Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The Best Time I Took My Baby to the Emergency Room

This is still a little too raw for me to really want to talk about it, but I got a bit of a guilt-nudge from yesterday's post on criminalizing bad mothers.

All parents do something stupid at some point, and most of us get away with it. That's the truth. Usually, it's not doing meth while you're pregnant, or putting your baby on top of a bear in Yellowstone so you can film it. But it's something, and you usually get away with it. And if you get away with it, it's a funny story, and you'll eventually laugh about it with other parents. If you don't get away with it, people will make themselves feel better about their own mistakes by pillorying you. But there's no difference between people who do something stupid and get away with it, and people who don't get away with it. It's luck. Don't kid yourself.

Me? I was making dinner, and I had my baby in a wide-based baby chair (not a Bumbo, for the record), on the kitchen island. Stable, wide-based. Not near the edge. I shouldn't have done it. It's on the packaging. Don't do it. I was singing the Eagles' "Take it Easy" to her, and I was chopping peppers, and then I heard a noise, and I looked up, and there was nothing on the island. She had somehow launched herself and the entire chair backwards off the four-foot-high island.

I wanted to kill myself. I remember thinking, very clearly, that if she died, I would have to kill myself. It was the worst moment of my life. I was filled with self-loathing, she was screaming, the chair partially broke her fall, but she obviously hit her head on the tile floor.

So I called 911. And the first thing they ask for is your address, and I started into this whole "I don't even know if I should be calling, but my baby fell and hit her head" thing, and the very nice dispatcher just said "I know, I know, what's your address?" And the paramedics were there in about ten minutes. And they were, again, very nice, and each of them, because it's Utah, was about thirty years old and had six children, and six individual stories about how they almost killed their child, but didn't, and it was okay. "I was holding my baby while drinking coffee, and dumped it on her leg." "My baby reached out and touched the glass front of our gas fireplace and burned herself really badly." "My daughter was tossing the baby in a blanket on the driveway and dropped him." It was so kind. They told me she was beautiful, and that her vital signs were good, and that babies fall all the time, and that I in no way needed to kill myself.

But they also wanted to take her to the hospital, and we did, and we rode in the ambulance, and I still hated myself, and then we had this very, very matter-of-fact emergency room doctor from New Zealand who told us all the stats on head injuries in infants.

(In case you are wondering, babies have brains that are right up against their little skulls, so if there's a significant bleed, you'll know within a very short window of time, and the chance of brain injury drops to nil after about 24 hours without symptoms.)

So we sat there with her for four hours of observation, and I hated myself, and everyone was so kind to me, and I hated myself, and then my husband, who is in a sling because of a bike accident, said: "man, the cops are going to be all over you, huh? Between the baby and me." Which is usually the sort of thing that I would find funny, but instead I just burst into floods of uncontrollable tears, and then people were even nicer, which made me feel worse, because it was so clearly and obviously completely my fault, and my baby was the only person anyone should be feeling bad for.

After four hours, she had a decent-sized goose egg, but a good attitude, and our doctor said we could take her home and let her sleep through the night. "You don't need to wake her up, we don't do that anymore."

And then he left, and our nurse said: "Wake her up every four hours." So we did.  And she was fine. We were lucky.

There is no difference between me leaving her on the counter in that chair, and a parent who backed over their kid playing in the driveway. We pretend there is, because we want to think there's an immense barrier between us and disaster, but there isn't. Just luck.

When we left the hospital, they gave us a yellow stuffed bear for her, which is a very nice thing they do. I left it in her carseat for a week, nearly dry-heaved every time I saw it, and then eventually tossed it in the trash.

322 Comments / Post A Comment


Ohhh, honey. Internet hugs for you. Glad the little munchkin is A-OK.

Also, this is the same point Gene Weingarten makes in his article about people who leave infants in cars. It's awful, but the most awful thing about it is...anyone could do it. I might not link to it, though, because it's totally NSFW in the "It will make you bawl, out loud, at your desk" kind of way.

fondue with cheddar

@Ophelia I read that article or one like it, and had that exact reaction.


@Ophelia That article (I assume it's the same one) had me surreptitiously checking for babies in coworkers cars on my way in from the parking lot every day for 2 months. It is terrifying how easily it can happen.


@Ophelia I thought of that article too. It's so true; we all do stuff like this. Sometimes it works out OK. Sometimes it's devastating.


