It all started with me, rushing to get home after work one night. I don’t remember the exact reason I was rushing, I think in general because I’m away from the Bot so much out of every day, I try to get home as fast as I can in order to spend every possible second with her. So in my hastiness I ended up hitting a (technically illegally) parked car while going about 20 miles an hour on my bike. It was 100% an accident that just couldn’t be avoided – believe me I tried. All parties involved were great in making sure I was ok, my stuff was collected so I could get to the ER as soon as Bob909 got to me. After a CT scan and about 6 hours between two hospitals I got home and had about a grand total of 30 minutes with the Bot. The lessons there: Don’t rush and if you have more than one option for an ER, choose the one that is *not* a trauma center if you can as the wait at a trauma ER is about 10 times that of a regular ER. At least, that’s how it is in Chicago.
Funny enough, there were a dozen signs that told me not to ride home that day and I ignored them all. Now I have a nice little scar on my chin and some frustrating back pain that I’m trying to work out. This is not the worst of my two weeks it by far.
The Bot is officially on the move. At 7.5 months she’s crawling, pulling herself up to standing, walking while holding our hands, walking in a walker (flying), walking alongside furniture and toys without us, she even stood for 3 seconds last Thursday completely on her own and unsupported. (She’s also waving bye, intertwining her hands, giving a high-five and she has 5.5 teeth -the 6th keeps cutting through and tucking back under the gum). So there have been big changes in the atmosphere that have taken a lot to get used to since this all kind of started in the last month. We’re learning quickly what we can and can’t do with her anymore and the big one is no more leaving her on the bed to sleep if we’re not in bed with her. And that started what has possibly been the worst week since this little amazing cosmonaut came into our lives.
I was in the bathroom, attached to our bedroom, getting ready and talking to Bob909 as we tried to sort out some plans for the next day. It can be hard to hear each other when the water is running. So Bob909 laid the Bot on the bed and walked the whole 5 steps over to the door to talk to me. Faster than we could blink we heard it. *thunk* and my mind immediately said… Oh god, I know it’s not, but I wish that was one of the laptops. And my answer came with the dreaded follow-up *waaaAAAAHHH* that I will sit in some fear of for the rest of my life. We both raced to her and sure enough she had sat up in our bed but unfortunately, her propulsion kept her going right over the edge. That thunk was her hitting the hardwood floor, head first. I scooped her up while Bob909 grabbed one of those instant ice packs and we got that on her immediately. We sat a few minutes and she calmed down. Fortunately we realized it wasn’t too bad of a bonk, certainly nothing to go to the doctor about, after all, the bed is a mere 19” off the ground, you can hardly do any damage from that height. Still we were completely inexperienced at this as this was the first instance of her falling we’d had. So we kept a close eye on her and the bump and sure enough the next day, you couldn’t even see it.
Fast forward another couple of days. A friend was watching the Bot as both Bob909 and I had to work late and Nanny M needed to be set free for her holiday weekend. I got home and we were all chatting and having a lovely time talking about going to the Renn Faire that weekend. The Bot has become extra curious as we sat in her room. She kept insisting on pulling the dresser drawers and standing using the gliding footstool for support. I didn’t want her to get hurt on either so I asked my friend to pick her up and bring her into her play area in the living room while I made a quick work call.
I went up front and I heard it again. A *bunkunch*, followed by “sh*t”, then silence, then *CRASH*, then silence then “waaaaAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!” and then “Oh God, Oh God, Oh God Oh, God.”
Let me tell you what no mom ever wants to hear… yup you guessed it, all of that combined. I ended my call as I raced back and there was my friend on the ground with the Bot. He had tripped over her walker and the Bot was screaming her head off. From what I could tell, I thought my friend managed to protect her and that her crying was just out of fear/shock. I took her from him and raced to the couch where I could clearly assess the situation.
No abrasions, no cuts, no blood. “I think she’s alright!” I yelled. I think she’s just scared.”
“I think she hit the wall.” My friend said as I caressed her head and tried to hold her tight.
“No, she’s o…” and then I felt it and she yelped twice as loud. A dent. A huge long dent from where her head hit the doorframe. “Oh God. Oh, no. We have to go to the ER.”
And somehow, I snapped into a mode I never knew I had the capability of being in before. The world slowed down and I could think so clearly about everything that needed to be done. I told my friend to get an ice pack and to reserve a Zipcar. I told my other friend to grab the diaper bag. I rattled off what to put in, making sure we had diapers, teething rings (how much pain can one child go through at a time) toys, Boris the bear, food since we would be there a while and where it all was. All the while I held my daughter telling her it would all be ok. I found her Tylenol to ease the pain a bit and called Bob909 to find out where he was and tell him where to meet us.
I double-checked that we had everything, got the cats fed and watered and got out the door to wait on the car. Once we got to the children’s hospital we got in immediately, apparently spearheading a mad rush of ER cases but the good news was we were first in. She got a CT scan and did wonderfully. How we got a baby in horrible pain with a swelling head to stay still for a CT scan I’ll never know (I wasn’t allowed in the room for reasons we won’t discuss here) but we managed and then we sat and waited for the results.
On our way back the nurse told us to be prepared, I might have to talk to DCFS. I was expecting this as we had had a conversation with a friend just after she fell off the bed about another friend of theirs whose child was involved in a pretty big oops as well. Was I a bad parent? What had I done to allow my daughter to get hurt so. What hadn’t I done? I knew the two incidents were accidents and I never once was mad at Bob909 or our friend. I felt terrible for them because I knew if I felt this bad then they must feel immeasurably worse. And now, we were going to have to talk to DCFS and what were they going to say?
While I stayed calm on the outside, I was secretly terrified of what was going to happen.
After the scan, the Bot calmed down for the most part. If someone or something touched the side of her head that she hit, she would cry and on the odd occasion she would just wail for no reason for a few seconds then stop. Bob909 arrived finally, he had been way out in the suburbs so it took him a while, so I felt a little better. And then we all just started singing songs to keep the poor girl entertained. When we ran out of show tunes the Beastie Boys and generic 80’s tunes did the job.
When the doctor came back and told us the CT scan showed no fracture, relief washed over me. They had us feed her to see if she got sick or was able to hold it down (she held it down) and after a bit more of a wait they came in to let us go. Of course, before we left I asked about DCFS because my biggest fear at that moment, bigger than whether the Bot’s head would always have that dent in it, was leaving and having DCFS take her away because someone messed up and sent us home before we talked with them. So after making sure, we collected our things, checked out of the ER and went home.
I can happily report that the Bot was back to her normally cheery self the next day so we went to the zoo with her friend and her head is almost back to its original shape. The head bonking incidents have gone on hiatus for a bit, but with her walking I’m definitely discovering the constant edge that seems to come along with a child just learning to walk. I want to protect her from everything, but the only way for her to learn is to take risks and, yes, get hurt. I think the best thing I can do is just be there when she falls to give her a kiss and help her back up, if she wants my help that is. In the meantime, I’m dreaming of the first time she toddles up to me to climb into my lap and what a wonderful feeling that will be.