What ifs

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The other day I was finishing using the bathroom while they boys argued with each other in the living room.

"I can't take this anymore! Go upstairs and aggravate your father," I hollered, because I like to practice awesome parenting daily.

We removed all the baby gates from the staircases except for the stairs at the top of the third floor as Ewan can easily walk up and down the stairs; though I still either trail him or watch him from the bottom step. I washed my hands and planned to walk over to the staircase and monitor him when I heard it: FUMP, WUMP, THWAP! CRY, WAIL, SCREAM!

Foot stomps echoed throughout the house as I dashed over to him and Chris raced to get downstairs. Ewan tried to carry his Thomas the Train backpack up the stairs with him on his fat little legs; he got as far as the fourth step when he lost his balance and toppled over, hitting both the front and back of his head. He had a scrape on his forehead and a goose egg was forming on the back. Before I choked on my heart I calmed him down as Chris readied and ice pack. He was fine, except for his knot-head and scrape. I felt awful. He fell because I told him to go upstairs when I should have been waiting at the bottom of the stairs before I told him to go up. If I had checked to see that he had his backpack I could've prevented the tumble, if I had demonstrated a bit more patience I wouldn't have told him to go upstairs, if I had used the restroom faster I could've been at the stairs quicker, and if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle.

There are a lot of "what ifs" in parenting. I didn't bring my A-game and as an indirect result of that, Ewan has a knot on the back of his head. Fortunately, it's shrinking. I could beat myself up over it or acknowledge it as a lesson learned and a continuing opportunity to practice true, non-facetious awesome parenting as best I can.

(Though I still snuggled the mush out of him today and slipped him a few M&Ms with his breakfast when he asked.)


Be glad the goose egg came out and didn't swell to the inside! He was scared, you were scared, Chris was scared -- he's bumped and bruised, but he's okay. Use it as a lesson learned and don't beat yourself up. The "what ifs" can kill your soul. I haven't met the parent yet who brings his/her "A" game each and every day. It is impossible.

If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle! Thanks- I almost spit tea through my nose. What a mess on my keyboard that would make!

Yikes! I'm glad Ewan didn't get seriously hurt. You're absolutely right though - parenting is a whole big bag of what if's and unfortunately, you'll have many, many more before you get your boys raised.

How about this "what-if": What-if Ewan never learned that he shouldn't climb the stairs when his balance is overloaded? After all, someone's always there to catch him if he falls, so there is no negative consequence and nothing to learn from the experience. I don't think we should hand our kids knives and tell them to run with them, but kids have to push their limits in order to learn where those limits are, and to grow. And, hard as it is for us, sometimes we have to let them take risks and not stand at the bottom waiting to catch them.

Dude... Seriously... I so want to use that "If my aunt had balls" line.

Karla's right about the goose egg. I have a nurse friend who told me years ago (when I called her because my toddler had jealously thwapped his newborn brother across the forehead with a toy car) it doesn't matter how big, purple and ugly it gets, as long as it swells out, he's good. I've seen many a giant purple knot on my kids' heads since then, and I think of that advice every time.

We do what we can. A games are hard to come by sometimes as a mom.

Oh, God love you. Every time my kids tripped or fell or scraped a knee or broke an arm, it hurt me just as much. M&Ms for breakfast makes it better. Have a few yourself.

And, yeah, "if my aunt had balls" - damn girl, you're funny!

If it makes you feel any better, my oldest fell down the stairs when he was 18 months old because I was too lazy to take his shoes off him first and take his sippy cup out of his hand. We ended up in the hospital for two days with a massive concusion (sp?) and severe vomiting. Super Scary. But he is now a fantastically brilliant near five year old and I too learned my lesson. Accidents happen. Sometimes they can be prevented, sometimes they can't. All we can do is thank God children are resilient and try to protect them the best we can. Glad Ewan is okay.

Childhood mishaps are all part of growing up. There will be a boatload more bumps, bruises, and scrapes ahead...get ready!

Yeah the lump is good.

Now that everything is going OK, you HAVE to realize that this was the perfect place to use that famous Dana line (well, my favorite from your blog so far) of "ARE YOU GOING TO GO TO SLEEP NOW?"

That's my parenting skills - diffuse everything with humor. I would have also checked the stairs for damage and made a big production out of it.

Scoff all you want, but my youngest daughter fell on an uneven sidewalk running down Lafayette Avenue during a house tour in the Square, and TOTALLY tore up both her knees. My knees hurt so bad in sympathy, and my stomach was churning...lots of blood. However, I kept up the joking and by the time we walked the couple of blocks to the Mexican Restaurant for some wet towels to clean up her knees, she didn't care anymore!

She's tough.

Did the fall hurt his cheeks? I sure hope not!!! Lots of TLC to him :-)

Poor little peanut. We've all been there, awesome parents all.

He wasn't hurt bad and you can correct whatever you think you did or didn't do. It's a lesson learned that you can place in your rolodex (brain) for the future. Don't keep beating yourself up over it, it'll be okay.

Wow you learned that lesson early. Kids get bumped. It happens.

Now if he was playing with power tools and chopped off his arm, then this would be a different comment.

He is such a little trooper. I hope you both are feeling better. It's so hard to watch our little ones in pain. And it hurts even more when we think we could have prevented it. Damn you mommy guilt. Don't beat yourself up, you're a wonderful mother.

Back at our old town house apartment we had a set of stairs about 25ft high. After numerous warnings of not to play at the top or on the stairs I've still seen him go down them end over end at least 3 times. Needless to say, after the 3rd time he learned how to not mess around near them. That, or he got lucky until we moved out!

While it sucks seeing something like that happen to your child, unfortunately it is a part of parenting. I can only imagine what mine's first broken bone is going to be like........

I bet Ewan learned a little bit about going up the stairs with a heavy backpack himself. Cut yourself a little slack. You were using the bathroom. You're allowed to do that, even in peace sometimes, if you can believe that.

I laughed at Gregg's comment: ARE YOU GOING TO GO TO SLEEP NOW? Too funny.

Eat yourself some M&Ms too. They do wonders for the guilt (associated with parenting, not the guilt from the hip-widening, not that you have to worry about that).

My mom would call bumps like that "wisdom bumps". Hopefully he gained some after taking his spill. Go get a Starbuck's and ask him if he needs a new head. :)

Karla's right about the goose egg

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