@Maria Me too - and every so often, I'll realize that I've been driving, and have just kind of blanked out the previous 5 minutes...I don't have kids, but it ALWAYS makes me think of the article, and then be terrified of someday having to drive somewhere with a sleeping child in the back.


@Ophelia I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one thinking of that Weingarten article. That's the exact point he makes, and it's so humanizing; everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. (Yeah, don't link it though, it will ruin you.)

"But there's no difference between people who do something stupid and get away with it, and people who don't get away with it. It's luck. Don't kid yourself." Can we inscribe this in gold somewhere, because it's SO TRUE.

::hugs::, Nicole. Do you want to hear a funny story about how my dad was trying to be a good parent when we were sledding one day? He told little six-year-old me I should move over on the hill so we weren't so close to the street, and I did, and then I ran face-first into the steel stand pipe that was sticking up out of the ground that neither of us saw and broke my nose. I was fine- still am!- but poor Dad, so much guilt.

Oh, squiggles

@Ophelia I think I read that piece. It is terrifying! I feel so bad for people when it happens.

My mother still feels guilty about accidentally locking me in the car with the keys. I am fine, she noticed right away, but she still looks distressed when I bring it up!

Where are the magic protection bubbles that we can put around babies to keep them safe until the age of, hmm let's say 30?


@Ophelia That was such a powerfully devastating read. I can't even begin to comprehend the depths of emotion the people involved must have felt...I literally cannot fathom it.


@area@twitter OHMYGOD, I had EXACTLY that sledding experience with my dad, except I was 8, and wound up with a giant bruise on my hip! Stand pipe and everything!


@Ophelia What the actual fuck is up with random stand pipes?! I SMELL CONSPIRACY


@Ophelia Oh I read that too. It was heartbreaking. And I think one of the people that did it was a rocket scientist, or a doctor, I can't remember. But it happens to all sorts of people across the board. I often think of the father that just couldn't forgive himself...it's tragic.

Nicole, I can't tell you how many times we put my niece on the counter in her Bumbo. It could have happened to her too, but we just got lucky. I am very glad your baby is okay!

When my niece was a month old I was carrying her in the Bjorn and I was eating chocolate covered cherries and didn't realize I had dripped some of the red juice on her head. She slept right through it but my sister FLIPPED. (I SAID I WAS SORRY!!)


@Maria Since reading that article, I do this too, sort of glancing in the backseats of parked cars that I walk past.


@Ophelia oh god it is so nsfw as in it will ruin your day far past work and into the early hours of the night when you stare at the ceiling thinking "maybe I am just too absent-minded to be a parent"

I could totally see myself doing this. I would have to put my bag back there or whatever. I often will be driving along and I'm like "wait ... how did I get in this lane? when did I change to it? why did I change to it?" so yeah...

fondue with cheddar

@redheaded&crazie We all drive on autopilot sometimes. How many times have you driven to work on a weekend morning or driven to your old house after you've moved? I've done it way more times than I could count.


@jen325 I have, more than once, had an appointment or meeting somewhere near my old office/old apartment/old high school/etc., and have ended up in that old familiar place, rather than where I was meant to be. Or on occasion, been so "early morning headed" that I've gotten to work and then can't quite recall what traffic was like on the way in (which is always a bit scary, when I realize it). It's crazy how we have that auto-pilot.

But Oh man, that Weingarten piece is one that sticks with you for years. I read it a while back and every now and then, I will be reminded by it, by someone pulling a kid out of a car seat in the grocery store lot or when it gets really hot and I open the door and can see the ripples of heat in the light of the sun or something, and it just saddens me every time.

I once had a friend meet me for coffee and she brought her then-6-month-old son with her (having planned to leave him with her husband). He fell asleep in the backseat and she, having planned to leave him at home and not hearing much noise from him, left him in the car for about 20 minutes. Thankfully, it was a very cool, very mild day, and she had parked in the shade, and the car hadn't warmed much by the time she realized what had happened, and he was fine. But I always flash to that article when I think of it. It can happen to anyone, anywhere.


