I was just walking in from the backyard when I heard JB saying “Oh no, oh god, oh shit” and I saw him running out the open front door and just beyond him I could see the stroller lying on its side and Dylan was screaming, screaming, screaming. I ran and I may have been screaming something myself and Dylan’s legs were kicking from where he was strapped in the stroller’s seat and one wheel was still turning but instead of being on the ground it was turning in the air and JB was pulling the stroller up and getting Dylan out and his little face was bleeding and Riley was still bent over the stroller trying to help and Riley was scared and I was sobbing and I knew for certain our baby had a shattered arm or worse.

I hugged him against my body and I stood inside the house crying all over his soft hair while he buried his face in my chest and I held him out for a second and his eyes were frightened and hurt and his cheek had a bright red droplet of blood and the right side of his face was scraped and turning red and a dark shadow of a bruise was already starting to appear.

We checked him over and he wound down to a sorrowful snuffle and nothing appeared to be broken. JB put some Neosporin on him and we fed him bananas and yogurt with a little blackberry jam and oatmeal and he devoured it all and grinned at us. I put him on the floor to play for a while then I rocked him and gave him a bottle and kissed him a lot and put him to bed as usual and his sleepy little banged-up face tore a hole in my heart.

It was my fault. We were getting ready to go for a walk and I left the stroller on the top step of our front porch, unlocked, while I went back in to feed the dog. Riley walked out the front and went to innocently (and probably clumsily) push the stroller towards the driveway and it toppled off the step and fell over and Dylan’s face connected directly with our exposed aggregate walkway.

I don’t know how he didn’t get hurt more than he did.

There is a word for how I feel about the whole accident, but I’m not sure what it is. Terrible doesn’t quite cover it. Guilty seems too mild. I suppose I learned a valuable lesson — always, always lock the fucking stroller — but oh, god. Who actually fails the “keep baby from falling headfirst onto hard surfaces” parenting directive? It’s right up there in the top no-shitter, easy-do responsibilities: FEED BABY, OCCASIONALLY REMOVE FILTH FROM BABY, DO NOT ALLOW BABY TO SMASH INTO CONCRETE.

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Wendy
Wendy
13 years ago

Oh no! I’m glad he’s okay. And whether we want to admit it or not, I think we all probably have a similar story.

Connie
Connie
13 years ago

Oh honey– it is okay. You do know with 2 active boys they are going to break something one day, right? It doesn’t make you a bad parent. Heavens, my 4 cousins made more trips to the ER than someone with a bad heart by they time each of them was 6 that it was scary. They all lived. (Probably not helping here, am I?)

sooboo
13 years ago

Awww, poor sweetie. I meant you. My sis had a similar moment when her kids were about the same ages. She left them alone in their bedroom and the older one piled all of their clothes on top of the face of the younger, sleeping child. She had a heart attack when she thought he’s been smothered, but he was fine. I mean what would you tell the older one? You used to have a brother, but you killed him!

clarabella
clarabella
13 years ago

Oh, poor Sundry! Poor Dylan.
I saw your twitter and have been anxiously hoping all was well. I can imagine how scary that was, having done some equally stupid things myself which resulted in close calls with my son’s well-being. I’m newer to this motherhood thing than you are, but I guess we all realize at some point that many lessons we learn are hard-learned. I’m glad Dylan is ok, and don’t beat yourself up over not locking the brake. We’ve all been there. At least, if it’s consoling in any way, even as it bothers you to look at Dylan’s scraped up face, you can know that he won’t remember it.

Kirsten
13 years ago

oh man, I can just imagine how you must feel…but please, PLEASE don’t beat yourself up too much – it was an accident, and thank God he’s just fine and dandy. My mom slammed my hand in the kitchen door TWICE (she was mad at my brother and I snuck up behind her and put my hand by the hinges…it bounced the first time, so she tried to slam it again and then saw me standing there whimpering) and had to take me to the ER…she STILL cries about it to this day even though I was totally fine.
Man, the mother’s guilt is something else isn’t it? I’m so sorry that happened to you – I’m sure every mom totally gets how you feel.

