Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm a Bad Mom -- Like Everyone Else

I can be a pretty judgmental person.

No, really, I can.

For instance, I never used to believe parents when they said they "just stepped away for a minute" when their kid got hurt. I figured it was just something they were saying to make themselves feel better, and not look like a horrible parents to other people. I not only thought they were horrible parents, but liars too.

I probably owe them all an apology now.

Friday night Meg fell out of the bathroom sink and onto the floor, giving her head a pretty good smack. At the time of her fall I was standing three feet away, and had turned my back on her for a total of six seconds. How do I know it was exactly six seconds? Because I walked it seven times after we were finally able to put her to sleep to see just how negligent a parent I was. The answer was six seconds worth.

I will never hear a worse sound in my life than the sound of Meg's head hitting that floor. Or at least I hope I never hear anything worse, because I don't think I could take it. That's how bad this sound was. The look on her face was also pretty bad. She didn't cry right away, and the look was just one of total shock and pain.

Ryan and I were both on her instantly like a rash, both trying to do the best we could to stay calm, and make sure she was okay. Ryan did a much better job of it than I did. He was holding her and rubbing her head, making her look back and forth to assess her pupils while I ran to the kitchen to get ice, frantically looked up the symptoms of a concussion on the Internet, and tried to call our friend Andrew to get medical advice (don't worry, he's a doctor). Oh, and the whole time I was crying.

Andrew finally (after like 45 seconds) called back and told us that if Meg hadn't lost consciousness, didn't seem to be nauseous, was acting normal, and had pupils of the same size, she was likely okay. He said to ice her head, keep her awake for an hour to make sure she wouldn't start throwing up or passing out, and let her sleep with us so we could monitor her breathing.

That's what we did. We watched two "Yo Gabba Gabba" episodes while holding frozen peas to Meg's head. Then she and Ryan fell asleep while I listened to her breathing and pictured all the horrible things that could have happened because of my bad parenting.

I finally started to forgive myself about 6 Saturday evening, after watching Meg eat three meals without throwing up, quizzing her relentlessly on everything she has ever learned to make sure there was no brain damage, and sitting next to her bed through two naps.

Well, at least most of me is forgiving myself. The judgmental part is still pretty pissed.

I really hate that part sometimes.


Mandy_Fish said...

I feel this way every time my one year old topples over and conks her head. I mean, she really gets it good sometimes. I'm never fast enough to catch her. I've considered getting her a helmet, yes.

Jill VT said...

Oh the head injuries are the best opportunities for self-flagellating. I think about three more of these type of incidents and you can call yourself a professional parent. ;) Those little noggins are tough - mama's heart not so much.

LL Cool Joe said...

Sadly shit happens, and as your child grows older and you are forced to give them more independence, even more shit happens. You can't protect your children every second of every day, as much as you'd love to.

I'm glad Meg is fine, and you'll be too ....until the next time.

Granny Annie said...

And sadly now we must all recall those first moments when our child suffered because we turned our heads. It is only the first of such moments in your lives as that opening in the protective bubble widens. At least you have all the makings of exceptional parents because you know to use frozen peas as an ice pack!

G said...

Having gone through this particular issue twice, I can readily agree that its not a good thing to go through.

At least yours did it from a sink. One time, mine almost did it from a garage roof (long story). Glad that she's okay though.

Kids are resiliant and they can often shock the living daylights out of us, no matter what the age.

Anonymous said...

It just breaks my heart to see a child in pain. I can only imagine how much harder it would be if it was my own child. I'm glad meg's ok, and please don't beat yourself up too much over it!

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Show me a single parent ever who says they have been able to keep their eyes on their child 24/7 every second and I'll show you a liar. Kids move around and try things and they fall and hurt themselves sometimes, we all did it. You can't stop it every time. You have nothing to feel bad about. You didn't go into another room to drink some gin and leave her there. It happens! I'm happy she's fine. Now you need to be fine. :)

Anonymous said...

