Parenting Nightmares

Yesterday we made our first trip as a family of five. We drove to my great aunt's house for Sunday dinner, something we've missed for over a month. Once we were finally on our way following the enormous production of packing for and dressing three little people, I turned around and looked at my car's back seat and it finally sunk in.

I really do have three kids, and the huge responsibility of keeping them safe as well.

We had a really nice time at dinner. 13 of us crammed into my great aunt's small kitchen enjoying macaroni as we do each Sunday. Plenty of people ready and willing to help with the babies and play with Isabella who runs around my aunt's house as if it's her own private playhouse.


My great aunt was holding Luci on the couch after dinner when she started to sneeze and turn red. Some gross milk-spitup hybrid came out of her nose (which has happened many times before with both Luci and Nicholas) but this time Luci was arching her back and gagging and was having a hard time catching her breath. This part was definitely not normal. My great aunt immediately handed her to me. My grandma, aunts, and cousin were also in the room at the time, and were obviously really worried about what was going on. I remained calm so they would remain calm (my family members like to whip eachother into a frenzy), but I was scared. I didn't know what was happening, and I hated the feeling of not being able to help my daughter.

It was terrifying watching her fight through this attack, and while she eventually settled down after a few minutes (I think her attack was caused by a milk backup somewhere in her system), the horrible feeling of powerlessness didn't go away. It was awful.

Later that night when we arrived home from my aunt's house, the hubs took Isabella upstairs to her room. He put her in her crib, and then went upstairs to the attic whose access door is in Isabella's room, to retrieve the swing for the twins. I was downstairs unpacking the bags of leftovers my aunt sent home with us when I heard a deafening thud followed by Isabella's screams. I raced up the stairs and found Isabella in my husband's arms. Her mouth was full of blood. He told me she slipped and fell in her room.

It wasn't until we had her calmed down and munching on a piece of cheese, which she requested to "make me feel better," that he told me what had really happened.

Isabella had fallen out of her crib.

Apparently, the hubs thought me too hysterical in my response to the news of a run-of-the-mill fall to initially tell me the truth about an incident whose injuries could have been much, much worse.

The hubs saw it all happen as he was coming down the stairs from the attic. Despite the fact that the mattress is at its lowest setting and that when she's standing, the crib bar reaches to armpit level, Isabella managed to flip herself head over heels over the bar. Her feet hit the ground first, thank GOD, followed by her back, and then her head. She has a bump at the back of her head, and a few tiny cuts on her tongue where she bit it (which accounts for the blood in her mouth), but that's it.

I cannot even put into words how terrified I was when I heard what had happened.

My baby.

We wanted to keep her awake for awhile to ensure she didn't have a concussion, so we brought her downstairs and let her watch an episode of Clifford, her current favorite. We gave her more cheese. A popsicle. Water in a big-girl glass with ice cubes. And while she sat and watched and laughed at the tv, the hubs and I looked at eachother and realized how lucky we were that she was there, sitting between us.

It could have been so much worse.

This morning, the crib bumpers came out (even though we doubt she used them to boost herself up) and the toddler bed conversion kit for her crib was ordered. I'll transition her to a bed as soon as it arrives.

These two events, which happened just hours apart, made me realize that despite all best intentions, it's impossible to protect your children all of the time. Luci or Isabella might get picked on in school. Nicholas might one day break his arm. One of my kids (God forbid) might develop a serious illness. These things might happen.

But as a mother, how am I supposed to reconcile the fact that there are going to be certain circumstances occurring in my children's lives where I won't be able to stop the pain or prevent something terrible from happening?

As someone who feels most comfortable controlling all aspects of her life and those of her children, how can I accept that my babies, who are the most important things to me in the world, will get hurt in this life, and probably often, and that there's not a damn thing I can do about it?

16 Responses to “Parenting Nightmares”

  1. # Blogger Tracey

    Man, what a day!! Glad they're all ok, but you must have been a bundle of nerves after those incidents.

    A mommy of 3. Yes. It's a big change, isn't it?  

  2. # Blogger Jesser

    Yea. There's no more vulnerable feeling than being a parent. They matter so much to you. All your selfish thoughts gone, you can't even fathom what your life would be like if they even got hurt, let alone ... well let's not go there. So scary. I try not to freak out and let her be a kid, but damn it's hard sometimes. Between your story and Lisanne's, I'm pushing Hubby on the production of the toddler bed. Plus her little friend from daycare BROKE HER ARM falling out of the crib. Yikes. And there I go again, freaking out.  