Pete
Pete
13 years ago

Don’t know what to say other than ‘It Happens’.
My mom always said ‘No broken bones? No massive contusion? No problem’.
Then again she also said ‘So go kill yourself, I’ve got six more like you and I know how to make more.’
We were a close family. ;-)

Trina
Trina
13 years ago

Oh no! Oh no! I know there are no words to make you feel better. Just know that everyone who has a child has done something similar. Everyone who has a kid has gone through the same heart ache at some point. You are not alone. We still love you.

Mary O
Mary O
13 years ago

Oh no. Don’t blame yourself too much (although I know it’s hard not to). But of course these things happen… they just HAPPEN. And we learn from them and move on to the next thing.

sheilajane
sheilajane
13 years ago

I feel your horror. I felt like crying reading about what happened. I’m so sorry this happened to all of you but am so glad he’s allright. I don’t have children but remember accidents when I was caring for my younger siblings and those memories still bother me. I hope you give yourself a break and don’t be hard on yourself. Accidents happen to everyone and kids inevitably get bumps and bruises. Give Dylan a hug from me.

Anne-Marie
Anne-Marie
13 years ago

Oh, thank you for this! THANK YOU! I felt horrible and guilty because something similar happened to me: My 2-month old was in his stroller. When I went to go lift the car seat out of the stroller, he somehow, flipped out, and landed on the asphalt….It was horrible. I know that feeling. You feel like the worst, most incompetent mother…EVER. And like noone else is as stupid and careless as you. But it’s not true! We all make mistakes. Really. I’ve had so many people tell me there own mistakes and blunders, that now I don’t feel as….guilty (you’re right; that word doesn’t cover it). But, really, it was a MISTAKE. An accident. Really. I promise you.

Elissa
Elissa
13 years ago

Poor family!!!!! Sounds like you guys had a hard evening!!! I’m glad everything is okay! I left the side of a crib down one time as I ran to fetch a toy and the baby, who had never even tried to get out before, fell out. I sobbed all night. The baby was totally fine.

Brooke
13 years ago

You know what I did? I left the unlocked stroller with my weeks-old son in it on the grass while I unlocked the car. I turn around and the stroller is merrily rolling down our slanty driveway and into the street, blissfully unaware baby strapped inside. Fortunately, it was summer and no one drove down our street at that moment. if school had been in session, I’m sure my boy would have been hit. I picked him up and cried and cried and cried, and now I always lock the stroller.

I totally feel you. I’m sorry. It sucked when it happened to me.

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

I am sitting here crying like it was me…I know it doesn’t help, but I’ve been there. I have two boys, 2 1/2 yrs apart and I’ve had similar situations. The guilt is unbelievable……..but they don’t seem to remember or hold it against you. Just love him and take pictures…it will make a great story when he’s older! Hugs coming your way.

Deb
Deb
13 years ago

Brings back memories of the time I strapped my 4 week old baby and my 23 month old baby into our shiny new twin jogging stroller right inside my (open, gulp…) front door.

While I was turned around to get something to take with us on our very first walk in the new stroller, it somehow skipped over the threshold, went out onto the front porch and bounced down the three brick steps. To this day I have no idea how it happened. All I know is that I turned around and my babies were gone.

I ran out the front door and there they were on their backs in the tipped-over stroller, legs kicking in the air, just starting that awful silent wind-up before the big cry. The stroller had flipped backward instead of forward and I had no idea if either of their little heads hit the brick walkway through the thin fabric of the jogging stroller.

It was all fixed with much cuddling, and a cookie for the older one, and we actually carried on with our walk, me shaking and teary. They were fine.

It’s been 15 years and it’s like it happened yesterday. Some things you just never forget.

Glad to hear little Dylan is fine and so sorry you had to go through it.

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

Oh, I’m so sorry. We’ve all done something like that. Please don’t beat yourself up over it.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Kids are tough. And hell – we are not perfect parents – any of us. I know how you feel…I do. I think all of us that are parents do. Stuff like this happens and wow…hindsight is a pure bitch. This stuff – happens to all of us. Every single one of us. Even the people who don’t admit it are victim to this same stuff.

