I remember the first time I hurt my baby by accident. We were walking down the hall; I was carrying her, of course, and she wasn’t quite to the point where she could hold herself upright in my arms at all times. We rounded the corner into her bedroom (I think we were going to change her diaper or something along those lines) and the centrifugal force pushed her backwards, away from me. Her undeveloped abdomen muscles couldn’t hold her, and her head made a dull thud against the corner of the door frame.
There were instant tears. And Little Miss started crying shortly after.
That was several months ago. I’ve gotten over the guilt of being the cause of my child’s tears in that instance…but today I did it again. Twice. Not on the door frame; one time it was the curve of an iron-backed barstool, the other I let her slide under the water in the kiddie pool in the backyard and she hit her head while underwater. Neither time drew blood and though there was a red mark on her forehead after the pool incident, it faded within 10 minutes and then there was no evidence that she had been hurt at all. She went about playing as though nothing had happened, and still crawled in my lap for a story this evening.
In spite of the fact that Little Miss is just fine and that each instance was complete accident, I still felt terrible after each one. After all, by beautiful little girl was sobbing and it wouldn’t be happening if that one instance had been different. All evening I’ve felt terrible about knocking her poor little head twice in one day…even just once would’ve made me feel bad enough.
The fact of the matter is that I’m not the first parent to accidentally bump my child’s head. In fact, worse things have happened when a child was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and parents frequently blame themselves even when
nothing could have prevented it. Granted, there are stupid parents who endanger their children needlessly, but more often than not, injuries are accidental. Every child gets scraped knees, bruised elbows and cut lips. It’s the nature of being a kid and learning balance, walking, climbing, jumping, reaching and eating. You did it, I did it, and our
children’s children will do it, too.
I remember being told countless times before becoming a parent that my child would someday get a black eye, a large goose-egg on his/her head, and/or a broken bone. I was also told that it happens to every child, and it’s part of life.
I mentioned to my mom today that kids very quickly get over being hurt; it’s the parents that have a hard time every time they see the bump, bruise or scratch their child forgot about two minutes after it happened. She agreed.
In spite of the fact that I still feel terrible every time my Little Miss gets hurt, she bounces back surprisingly fast. She knows it was an accident and learns the lesson that pain is a part of life and she can choose to wallow in it and spend her day crying, or she can shed a few tears when the pain is at its worst, then jump back up and get right back in the game. I try to encourage the latter. I’m sure times are coming when she will milk every injury for all it’s worth, but no matter what, I’ll continue to snuggle her close whenever she gets hurt (whether the accident was my fault or not), kiss her boo-boos, tell her everything will be okay…and distract her with her favourite toy, a sippy cup of milk or something fun to look at.
It helps me feel better quicker, too.
For more on this topic, read this short blog from a fellow mom who didn’t just get the typical bump-on-the-head-cry-for-30-seconds experience. (Don’t worry, everyone turns out fine in the end.)
- Calling 911 for the First Time (bettyconfidential.com)