Don't beat yourself up over it. I think this happens to every parent. Hell, I'm pretty sure my mom dropped me more than once when I was a kid. I turned out fine, and I still think my mom is one awesome lady. :)

Hope Meg's head is feeling better today!

BugginWord said...

Ugh. I know that sound. Usually its from me cracking my own head so it was probably slightly less loud than when I hear it. But still, ugh. Maybe I should add a crash helmet to my registry...

Nicole said...

I took the garbage out to the curb one day in an old house we used to live in. I did that nearly every morning, content with the fact that my 18-month-old couldn't reach the handle on the screen door. Until she could. And she stomped out on the porch and I turned back just in time to see her go head over foot down eight concrete steps.

She was fine.

I almost turned myself into Children's Services.

Glad Meg and her momma are okay.

Tracy Lynn said...

Every parent I know goes through this with their first kid. By the time they get to the second or third, they realize that kids are tricky and clumsy and seem to be made, on occasion, of disaster and rubber.
I used to refer to my youngest niece as my beautiful , wonderful jar of poison, because she got sick all the time and always gave it to me.
You are doing fine, pal. Don't listen to yourself. That voice is full of suck and lame.

Anonymous said...

:( You are a great mom! Luckily, we humans come with thick skulls because all kids take these falls no matter how we helicopter!

Anonymous said...

I was a single parent for a little while with my first born. He was about 1 year old. I had put him down for a nap and when he was asleep, I went for a bath. He woke up, came tearing into the bathroom, tripped, hit his chin on the bathtub, and firmly embedded his teeth into his tongue.

It happens so quickly.

I grabbed my skirt and my shirt, dripping wet, and my child and got into the car. My skirt was held together by buttons. The top one came off in the car. So into the clinic I fumble, trying to keep my skirt up (I had no time for underwear), hold my bleeding and screaming child, and get him registered. I had to quietly explain to the nurse that I needed a safety pin because my skirt was going to fall off and I was naked underneath.

I was covered in blood and I was horrified and thought I was the worst parent ever. This was not the end of mishaps like this. Parenthood is an adventure.

Amanda said...

Yeah, you suck as a parent. Nothing like that has ever happened to me, because I am Mother of the year (for 8 years running).

for a different kind of girl said...

Years ago, shortly after we'd brought our youngest son home, I was sitting in the living room, watching my husband carry the baby down the stairs to bring to me...and then I watched as my husband tripped and missed a stair and started to fall but not before he lost his grip on the baby and he went flying (oh, it seemed like he'd been launched from a rocket!) down the stairs, hitting the banister and the stairs. I couldn't move fast enough, and I move thought I was moving as fast as I could get get to our son. I cried more than the baby, and then did all the things you did in this experience. It rips your heart out. Our hearts should be as tough as their heads!

Erin said...

Luckily kids are made out of different stuff than we are. Now if YOU had fallen out of the sink, that might be a different story. :-)

Anonymous said...

Libby, this type of thing can happen to anyone. I still berate myself over an incident that happened when Nick was about two. We were walking down a flight of stairs in the shopping mall carpark. I was holding his hand. The stairs were made of concrete. We had about two steps to go and I got this terrible itch on the side of my nose. I let go his hand to scratch it and he fell flat on his face down the last two stairs. The screams were terrifying and immediately he had this big egg on his forehead that quickly turned black. He ended up being completely fine but I was in a state thinking he had a fractured skull or brain damage or both. It was horrible. I still shudder when I think how quickly it happened. Hugs to you and Ryan and Meg xx

Anonymous said...

Good thing most kids are pretty bouncy.

When they fall and get so startled like that the reaction is usually worse then the injury. At least there was no emergency room visit. :)

Elizabeth said...

The most heartstopping sound of my life was when I heard Hannah thud to the floor while Eric was changing out her diaper.

She was startled, but we were devastated, and so very, very lucky that all was well.

I'm so glad that Meg is okay.