@redheaded&crazie I have a quite a few reasons for not wanting kids, but ohmygod the leaving kids in cars thing is the top five spots on the list of not-selfish reasons. How many times a WEEK do I leave for work without my lunch, or the earrings i meant to wear, or my keys (it's a really good thing my bf gets home before I do, let me just say), or just...something? babies are bigger, and noisier, and going to take up more of my attention, but holy shit. I am completely convinced I am too absent-minded to be in charge of tiny helpless beings.

fondue with cheddar

@Scandyhoovian Wow, thank goodness the car hadn't warmed very much.

That piece really does stick with you. One thing that I thought was interesting about it (though not surprising when you think about it) is how leaving a baby in a car is an accident that transcends intelligence, social status, sex, race, anything. It really can happen to anyone. So scary.


@Awesomely Nonfunctional A motion detector inside the car, which goes off after the ignition key is withdrawn and all doors are closed? Headlights flash and a verbal warning to "check interior of car."
There, now I'm rich.


@Myrtle sign me up!

fondue with cheddar

@Myrtle It's a good idea, except babies that get left in cars are usually sleeping, in which case a motion detector wouldn't pick up anything.


@Myrtle back to the drawing board!


@jen325 My stepfather was driving both my mom and my daughter in one morning a few months ago, and after he dropped my mom off, he just continued on to his office and parked the car. Fortunately my daughter, while quiet was also 13, and so she piped up from the backseat (where she had probably been zoning out, too) and he realized what had happened. I mean, if you can forget a teenager, then you can definitely forget a sleeping baby.

He knew another attorney years ago who forgot his baby, and being Phoenix in the summer, it was a bad outcome. Seriously, anyone can do it.


@jen325 And that even though they do kind of understand the neurobiology that makes it happen...there's not a lot you can do, apart from setting other triggers - like putting your purse in the back seat - to keep your brain from doing it.


@Myrtle One thing that that piece (which is as incredible as everyone says) talks about is that people have developed ways to prevent this, but car manufacturers are very resistant. It does give strategies to people for how to prevent doing it, though, for example, always leaving your phone/wallet/purse in the backseat, so that you always have to go back there to get it whether you have the kid or not, having a teddy bear that you put in the front seat whenever the baby is in the backseat, and other things to remind you. The whole story is heartbreaking, and Weingarten said that one reason that he wrote it is that he came very close to doing something like that himself.


@thebestjasmine And another scary thing that I had no idea about (and saw this from many parents of toddlers who also had no idea about) was how toddlers can break their legs when parents go down slides with them. Why do little kids have to come so damn fragile?


@Ophelia I collaborated with someone in that article on a work project once. I had no idea, and when I finally read the article (probably from a link posted somewhere here), I threw up.

Miss Maszkerádi

@Myrtle A gadget that responds to the withdrawing of the keys from the ignition with the verbal warning: "check interior of car" or similar. To be given free of charge to all new parents, one gadget per car in the household.

Faintly Macabre

@Ophelia The office I worked in a few months ago overlooks a big shopping center with a few office buildings. A woman in my office who'd worked there for ages told me that a few years back, an older guy who taught in one of those buildings was watching his infant grandchild for a few hours. He wasn't used to having the baby with him and forgot it in the car. The baby died, and mandatory sentencing meant the man went to jail. Can you imagine? As if it's not enough to have accidentally killed his own grandchild.


@Faintly Macabre This. This exactly is why I hate mandatory sentencing laws. To me, they are a perfect way to ruin the justice system.



Every day, baby in car or not, whenever I drive, I open the rear door every time I park and look at the car see to be sure it's empty. I put my bag there, so I have to do it. It's working so far.


@thebestjasmine Yep, that article is so ingrained in my head that I was like, maybe that stuffed animal can be the thing that sits in the front seat of the car and reminds you to get your baby!


@Ophelia On The Awl that is referred to as The Story That We Do Not Mention Under Any Circumstances because of reasons.

Also, if you need to set something, oh, a baby in a car seat or a pet carrier or even a go cup, on the car for just a second for any reason, set it on THE HOOD. Not the roof, the hood.


A motion detector might not work, but I actually think that a CO2 detector could. I really think some engineer should get on this. The CO2 detector could call your phone/set of the alarm/SOMETHING if a constant increase in CO2 levels was detected for a set time after you turned off the car.
It's how countless of parasites find us, and humans do produce copious amounts. See guys? Parasitology is good for something.


I feel like a monster now because yes, that article is really upsetting, but it kind of didn't make me any more upset than any other story about fatal accidents? I don't know, I'm not really worried about this. It is so rare, like all methods of accidental death. Of course, that doesn't mean that it's not great to think about technical solutions (such as @The Kendragon's above) that could help prevent this always.

