Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bless me, readers, for I have sinned

It's been 3.5 years since my last major screw up.

I'm beginning to think every child is destined to live through some moment of physical peril that will make a good "look how badly I was treated" story for him to tell through the years. At least each of MY children have one.

Owen's: We were at the beach house, where the ceilings are low, much lower than the ceilings at home. He was a wee babe, about 8 months old, and I had just changed him on the bed in the master bedroom. In a moment of playfulness, I swooped him up to tickle his tummy with the top of my head. As soon as I extended my arms, I heard a sickening, "Thunk, thunk, thunk," and with suddenly realized I'd placed his tiny baby head in the way of the ceiling fan, which was ON. I nearly swooned. I pulled him back down, praying I wouldn't find a headless child, and was relieved to find him intact, but wailing. Luckily the fan was on the lowest setting, so it hadn't done much damage. Ultimately I was wounded far more deeply than he was.

Mitch's: If you've known me long, you've heard this story. I tell it again and again in an attempt to purge myself of the horrible memory. (It never works.) When Mitch was a newborn, he loved the sling. Anytime I went shopping, I'd put him in the sling because it kept him happy and kept my hands free to hold on to Owen, who was 2. As Mitch's neck got a bit sturdier, I started facing him forward in the sling with his feet curled up under him, certainly not a "recommended position," but I always kept one arm crossed in front of him to keep him from toppling out.

Except once.

We were getting out of the car at Target, and as Owen stepped out, he tripped and fell forward, heading face first for the pavement. Out of pure instinct, I lunged forward to grab him, and when I did, little Mitch (only 3 months old) toppled out of the sling and flipped onto the pavement himself. The moment I realized what had happened and looked down to see him lying there, howling, is forever imprinted in my brain. I feel almost nauseous when I relive it.

I took him straight to the pediatrician's office, and he fell asleep on the way, causing me to nearly hyperventilate with fear that he had a concussion. He was fine, of course. Me? Not so much.

And today. Today Paige received her story.

As I may have mentioned, Paige hates strollers, shopping carts and highchairs. Lately, despite the warnings imprinted on all grocery carts, I've been letting her sit in the basket instead of the seat, which she tolerates much more readily. Otherwise, I face sobbing and fit throwing and general misery for the entirety of the errand. So I succumb to her demands. Mistake #1. Mistake #2 was, of course, ignoring the warning on the cart. You see where this is going...

Today, again at Target (shut up, Anna), Paige kept standing up in the basket. I must've told her 103 times to SIT DOWN, but alas, 19 month olds have not yet been issued their listening ears, so it was an ongoing and mostly futile battle. My mom was with us today, and as I stopped to look at something, turning my back to the cart, Paige decided she'd rather be with Grandmommy. So she stood up and dove headfirst out of the basket. She didn't fall. She actually dove. On purpose.

Luckily one of us was paying attention (Grandmommy) and leapt forward to catch her. Sadly, the catching didn't exactly work out, and Paige hit the floor face first, but my mom's nearly catching her broke her fall and slowed her down enough that the result of her cart diving wasn't tragic.

Paige was hurt, of course, but not badly, and was probably more frightened than she was wounded. I, on the other hand, am considering leaping from the roof and landing on my face in an act of self-flagellation. I know better than to allow kids in the cart basket. I know better than to turn my back on Paige when she's riding in the basket. I know better... but I did it anyway. I gambled her safety to win a more peaceful outing.

Despite these horrible mistakes for which I am due some major penance, my children live on, relatively unharmed but equipped with darn fine childhood stories. And excuses for being a bit on the slow side. You're welcome, kids. Once again, you couldn't have done it without me.

*Tomorrow's the drawing for the blogiversary giveaway!*

17 comments:

Rene said...

I've definitely been there! I think the worst one was when DS (who just graduated from HS this last weekend) was starting 7th grade. The night before school started I gave him a haircut. The cut was all done and I had just taken the guard off the clippers to clean up his neckline. I saw a few stray hairs at the top of his head and thought I'd give it one more swipe to clean them up too -- without the guard on mind you! Yep...I shaved my kids head the day before 7th grade. I was physically sick about it and even now almost 6 years later my stomach is churning. Poor kid!

Pearl said...

I amputated my 2 month old baby's fingertip trying to clip her nails. She is 10 months old now, and I can still remember the scream and the blood and the look of "why, mommy, why??" on her little face the split second before she turned beet red and wailed. Her finger healed just fine but I still die a little bit every time I think about it.

Jaci said...

Your stories had me gasping out loud. My greatest fears are injuries, and I'm that sick mom who thinks out every morbid ending to every new experience we have. Elizabeth's bad day happened in Feb. when she slipped on icy steps and I pulled her up by her arm to keep her from biffing it--only to have her scream and refuse to move her arm! I swore I pulled her elbow out of place and rushed to the Dr., only to find out she's a DRAMA QUEEN and her arm was perfectly fine.

Lori said...

Ugh. The baby falling onto the pavement gets me the most.

