Posted by: Kate | June 8, 2010


Isaac made it just over three months before he needed his first emergency doctor’s appointment. I don’t remember how old the other kids were for theirs, but I have to admit there’s a tiny sliver of relief: there. The first one is done, we can stop wondering when it will happen. And maybe not we can just avoid future mishaps, thankyouverymuch.

Because this one was horrid, both in its results and in its sheer avoidability.

The short version: he rolled off the couch and landed face-first on the floor. Ugh. His nose is all bruised and swollen now, poor little bug.

The longer version is that Willem laid him down for a nap, because Isaac fell asleep mid-bottle. Willem decided a nap seemed like a good idea, so he handed the reigns over to me; I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing my lunch. I assumed Willem had lined the edge of the couch and the floor in case Isaac decided to make his first rollover attempt then, and he assumed I would be moving to the couch shortly… we both assumed wrong. When Isaac started to fuss a little, I asked Jacob to go chat with him while I cleared my dishes, and apparently Jacob decided (for the first time) to roll Isaac onto his back, and then come tell me about it. And it turns out that Jacob didn’t need to tell me, because the whole house, the whole neighborhood, perhaps the whole state, vibrated with the awful thud of a small body hitting the floor.

A group effort, then, of small and avoidable moments, that resulted in the baby landing effectively face-first on the hardwood floor. Oh, my heart hurts. That thud, and the immediate outraged and hurt baby cries, have just been echoing in my head since then.

The good news is, he did cry right away, which means he never lost consciousness. He didn’t truly land face-first; he slid down the edge of the couch, which slowed and cushioned his fall a little bit. So his nose is swollen and bruised, but not as badly as it might otherwise have been. And no other body parts were harmed in the making of this guilt-infested misery.

It was early afternoon, so I was able to take him to the pediatrician instead of the emergency room, and he reassured me that Isaac is fine, told me what to watch for, patted me on the head and sent me on my way.

Isaac stopped crying within five minutes, and has been his normal happy, smiley, Zen little self ever since. Me, well… I’m reminding myself that accidents happen and that guilt helps nothing. And am enjoying his grins without focusing on the poor little nose every time.

His is the youngest baby-incident… I know that Jacob fell off his changing table, onto a pillow, when he was seven or eight months old, and that Emily pinched her hand in the hinge-side of the front door hard enough to lose her thumbnail when she was about 17 months old. And I’ve recovered from those sickening-guilt feelings, so chances are I’ll forgive myself for this one, too.

But still. Thud.

Help me out here, people. Tell me your own horror stories… as long as they have a happily-ever-after at the end. Remind me that kids survive stuff, and that accidents such as this do not a horrible mother make.



  1. Mark put David on a ROCKING OTTOMAN when he was three months old, reasoning that since David had not yet rolled over he would be safe. Guess when David first rolled over? Right onto his back on a hardwood floor. And I don’t even remember the aftermath, maybe because it was umpteen years ago and has been superceded by other traumas and miseries. But David is still alive and well so it must have not been that bad. I think its always the worst for the parents anyway.

  2. Max leaned off a kitchen counter and did a header onto the floor when he was around 6 months. THUMP. Seemed to happen in slow motion.

    Took him to the hospital, had him examined, all was good. One of our friends at the time said, “Kids bounce, and God gives you a free one.”

    It was right after that hubby started believing me about how exhausted I was and how bad my post partum was too.

  3. Oh kate how very scary! But we’ve all done it or some of us have let the wiggles infant silde out of our arms……when K was 13 months spouse dropped him on his head from his shoulders!!! That could explain K’s behavior today.

    Hugs gentle hugs!!!!

  4. Well, so far all three have rolled off the changing table onto the bathroom floor. Not just one…three. You think we’d have learned after the first one, but NO. We’ve also all (myself and DH included) fallen down most, if not all, of our stairs (I did it once pregnant and once carrying a baby), and I can’t count the times the kids have fallen off the couch. But Emma takes the cake for slipping under the railing and falling from the second floor of the barn down to the first floor, but not before slowing her descent by nailing the banister with her face. A run to the ER and a CAT scan showed her to be nothing but bruised and in a week or two you couldn’t tell anything had happened. Took ten years off my life, though.

  5. Eldest was 5 months in bouncy seat ON FLOOR when cat scratched her across the face for no reason at all. Lucky the pediatrician is across the road, said it was not a bad scratch. However at age 13, she still tells me she can see some of it on her nose. So, it never ends…

  6. Zac dropped out of a shopping cart at Walmart straight onto his head at the checkout line….no one there made any attempt to help me out with my cart of stuff and a screaming baby – can’t remember how old he was – under two – he bit his lip so was bleeding….it was awful. I called Chris, drove home….never even THOUGHT about taking him to the doctor. Good grief.