That one "worst case" is singularly horrible though . . . holy shit.



"In 2000, Chris Edwards, Terry Mack and Edward Modlin began to work on just such a product after one of their colleagues, Kevin Shelton, accidentally left his 9-month-old son to die in the parking lot of NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The inventors patented a device with weight sensors and a keychain alarm. Based on aerospace technology, it was easy to use; it was relatively cheap, and it worked....

That was five years ago. The device still isn't on the shelves. The inventors could not find a commercial partner willing to manufacture it. One big problem was liability. If you made it, you could face enormous lawsuits if it malfunctioned and a child died. But another big problem was psychological: Marketing studies suggested it wouldn't sell well.

The problem is this simple: People think this could never happen to them. "

Kate Kane

@thebestjasmine The slide leg break happened to a friend's son fairly recently - and then someone linked them to that article when it came out. Just in case they weren't still feel bad about it, I guess? Ow.

fondue with cheddar

@The Kendragon That is a great idea!

Deanna Destroi

@Ophelia Curiosity overcame me and I read the Weingarten article. Now I am bawling my face off at work. Can't say you didn't warn me.


@yeah-elle I left a blanket sitting in my daughter's car seat one day and someone who walked by my car in the parking garage called security, thinking there might be a baby under there. The security guard came and got me and had me go to my car to move the blanket and prove there was no baby in the carseat. I was horrified and sick and shaky the rest of the day just at the THOUGHT of leaving my Mimi in the car. I make a point of focusing on something specific whenever I drop her off at preschool so I'm CERTAIN she got there. Being a parent is the scariest thing- and the best, too.


@emilysometimes Also, that is one of the cutest babies I have ever seen, Nicole.


@thebestjasmine I think Kendragon's solution is terrific, and also protects pets. In this App Store age, surely this can be developed.


This is incredible!!@t


Even though I knew everything was OK, I held my breath the entire time!

Seriously, what a beautiful baby.

Kaitlyn Kochany@twitter

This story is one of the most human things I've read in a long time. Big props for sharing.

fondue with cheddar

Oh my goodness, Nicole. What a terrifying ordeal. Accidents do happen all the time (we usually only hear about them when they result in Bad Things), but I can completely understand your reaction. I felt the same way when I was watching my niece and nephew a couple years ago and didn't latch the upstairs baby gate properly, resulting in my sweet 1-year-old nephew falling down the stairs. There is no greater fear.

I'm so glad your daughter's okay.


@jen325 Yeah, this was me and my baby sister. Fun times: stairs are fucking terrifying.

miss olsen

@jen325 Me too, only my little cousin. I was 14. Ten years ago and I still get hot and sweaty and panicky with terror/sorrow/mortification/shame when I think about it.

You're a good parent, Nicole, and glad to hear your girl's ok!

miss olsen

@miss olsen Also, she is totally fine, but still. No greater fear.


I slipped on the stairs once while holding my 1 yr old niece. She is fine but I still feel horrible about it.


@jen325 The details are irrelevant, but I was babysitting my 10-month-old niece and I neglected to block the stairs. She went down the stairs in her walker ZOOM! She stayed upright the whole way, and didn't hurt herself at all, but both of us were scared shitless, and she threw dirty looks at the stairs the whole rest of the day. I was terrified my brother would be MAD MAD MAD at me, but he wasn't. I'm sure he could tell I felt absolutely horrible, and I still do, because I just got teary-eyed AGAIN and the little fart is now 14 years old! Oy.

Oh, and once when I was about 11, my family went to a swap meet. On the way back to the car, we were waiting for the walk signal to cross a really busy street. I stepped off the curb in anticipation of the signal changing ... only my Dad thought I was going to walk right in front of an oncoming car. He reached out to grab me, forgetting he was holding a bag with a ceramic teapot in it. The bag hit me right on the side of the head, busting that poor teapot all to hell, and damn near knocking me out. Seriously, you know how in cartoons when somebody gets hit on the head, they see little chirping birdies and stars circling over their heads? It was totally like that. Poor Dad was horrified, and I was MAD, because DUH! I wasn't going to step in front of traffic, jeez!

fondue with cheddar

@MsChilePepper I was afraid my brother would be mad at me too! But he also wasn't. He was the one trying to make me feel better about the incident. And he said it would be our little secret because my sister-in-law would surely have freaked if she found out (she's a worrier/panicker).