When DS was 9 months old, my girls had a couple friends over and someone left the basement door open. He went right down. I was mortified. Thankfully, he escaped with only a scratch (the basement is finished so padded carpet), but you can imagine my reaction when that door was left open again. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? We're raising some tough kids, that's for sure! :)

lattemommy said...

Brutal!! You poor thing - you've paid your penance reliving those moments over and over again!

LitTeacher said...

Maybe you just need to stay away from Target?

womaninawindow said...

AH - we all do these things but it doesn't make the burden of hurting these babies any lighter...eek to the baby out of sling incident. eek every time i think of this.

AshleyN said...

I can relate. My now 2 yr. old daughter fell out of a shopping cart when she was about the same age. I was just like you...let her ride in the basket to avoid the endless fighting during the trip. She was standing up facing me in the basket and decided to try to "sit" on the back edge of the buggy, and fell out backwards. She landed flat on her back and hit her head awfully bad. Almost worse than her pain was the embarassment I felt and all the judging eyes. On a better note, I can remind her of that incident anytime we go to the store now, and it coaxes her into riding correctly in the buggy. Or at least staying seated in the basket. You have that to look forward to : )

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Ouch, ouch, ouch. I've never done anything like that.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha - oh, I kill me. I've slam-dunked a baby headfirst onto the pavement because I tripped getting out of the car. I've belted my 2-year-old to the side of the shopping cart (so she could ride standing up) and watched said cart topple over, pinning her beneath it. I mistakenly left my 3-year-old asleep in a very hot car (I was distracted by the baby, and I thought the 3-year-old had come in with the older ones). If the older ones hadn't left the car doors open (as is their wont), he would have died.

It's a wonder any of them live to grow up.

Lisa said...

When my oldest (now 14) was about 4 months old, I used to strap him in his carseat and let him sit on the kitchen counter to watch me do dishes. Well I didn't realise he was scooting out to the edge of the carseat, and as his bum got to the front side it made his carseat tip forward, sending him crashing face first onto the tile floor. Still strapped in mind you...so I had to pick the whole carseat up. His face was bloody. I was starting to freak out when my hubbby walked through the door.
He ended up fine, but just retelling the story makes me sick to my stomach.

hokgardner said...

Each of my children has one of these stories - the third, unfortunately, has more than one.

I found you through MadMad, and now I'm adding you to my favorites list!

Tina said...

Oh, my. My youngest (of three) is nearly 20 and reading your post brought back my kids' such moments. Even all of these years later, I can still feel the gut wrenching horror that accompanied these moments.

My nearly-20-year-old likes to get his hair buzzed short to make the dent in his head obvious and to ensure that I'll say yes to anything he asks of me because he knows I'm still more traumatized by his "moment" than he ever was.

Being a parent can be downright harrowing.

Feener said...

i once left my second in the bouncy seat unbuckled, i figure where is a newborn going. well i came downstairs and she slide out and was stuck on her head under the bouncy seat. i felt horrible. she was fine, but really i should have known better. second child syndrome. the third might just get left to fend for him/her self.

Miranda said...

Hi -- I found my way here following blogroll links...

Those are pretty impressive...here are mine and my brother's...

Me: My dad was tossing me up in the air at some point when I was 9 months - 1 year old and accidentally threw me up into one of those spiky ceiling sprinklers (the small round ones), which cut into my scalp (and then bled a /lot/) but otherwise inflicted no serious damage. That I can tell.

My brother: My family was at a roller rink when I was 6-7, my brother was an infant. I was sitting up on the wall of the rink, with my roller-skate-clad feet over the rink floor with my back to my dad, who was holding my baby brother on his lap (bro was on his back with his head on dad's knees).

I started tipping backwards from my perch on the wall, my dad leaned forward to catch me, and realized the baby was slipping forward. He had to choose between the two of us falling onto the tile floor and cracking our skulls. He claims to have based his choice on the fact that bro was closer to the floor and had less far to fall. But I've always taken it as assurance that I'm the favorite.

Weird stuff always happened to my brother though; for the first 5 years of his life he had a permanent goose egg on the left side of his forehead because he was a farsighted toddler and would thwack into glass things since he could see through them.

Alison Wonderland said...

I scalded a baby draining pasta once. I have the obligatory burning with a curling iron. and once with the lid to the grill. Many many falls on heads. You name it. it's a good thing they're made of rubber.

momma's heart said...

I am pregnant with my fourth, and use slings a lot. Thanks so much for the heads up. I am due within days of my youngest turning two (others are four and six). I can totally see a sling accident happening. Makes me want to save all errands until my husband is home. Super Walmart is open all night. LOL

Ryan Elizabeth said...

As I scroll down all the comments, you can see ALL mothers have these stories. It's a fact of life, we aren't perfect!

Mine was witnessed by my husband almost 8 years ago, and I still hear about it. I dropped the baby when I missed a step on the last two steps of our stairs. I let him go....I'm a horrible mother! But if I didn't try to brace my fall I would have landed right on top of him, all 180lbs of me to his 20.