    Then there was the time he fell off a bench onto the concrete – banged up his face pretty good….

    Oh, and the roll off the changing table….

    And the hammock whacking him in the head at Fred Meyer….

    Good grief. Why do I still have my children?????

  7. I haven’t got kids of a my own, and thus no horror stories of that sort to tell. But the first thing my maternal grandmother did when she got a day alone with me when I was 2, was take me to an ice rink to teach me how to skate. A visit to the ER and 4 stitches in my head later, I’m a hockey player today. I personally consider it a happily ever after, but your mileage may vary 😉

  8. I’m not a parent, but I do have a scar from toddlerhood when my aunt got me in the corner of my eyelid (nearest my nose) with a lit cigarette as I toddled between couch and coffee table. I have no memory, just a darkish spot there.

    And you’re right – guilt will get you nowhere – accidents happen, and we all learn and go on!

  9. I think Nate was only about a month old when I stepped on a toy truck coming down the wood stairs and dropped him on his head. On the wood stairs. Not just dropped, more like threw. Sort of ejected. Up and then down, hard, and then he rolled a bit. He screamed for ages and had a big bruise on his cheek. I took him to the doc and he fell asleep in the car. Doc gave me the reassurances, what to look for in case of a cracked sinus, said he’ll be fine. And he is.

    Right now, at 9.5 months, he has a quarter-sized scab on his forehead. Because daddy thought it would be cool to put him on a big boy tricycle on the patio. And it *was* cool, and he was having a great time, until Timothy grabbed our attention by doing something dangerous in the kitchen and we both looked away and Nate chose that moment to tip over onto his head on the concrete. Bit his tongue and made it bleed as well as banging up his forehead.

    Doesn’t make it any easier to deal with your own guilt, or make you worry any less that *this* time, with *this* kid, what if it’s not so simple? But hopefully it helps somewhat to know that all moms know exactly how you’re feeling right now…. and we’re sending virtual hugs.

  10. 2 weeks old .
    Yep. They don’t even need to be able to roll over, they just shift their weight. #1 did it right off the pillow he was on that was on the bed. Thud to the floor and first I thought to myself “that was a …cat…?” until he started crying.

  11. When I was 8 mos old my aunt (14 yrs old at the time) was holding me when I squirmed out of her arms and broke my nose on the bathroom sink. No lasting damage, and she’s still my favourite auntie 🙂

    Thank goodness neither of my own have required any emergency trips yet-knock on wood! Although we’ve had our fair share of finger/door incidents, and discovered this weekend that the eldest isn’t allergic to bee stings…

  12. Kate, I’m afraid this will be the first of many boo boo’s (having had three boys and a tomboy of my own)! When Tyler was about 6 months old I was changing his diaper on the changing table. I turned to grab a pack of baby wipes off the bureau RIGHT next to me and he decided to flop himself onto the floor. I heard the same horrible thud and felt the same horrible guilt. It resonates now, but it will fade. As you know, Tyler has survived to the ripe old age of 24 despite his header onto the floor and the MULTITUDE of other bumps, bruises, cuts and mishaps he’s had along the way.

    Cut yourself some slack and enjoy those happy grins!

  13. I put my daughter up on the middle of our queen size bed in her bouncy seat while I dried my hair and got my make up on. I liked her up where I could see her. Well, she had conked out, so I walked down the hall to get a glass of water – then I heard her screaming. She had flipped herself over and rolled off the bed (scarily close to a sharp cornered night stand) and rolled right off the bed. We found her face down, bouncy seat still attached, but she was fine. I still can’t figure out how she wiggled, squiggled and moved from the middle to the edge like that.

  14. Harrison had been home from Korea for all of 30 hours or so when I was playing peek-a-boo with him in the bathroom mirror. I swung back quickly to take our faces out of the mirror’s reflection and BANG! Baby’s head into the door frame, egg-sized welt that took more than a day to go down, and all of our “first moments as a family of three” pictures have the proof of my error. He’s fine, but I cringe whenever I think back to that smack his head made against the wood.

  15. Oh hun… hugs. And I lay the blame squarely at Willem’s feet on this one. 😉

    Lane’s had a couple doozies, both avoidable and stupid on my part.

    I can’t remember how old she was, very late infant or very early toddler, she was fussing over a tooth that was trying to break through, so I decided to break out the Baby Anbesol. The little tip needed to be cut off, so I grabbed a pair of manicure scissors, while I was holding Lane, and snipped… and she moved her little finger right in the way of the scissors, and her finger started gushing blood. It wasn’t an awful cut, but because it was so clean… ugh. I gauzed the hell out of it, called the pediatrician (because I knew they were there) and told them (not asked, told) that I was on my way. It had mostly stopped by the time I got there, but they threw a little dermabond on it for good measure.