When my daughter was really little (am bad parent – cannot remember how old she was) she was laying all cute on the changing table – so I turned to grab the camera (OK – I went to the other room, right outside her room) and when I turned around (OK – when I came right back in the room) she had fallen off of the changing table…her first time rolling over ever. I could not have felt worse. It was totally my fault and I couldn’t understand how I could have done such an irresponsible thing. But it had not been a risk prior to that moment, and I had not even considered it happening. And…well, I really wanted a way back machine so that I could have a do-over.

Anyway – point is…you are not alone. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We don’t get trained to be parents. We make this shit up as we go.

Dianna
13 years ago

But, in all he is fine. Don’t beat yourself up over a mistake.

Bel
Bel
13 years ago

About 2 or 3 years ago in Australia, there is a B-level celebrity – a former model, I forgot what her name is. Anyway she was walking her baby in a pram. Leo was the babies name, and it was in a reserve in Melbourne. Her phone rang, she stopped and answered it. The phone call required her to write down a number, so she pulled a notepad and pen out of her bag, and started scribbling down the number. She finished writing, and looked up and the pram was gone.

She actually thought the baby had been kidnapped. Within minutes, police, news, swarms of people were on the scene. About 200 metres from where she was standing, there was a pond, with a small incline leading to it. The police searched it, and poor dead baby Leo, still strapped in his pram, were pulled out of the pond.

See, when she had her back turned, the pram, which didn’t have the brakes on, had rolled down the incline and into the pond. Soundlessly.

It was a horrible accident, and touched the hearts of many Australians. The news reports shows the mother, devastated, screaming and crying for her baby. Plenty of tabloids picked up her story and she repeats that she can’t believe it happened as she only had her back turned for a second. I believe she has recently had another child.

So Linda, please don’t feel bad. Accidents happen that are far worse than yours, just cherish your family and be glad that was all it was. We’re all human, and accidents do happen.

Sundry
Sundry
13 years ago

Can’t tell you guys how much these stories are helping me. Well, maybe not the one about the pond (OHMYGOD), but seriously, it’s good to know I’m not the only one who’s had something crappy happen on my watch.

All Adither
13 years ago

So glad he’s okay. We all do stupid shit. I certainly have.

Rachel
13 years ago

Answer to the question in your last paragraph: Pretty much everybody. My moment in the mothering sun came when my son was maybe two months old — certainly not beginning to think about rolling, anyway — and I was walking into my bedroom when the washing machine in the next room started to go all crazylike because there was something off-balance in the spin cycle. So, because this was, you know, a total and absolute disaster, I set the baby down on the bed and dashed into the laundry room. EXcept that I set him on a slight slope because there was laundry on the bed, and he rolled off and hit the hardwood floor with his skull. He cried a lot but he was fine. He just started algebra today and he seems to be getting it OK, so apparently no real lasting damage was done.

Seriously, if stuff like this damaged babies as much as we would think it would none of us would have lived to reproduce. Not that tragic and horrible stuff doesn’t sometimes happen, but that’s the exception. The rule, as I’ve found, is that we look at their just-bruised sleeping little selves and thank — whoever or whatever we thank — that it wasn’t worse.

Angharad
Angharad
13 years ago

So glad Dylan seems to have shrugged it off – how’s Riley? Sounds like he got quite a scare too the poor guy.

Kristi
13 years ago

Oh Linda, we have all had similar moments as parents where we just feel crushed that we caused pain when we spend our every waking moments trying to beat pain back from the door of their lives. You are human. Shit happens. And it will happen again and you’ll feel this way all over again.

Give him lots of love for a couple of days, till you get over it. Part of the amazing wonderfulness of children is their ability to forgive and forget. You are an awesome mom!

Meg
Meg
13 years ago

Oh, sweetheart, how goddamn awful. Fwiw I’ve been there done that — not that exact injury, but still something that happened when I wasn’t paying QUITE enough attention. And more than once, too.

Completely understand that you’re feeling like crap, but don’t feel *alone*, OK?