  3. # Blogger Mom24

    That definitely is a day and a half. Unfortunately, you have no choice but to accept it. Not to exposes them to an almost worse danger--overprotectiveness. At Jason's 1 year old birthday party, my FIL went to put him on his shoulders and dropped him down his back onto the blacktop below. He ended up with a skull fracture. Believe me, I know it's not easy to know your kids are going to hurt sometimes. You just do the very, very best you can to keep them safe and comfort them through the bad times. {{{Hugs}}}  

  4. # Blogger kenju

    Kristi, you and I are much alike in our need to control everything. Unfortunately, there is no way to control accidents and they will happen. Trust in your innate ability to do what is best at that moment, and call the doctor when you cannot figure out what is best.  

  5. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    We've had so many close calls, too - H&J rolling backwards down the driveway in the SUV and almost into the highway, us almost getting hit by a truck catching the school bus, having to call Poison Control twice, having to take Jake to the ER for a head scan at 6 weeks old (because Ian accidentally dropped him), Hannah getting tested for childhood leukemia at age 5 (not to mention all the petty little things). Yeah, it all can make a parent CRAZY with fear.

    Just take each day as it comes. If you think about all the possibilities, you won't be able to function.  

  6. # Blogger My Wombinations

    I am with Lis. If I spent too much time thinking about how everything COULD have gone, I would be paralyzed with fear. Isabella is ok and that is all that matters. And you are right, protecting our kids is impossible--but that is also a good thing. It is how they learn to not be afraid.  

  7. # Blogger Sugar and Ice

    You are like me in the sense that you want to have control over these things. LG stayed in her crib until she was about 27 months old. I figured I'd keep her in there as long as she wasn't climbing out. Then I found her hanging upside down on the outside of her crib, screaming, one day at nap time. If she'd fallen she would have landed on top of her head. It makes my stomach turn to think what kind of injury she could have sustained. She moved to a toddler bed that very night. So, I know I can't always ensure that my kids will be safe and remain unscathed, but I'll do everything I can to try to accomplish safety for them. I've already thought about how the twins will be transitioned to a toddler bed BEFORE they're able to climb out....you know, just so I feel like I'm a little more in control.  

  8. # Anonymous Ness

    How right you are. Control is an illusion. You could do everything right all the time for your kids, and heck, we could all get flattened by an Asteroid tomorrow. Just enjoy the now. Oh god, did I just spew up Oprah? Yikes.  

  9. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    What a rough day! I'm so glad your girls are alright.
    The control over everything is an issue I've been grappling with recently.
    I hope your conversion kit comes soon and the transition to the big girl bed won't be rough.  

  10. # Blogger angela

    I feel for you. The upside is that you do become accustomed and learn to take these things in your stride especially as you now have a boy.
    I know that you have no time but when you do you may want to take a first aid course. It does give you confidence.  

  11. # Blogger Shannon

    I know we were lucky with Lore in that she is such a monkey... she would climb out and stuff but she never fell... but then again she climbs the bookshelves at home lol... so a crib is small time lol...

    but it sounds like you had quite the day... I hope you were finally able to relax some last night... if not I hope tonight!  

  12. # Blogger Simply-Mel

    Shite. Not a good day for you.

    Am so with you. I dont think you can ever reconcile yourself to the fact that you cant control all the circumstances in your kids lives. My mom still struggles with worrying over all of us!!

    Let me know if you figure it out!  

  13. # Blogger Damselfly

    Wow. Two scary episodes in one night. The good thing is Isabella and Luci are both OK. But I know what you mean -- no matter how protective you are, or what precautions you take, or how much you worry, in the end sometimes there really is nothing to stop something from happening to kids.  

  14. # Anonymous Kris

    Glad everybody is ok!

    Brody took a tumble out of his brother's high chair yesterday... so scary. I don't know that we ever get used to not being able to completely protect our kids.  

  15. # Blogger MoziEsm√©

    Scary! I can relate. I spent the first year and some of Esme's life watching every move she made for the most part - she was never out of my line of sight. At 19 months, she's growing up and moving around the corner, and it's scary!  

  16. # Blogger Angela

    Scary just isn't strong enough a word is it?

    It's only after you have the first baby that you really understand the quote "Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body." (by Elizabeth Stone, but I don't know who she is/was)

    I have a blog post in my heart that I haven't had the courage yet to write about this terror. There are several facets to it, but I've never felt such sheer, unadulterated terror before having my son.

    I think parenting must be the bravest thing a human being can do.  

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