    When she was about 11 months old, she took a header off the guest bed at my dad’s house, mere minutes before we left for a wedding in which I was a bridesmaid. Little girl was damn cute, even with a giant goose-egg on her forehead.

    Plus there was when she was three DAYS old and I fell asleep nursing her in the middle of the night, only to wake up and find she’d rolled all the way down my lap and was being cradled by my feet. Yet somehow she was still sleeping. No boo-boos there, but oh what could have been…

    Jake has thus far remained largely unscathed by me, but did lose a pinky fingernail to his sister slamming a door when he was about 18 months old.

  16. Oh and Sara reminded me, when Lane was about a year old I was wearing her on my back in the Ergo and slammed her head into a door frame.

    Gosh, it’s a wonder I didn’t brain damage that poor child.

  17. Finni rolled/crawled off the bed for the first time ages 4 months, managed to avoid every pillow I had piled around him and on the floor. He succeed in rolling off two more times before I had a major tantrum at DH about how unsafe we were being, and we dismantled the bed. After that he didn’t chose to roll off the bed again. Funny….

    Oh and with all three babies many years apart I was happily doing the ‘one two three fly in the air’ trick and whacked their heads on the same sharp piece of cornice in the kitchen entry.

  18. There are too many to list – like Elizabeth pulling open the broiler door while the oven was on and blistering 8 of her fingers. Or Campbell’s famous “penis incident,” which still induces cringes from men when they hear the story. Or the time Campbell got a pill bottle open, or the time he cracked his head against our dresser and split his forehead open. All of those required ER visits.

    You aren’t alone.

  19. Emma has rolled out of the big bed several times following a middle of the night nursing. She’s never been particularly crabby about it – two squawks and she’s done kind of kid. Mustn’t have hurt her too badly, as she talks up a storm at 16 months.

    Also, she has a half dollar sized scar on her forehead right at the hairline from where she slipped off the front porch and onto the concrete driveway. Her grandma was even holding her hand, so we’re still not sure how that one happened!

  20. Ohhhhh, Miss Autumn had all manner of maladies from a spiral fracture of her humerus (not very funny actually) from falling off a hammock when she was in first grade, being tossed from a horse not long after, et cetera. Childhood happens. She graduated from high school last week and the happy ending is 3 consecutive first division awards at the Texas all-state solo competition and a big ol’ fat scholarship to study music ed. How any of us survive babyhood, much less full-on childhood is anyone’s guess.

  21. Ooh that reminds me of the time I zipped Cal penis into his jammies when he was three……

    I had blocked that memory out.

  22. Oh, Lord. The almost exact thing happened to Leah, with Ryan (my almost five-year old) on guard for a minute. Not Ry’s fault, it’s more that I just thought she’d be ok for 30 seconds. Luckily she fell on a carpet. Poor Isaac! Poor mommy!

  23. Just tonight….

    L was eating a sucker that came off the stick and sucked it right down her throat. I whapped her in the stomache she started crying. She couldn’t understand why I still hit her after she spit the candy out… I just panic. then she proceed to slide down the back of a chair and hit her tailbone. came over to me picked up a glass bead tried to eat it and said “that isn’t a smartie” just before bed she thought is was great to walk around with a ballon in her mouth. I am glad she is now safe asleep…. Whew made it through another day.

  24. Thud indeed. I can still, two years later, hear the sickening crunch of M’s forehead hitting concrete when she fell off a park picnic table. That was my first (and only, so far) call to the ped. that went something like this: “I want her to be seen NOW. Should I come there or go straight to the ER?” The ped. checked her out & she was fine … in fact she was singing and skipping by the time we got there. But I will never forget that sound. Never.

  25. I have had two kids, about no more then 4 moths old roll off the couch. I cried the first time thinking I had killed my baby and the second time I was like WTH. Both kids are fine. Both have accidentally rolled off the bed. I believe there is a saying, “S*@t happens.” So true, especially with kids.

  26. okay, picked up my 4 month old underneath her arms and lifted her straight up above my head (to fly her like an airplane)… straight into the ceiling fan… that was turned on… thud. thud. thud. *ahem* top that.

    Not sure who cried louder or longer but a trip to the ER and several large lumps on her head later we were discharged with a clean, albeit bumpy bill of health.

    I have never looked at ceiling fan again without wincing and that was 12 years ago. She lived and is a straight A student to boot… we all survive somehow!

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