Nonacita
13 years ago

The important thing is that he’s going to be OK, is OK, and that you are going to survive, too. How many of our parents went down the stairs in those wheeled bouncy chair things? I don’t comment much because you seem to have enough people doing that, but you needed to hear this: you are a wonderful and awesome Mom. We all fuck up from time to time-these stories prove that. I know the fear and pain and guilt! I wish I could take it all back for you, so that you’d never have to feel like an asshole. But I think underneath it all, that’s what mommies are all about- feeling like assholes and knowing we are not the perfect people we thought our parents were. Your boys will grow up loved and laughed with. They are lucky to have you and JB. It’s OK. And I cried with you, knowing how hard it is to know you could have known better; to have prevented this. We all have those potential do-overs. It’s that “to err” part of being human. And the reason our little ones get those extra treats. Breathe deep; tomorrow you can give extra kisses and realize that all the people who read your blogs daily, we have all done something like this. Your honesty and tears and fear are ours. I hope you guys all feel better as soon as possible!

Laura
Laura
13 years ago

Okay I know everybody has said it already but maybe one more time will help -these accidents happen to every parent. And the truth is that we tend to judge ourselves harder and be much less forgiving of ourselves than we are of other parents. I berated myself for years over the fact that my own daughter took a header down a flight of basement stairs when she only 13 months old. But then my best friend’s 8 month got her foot caught in a car door; it completely pissed me off that strangers were constantly questioning her about why her “poor baby” had a cast on her foot. Each time somebody asked, my friend would get so choked up with mommy guilt she could barely speak to answer so I started answering for her, and being bit of a wise-ass, I told everybody that the baby had been in a skydiving accident. We got some weird looks but it made my friend laugh and made me realize that we parents need to try to forgive ourselves just as we would our friends. Glad that Dylan is okay and hope that you will feel better in the morning.

Heather
13 years ago

I am so sorry. The guilt is horrible and painful. Ugh. So, so sorry. Back in July my son was just turning 13 months old. He was following me while I vacuumed which he loves to do. I stopped, took the attachment off the vacuum so I could suck up the dog hair from the stairs and in a SPLIT SECOND my little guy pushed the vacuum over and grabbed the beater-bar. Needless to say the vacuum had been running for at least ten minutes and was hot. He screamed, I pulled his hand out. Looked okay. Seconds later the skin peeled off of his palm and finger. Called the dr, had me come in asap. Ending up sending us to the ER. I was devasted. It was my fault. I never thought he would tip the vacuum and stick his hand up into it. So my one year old had a bandaged “paw” for several weeks. After many trips to the hand specialist/plastic surgeon (gasp), the hand heeled well and there is no scarring. Everything works the way it should. To this day I tear up when I think about how I let that happen. Stab me right in the heart.

And… of course he still loves the vacuum. GAH.

Hang in there and feel better. Accidents happen and it sucks. You are a great mom and Dylan knows you love him.

trackback

[…] Those of us who have been writing about motherhood all know the powerful effect of writing an entry like this one. You vent your most horrible (in your opinion) parental mistakes and then the most amazing thing happens. Other parents speak up in your comments with their most horrible mistakes. And suddenly? Everyone realizes that none of us are perfect, we all screw up, and that makes us feel SO MUCH BETTER. […]

Elizabeth
13 years ago

At least you didn’t bust his lip . . . When I was little I was in the grocery store with my mom and older brother.

Mom told my brother to go get a basket. I ran after him yelling that I wanted to get the basket. Mom stormed over to us and went to do I don’t know what and wound up hitting me in the mouth and busting my lip!

She said she was so embarrased she left the store without buying groceries!!

As for me, in my son’s one year old pictures he has this swollen red nose because he rolled off of my bed the morning we took the pictures!

ladyloo
13 years ago

When my aunt was a teenager, she was babysitting me and my siblings. I tripped and fell, and cracked my face on the brick fireplace. Cut open my gums.

When I was a teenager, my aunt brought her new baby by, and I set her on a car and turned around for two seconds. Just enough time for her to take a header on to the floor.

Babies get hurt, but they survive. And you will too.

