherine’s dimpled cheek. “Do you think she understands?” they asked, puzzled by her smile.
“Kids understand more than you think,” I said.
    They understand when you explain babies aren’t like dolls, and that they can’t be tucked in with a Winnie the Pooh blanket. They understand a blanket could hurt a baby, and if they’re lucky, maybe even kill it.

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