“Now I’ll never be Father of the Year”
My wife’s family has a tradition – I believe Eastern European in origin – that prevents babies in the family from getting their first haircuts until they’ve turned at least a year old. Amy and I have carried on this practice with our first three children, but last night, I decided, “The heck with tradition,” and gave Chace, our three month old son, his first haircut.
With a moving ceiling fan.
Yes, this actually happened, and while I’m joking about the haircut, I’m not joking about the ceiling fan. It was fairly tragic and one of those parenting slip-ups I doubt I’ll ever forget. It sounds incredibly dumb (because, let’s face it, it is), but I wasn’t being careless or throwing him in the air or anything like that. I was removing him from the front carrier I was wearing and I lifted him, shall we say, a trifle too high.
My heart practically stopped when his screaming commenced and I had the full realization of what I’d done. I saw the horror spread across Amy’s face and I wondered briefly if she was going to call DCF on her dumb husband. I know mistakes can and do happen, but they rarely involve your infant son’s head. I felt guilty and stupid and I paced in small circles waiting for a phone call back from the on-call pediatrician. In the meantime, Amy fed the baby and calmed him down.
We inspected the damage: small cut above his left ear with a bit of swelling…superficial scrape across the top of his head. No blood, but now our worries turned to the threat of a concussion. As I stood there, apologizing repeatedly to my son who has no idea what the word “sorry” even means, I thought of other lapses in my generally awesome parenting that led to injuries – or at least phone calls to the doctor – with the other kids.
I remembered turning my back on Parker just after he learned to crawl and he went right off the edge of our bed. I remembered Cailin taking some of her first steps in a nearby playground and getting creamed by some kid on a bike because I was too far away. I remembered Kylie playing at the top of the stairs in our house, slipping, and tumbling all the way down because I was just beyond an arm’s length away. Boy, I am an awesome dad, I realized. Fortunately, my wife and I have forged four durable, bendy, hard-headed kids. Luck may have prevented serious injuries, too.
This morning, thankfully, Chace has been all smiles and seems all but completely healed following his trauma.
I’ve yet to meet perfect parents. We all do dumb things that will directly or indirectly lead to our children getting a little banged up. If you love them, you’ll feel awful about it and then move on. Terrible news, like the mother in southern California, helps to keep things in perspective, too. It seems that all too often we are hearing about parents intentionally harming or trying to harm their own children. These incidents must make national news at least weekly. I felt disgusting accidentally hurting my child and I cannot understand the dark place where a person must be to do it on purpose.
Just remember, your kids are going to get hurt one way or the other. Your job is to love them, patch them up, and keep going forward. And Chace, I’m sorry about your head, buddy.
I’ve shared mine – what were your most bone-headed parenting moves?
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There’s too many! With my oldest, just an infant, I had placed her on the couch and was sitting next to her when I realized she was slowly rolling off. I managed to catch her before her head hit the floor. I felt awful and she was blissfully unaware. This kid is also the one that fell off the bed a few months later.
Bless your heart… I hear ya though.. things happen, accidents happen … as long as in the end he is fine it’s a good thing, I know you will never ever forget and probably talk about that once his girlfriends are showing up.. BUT you are a great dad … Just think what will happen next 🙂
The very first time my kid rolled over, was right off the side of the bed. Ugh, I felt awful!
My husband sat our son down when he was little and he fell over hitting his head on the sidewalk. He felt awful, but it happens.
It happens!! Oh yeah! Last weekend my two year old Houdini learned out to get out of our security door. He was last downstairs with daddy, I was washing dishes, knew daddy had slipped outside to water our yard, but thought I heard the little guy playing in the playroom. Nope, Daddy had gone outback and my two year old was wandering outfront. Neither of us knew about it till I heard him crying outside. This weekend we changed our security doors so they lock with a key from the inside. Without that key Houdini can’t get out anymore. Pretty scary!! Oh and both my kids have have tumbles down stairs. Sometimes injury just can’t be prevented. I’m sure you are a stellar father!! 🙂
You are right you will mess up from time to time or your child will hurt themselves. It doesn’t make you a horrible parent. I remember trimming all of my kids nails way to short when they were babies. I would make them bleed. I always felt bad.
I love the movie Valentines Day’! Kirk Jones is an amazing dicotrer. I have yet to see What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, but im sure it will be great! Im going to have a movie night soon, forsure! I hope Kirk comes out with more movies with great actors in them, those are the best! Great article Maci!
It’s always a pleasure to hear from someone with expertise.
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