Jem
Jem
13 years ago

I remember Bel’s story about that pond…that was horrible…

Sometimes I feel really freaked out about life, ’cause these things happen to ALL OF US, those moments where you do something…not even stupid, just human, and the results instantaneously make you sick to your stomach or could change the rest of your life. Sorry, I know that’s not very helpful or positive, but I guess I just mean that I understand and I hope you’re all feeling a bit better about it now. I’m glad that nothing really horrible happened, like that story Bel told. I think you’re a great Mum :)

Heather
Heather
13 years ago

I’m glad all these stories are coming out to help you. I remember when my husband went upstairs before a dinner party and all I had to do was keep our toddler (who was trying to learn to run) from killing himself for TWO MINUTES. Unfortunately, in that time, he tried running and tripped and fell face first into the lovely hardwood stairs. Screams, a huge lump on his forehead within seconds, and that sinking feeling in me of horror/guilt/fear/what if. Luckily, nothing permanently damaged! Although there was a huge black eye to remind me of it for weeks.

Apparently as a 3 or 4-year-old, my mother accidently shut my hand in both a refrigerator door and a car door when I had put them there and she didn’t notice. She still cringes to this day, but I don’t remember it at all. I’m sure it will be the same for Dylan.

Oh, and here’s another lesson I can pass on: do not place a sit and spin near those lovely old fin-radiators. A toddler MIGHT decide it would be fun to walk on, find himself spinning backwards and fall into the radiator. The back of his head MIGHT have a laceration serious enough to require staples. Five minutes before you were supposed to be leaving town for the holidays, you MIGHT find yourself instead turning towards the children’s hospital.

Dylan will be fine and the only reminder will be in your mind.

Naomi in Oz
13 years ago

When my daughter was born we lived in a really old house that had wide doorways. When she was 6 weeks old we moved to another house that had slightly narrower than usual doorways. I kept bashing her head as we went through them. The first time I was devastated, the next few times I was cross. Then I started wearing her in a sling so that I couldn’t bump her. She doesn’t seem to have any ill effects!
As an aside, Bels story isn’t quite right. It was in Adelaide, it was the River Torrens. And then a few months later a similar thing happened to another child.
http://www.celebrity-babies.com/2007/04/kerry_lucas_spe.html

Beth
13 years ago

Glad he wasn’t badly hurt. And if your three year old is anything like my three year old, locking the stroller won’t help. Owen almost went trundling down the driveway straight into the street because Mia helpfully unlocked the stroller and started pushing while I ran back into the house for less than a minute.

Gina
13 years ago

Don’t feel guilty – it happen to all of us. Jst last week, I let a door go before my daughter was though it and it hit her in the face. And there are many more things like that. And years ago, my SIL had to take her son to the ER 3 times in 2 weeks because of things like that. She was sure they would be calling CYS.

Kristin H
Kristin H
13 years ago

I had to stop reading the comments after the pond story, but it did make me feel slightly better about the time I propped our baby up in the passenger seat of the car at a rest stop, with the door opened. I turn my back, he pitches out head first onto the asphalt. God. I’m sorry about Dylan. Thank God he’s all right.

moo
moo
13 years ago

I think the word you were looking for was “parent.”

Swistle
13 years ago

When something similar happened in our household, the feeling I had was of queasy relief at having escaped potential natural consequences, as well as the queasy aftereffects of getting such a vivid glimpse of how else things could have gone. I really think tranquilizers should be standard issue for times like this.

Tracy
13 years ago

Oh, I am sorry that happened to Dylan, poor kid, and I’m also sorry the rest of you were traumatized!

One Christmas we had given our dog a big bone and I was turned around fucking with my camera and my then 1.5 year old toddled over to where the dog was and the dog snapped at him. He was fine but someway or another her tooth got him right by his eye. I almost threw up and I felt so horrible because I know not to leave a toddler alone with a dog who is guarding their bone, but it happened. We are all OK now, but it still happened.

Heather-in-Australia
Heather-in-Australia
13 years ago

Bel, baby Leonardo drowned in Adelaide in the River Torrens, not Melbourne. His Mum’s name is Kerry Lucas.

I’m so sorry, Linda, I hope you feel better soon.