I'm sure any parent would have done what your dad did in the teapot incident. Parents instinctively do stuff like that (my mom still reaches her hand over to protect me if she stops suddenly while driving). I can understand you being mad at age 11, though.


@jen325 Parent instincts, man. I'm almost thirty but when I sit in the passenger seat with one of my parents driving, and we have to stop suddenly, they do the outflung-arm reflex. Then one where you whip your right arm across the car with the palm towards the person in the passenger seat? It's pure unconscious motion and I don't think it'll ever go away.

Sam I am

Nicole, I'm so glad shes okay!


Nicole, I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I don't have kids, but I dumped a plate of hot spaghetti in my brother's lap when he was 5 (I was 14) and burned him pretty badly (he's fine now). My mom's best friend is a nurse, so she came over and bandaged his little legs, but I cried harder and longer than he did. Hugs, hugs, hugs.


@bookworm I'm 10 years older than my brother, and when I was 11 or 12, I distracted my mother while she was making a cappuccino -- I was getting ready for a dance and asked her to help me put in some earrings. My brother reached for the just-steamed milk and poured it all over his chest. Nothing feels worse than being responsible for something like that :(

Toby Jug

Jesus, this exact same thing (minus a bruise- somehow the baby fell four feet and bounced) happened to me when I WAS 12 AND BABYSITTING FOR MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR. She immediately started crying and was fine after fifteen minutes, but for a hot second I thought I was going to end up The Girl Who Will Kill Your Children. Terrifying.


@Toby Jug Same thing happened to me! Except I was a dumbass and turned my back when the kid was on the changing table. He was fine in the end, but I don't know if I've forgiven myself all these years later. I think if I have babysitters someday I'll put all the changing supplies in a little station on the floor.


@Toby Jug The first day -- THE FIRST DAY -- my mom went back to work after she had me, she got a call from the sitter, who was in tears because I had been on the table in my bouncy chair and fell off the table. Everyone involved was freaked out, and to calm the sitter down, my dad told the story of how exactly the same thing had happened to me while HE was watching me. So. Moral of the story, this can happen to anyone! And despite this happening to me at least twice, I have grown up into a relatively normal person. So there's that.


@katerrific My mum has told the story of how when we (I'm a triplet) were babies, she was changing one of us and heard a squawk from one of the two others on the floor. She bent down to see, one hand still on the baby on the changing table, and it managed to roll off and fall on the floor. All three of us (she claims not to remember which one it was) are fine.


@Verity @katerrific This is why my parents abandoned the changing table and just used the pad on the floor. I don't know if I actually hit the floor or if they caught me as I rolled off the table.


@Toby Jug I don't think in all my years (so, so many years) of babysitting I ever used the changing table. I always brought everything down on to the floor. I am not a fate-tempter.


Do you guys joke amongst yourselves about which one had gotten dropped? I would!


@Inkcrafter We do! (Current theory is that it's my brother. <3 you, N.)


@Verity When I was less than a month old, my mother was carrying me out to check the mail and dropped me head first on a brick path. I'm the eldest. She freaked, obviously. Some people may say it explains a lot, but I'm fine.


I'm so glad she's OK.
I don't even want to tell you how many times ours have fallen on their heads (only from sofa height at worst but still). Let's just say it's a good thing they're so good-looking because they may not be able to rely on their brains to get by.

And you do feel terrible every time.


@iceberg: Mine took a faceplant off a bed at 8 months while napping at a friend's house. She still looks like a pug.

(JK, she's fine.)


@iceberg I was helping a friend with her baby and I went to put her on the floor and took my hand away too fast and her head went THUNK. I don't know when I've ever felt so ill. (She's fine)


Big hugs, and so glad she's fine. I think everyone has that story about how their mom dropped them/their sibling on their head when they were a baby. Right?


@Maria Yup. My next door neighbor dropped me on my head when I was a baby...right in front of my mom. And I am my mother's first-born, so I doubt she had the blase, she'll-be-fine attitude she probably would have had if this had happened to my littlest sister (her fourth child). I would not have wanted to be my next-door neighbor >_<.

PS - I think I turned out fine!