Melis
Melis
13 years ago

Mama…please stop with the self-battery. It wasn’t like you had pushed the stroller down the stairs or, I don’t know…let him fall over a toy onto a concrete floor, breaking his leg and then not knowing it was broken for 2 days like this one lady-okay, it was ME-did. It never bruised and he walked on it, just howled like hell when I held him a certain way (he was 7 months old). Children’s Hospital ER said they were amazed he was walking on it and acting like nothing was wrong and felt terrible when they had to hold his leg in position and CAST him from hip to toe. Needless to say, every time I looked at that red cast (and we do still have it), I cried and cried.

He’s almost 4. Has no recollection of said cast and runs just fine. In fact, we’re thinking of signing him up for soccer.

Be gentle with you.

bessie.viola
bessie.viola
13 years ago

OHmygosh, I was panicked for you. I could feel myself inside of this scenario, because already I have taken shortcuts so similar to this one.

So glad that he’s just fine. Give him extra hugs and be gentle with yourself. These things happen.

Hugs to you all!

Laura
13 years ago

I’m so glad Dylan is ok! And don’t beat yourself up over it… no matter how careful you are boys are going to get themselves into scrapes. It’s just the way life is.

Carolyn
Carolyn
13 years ago

My mom once pushed down on the trunk of our car (while it was up in the air) to close it, and it connected solidly with the top of my head. But all I remember from that day was that she felt so guilty she went and bought me McDonalds and Life (the board game? remember that? with the little peg people?). Anyway, long story short, I’m sure in Dylan’s little baby memories, all he still remembers now is the cuddling and the snack after. Hugs!

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

Don’t worry, that stuff happens to everybody! My son fell down the stairs head over feet, I can still picture it perfectly. His grandma also accidently dislocated his elbow when he was jumping on the bed holding onto her hands. I could name many, many other things too.
Glad Dylan is fine, and don’t beat yourself up. We have all been in that boat.

Kate
Kate
13 years ago

When my daughter was nine months old, I was packing for a trip and managing some last minute work stuff while she napped on my bed, safely surrounded by pillows. Except that I guess it wasn’t so safe, because from the other room I heard the horrible thud, followed, as I rushed in, knowing exactly what had happened, by a pause and then a heartbreaking cry. She had a egg on her head for the entire trip and I couldn’t believe I had been so irresponsible. Then, to top it off, a few days later, while working on her new-found walking skills, she fell flat on her face and got a bloody nose.

This stuff happens to everyone, Dylan is fine, and we just learn to be more careful the next time. Don’t beat yourself up.

emily
emily
13 years ago

oh, linda, i am sitting here crying reading your story. i understand that the guilt you feel is searing. my baby fell off the bed a few times (even after i said “how can people let babies fall of beds???”) and while he’s fine, it doesn’t stop you from feeling like the worst parent in the entire god damn world.

please try to take it easy on yourself. i know it’s hard.

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

Oh my heart just stopped for the entire time it took me to read this. The image that you can’t get out of your head is the worst, isn’t it? The stories do help. They help ME get over what I did.

On a walk in our neighborhood, where “uneven” doesn’t even BEGIN to describe the upheavals of pavement, I hit a big bump and the next thing I knew I was lying on top of the stroller, on top of my daughter who was face down on the pavement. (You gotta watch out for those Bugaboos, they are VERY top heavy and prone to this if you are walking/jogging fast and have the handlebar up high). The sight of her blood stained face (SHE WAS FINE, TOTALLY FINE, just a few scrapes), it still haunts me and makes me cry to think of it.

Amanda
13 years ago

My most “wonderful” parenting moment was when I closed my then two year old’s finger in the door and cut the top off. Following a day in the ER, surgery, and a cast up to his shoulder, I won the “Best Mom EVER” award. He’s seven now and he can’t even tell which finger it was, I can because that moment is burned into my brain, but the point is he’s fine. The parent takes the worst of it, really they do!

nonsoccermom
13 years ago

Oh, poor baby. And poor mama! These things happen, they really just do, and it was not your fault. We’ve all been there and done that, and it doesn’t make you less of a parent. My son pitched forward off of my lap when he was just shy of a year old, and his face connected with our coffee table. I don’t know who cried more, him or me, but in the end we were both fine.

Glad Dylan is okay, babies are almost always far more resilient than their parents.

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