@wee_ramekin Ooh, speaking of babies and neighbors and snakes (!!!) my mom is fond of telling me how they would take me over to the next door neighbor's when I was just a wee thing myself and hang out on the floor...until the neighbor mentioned her pet boa constrictor. HELLO.

Daisy Razor

@Maria I locked myself out of the house with my toddler inside and felt like the worst mother in the world...until I tweeted it and all of my friends replied that either they'd done the same with their kids or their parents had done it to them. It's sort of soothing to know that everyone's the same level of incompetent!


I actually launched myself over the wall of a playpen on a boat and got a goose egg myself. Supposedly I was all smiles and giggles at the hospital. These days I like to say, "Ya know, I'd definitely have been a math genius if only I hadn't fallen on my head as a baby!" (Math was my worst subject in high school...)

Nicole, your baby is absolutely darling. Someday you can tell her the story because she'll know how much you love her/that everyone makes mistakes. She might even use the story in her own jokes :)


@beeline96 "...a playpen on a boat..." Why is this boggling me?

Honestly, it's a wonder that any of us are alive, what with all the head dropping.


@Maria It was technically the v-berth (the cabin part below deck) that my parents put a "door" of sorts (the "wall") across the berth opening so I could play safely on the cushions (bed). Until I decided climbing was my new favorite activity, that is.

baked bean

@Daisy Razor My mom did that with my cousin (her nephew, before she had any children). She tried to get him to unlock the door but he didn't understand and was having a blast inside by himself. Idk how she actually got to him, as it was before cell phones... I think she asked the neighbors to borrow their phone and called his mom.


I thought for a horrified moment that @PistolPackinMama's joke from that thread yesterday about you getting arrested was TRUE and then I had to take a few deep breaths.

Babies are wriggly acrobats, but they also bounce real good. That's why everyone has a story like this, and you're absolutely right about it being dumb luck. (I will refrain from sharing my family's stories but I'm pretty sure everyone reading this has their own.) Glad to hear she's okay.


@anachronistique speaking of feeling guilty. Oy.


@PistolPackinMama oh god that was a joke? PPM!!!!!!

(i clearly missed the last half of that comment thread)



But seriously, everyone, we're okay! Nicole's adorable baby is okay! Everyone is okay! Hugs!


@PistolPackinMama I thought your joke was funny!

Nicole Cliffe

It totally was. <3 u, PPM!


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I feel like I am having an Orson Welles War of the Worlds moment. I mean. @melis. IT WAS IN CONVO WITH @melis!!!! What else could it be but sarky?


@PistolPackinMama the best part is you even fooled melis

looking back at that thread, I'm totally like DURR. OBVIOUSLY A JOKE.


@PistolPackinMama I totally read it as a joke at first, and then things got weird and I was all OMG WHAT IF IT'S NOT A JOKE BUT IT'S TOTALLY A JOKE RIGHT OMG and then shit got weird.

We're all okay now.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher i mean, i actually thought this article was going to be about the incident described by PPM

soooooo yeah I think I need a break from the internet. i'm not cut out for it this week dudes


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher What we need to do is adopt the irony mark.



@all I <3 u all. I do.


it was horrible let us never speak of that again


@redheaded&crazie OH GOD IT'S ONLY TUESDAY






@PistolPackinMama WE GET TO MEET YOU? Mini-Pinney it is! If people want to come to Brooklyn, it could be a barbecue on my deck. Just sayin'

Faintly Macabre

@PistolPackinMama I got your and Melis' jokes! As you both flipped out, I wanted to comment, "Don't worry! Some people understood! You are not horrible!"

But seriously, you both need to be more careful. Don't you see that you could have gotten Nicole arrested?

Nicole Cliffe

Hang on, I hear sirens. Somebody better call Saul!


@Ophelia I would like that a whole lot, if people are inclined to Mini-Pinney that week/end some time. Haven't bought a ticket yet, so could add wiggle (typoed wiffle, hee) room either way, too, if that works for people.

I wish I could say I would you know, plan and stuff, but I have been to NYC all of once in my life for any length of time, and spent most of that in the Barnard student/meeting center. So unless people want to go to the Starbucks that is right there, I am afraid I am kind of useless for suggestions.


Fuck this was good.


As an official Doctor of Medicality, my opinion is that Imma need to taste those feetz. For baby health reasons.


@JessicaLovejoy Doctor Lovejoy, M.D., D. Babyfeetz

sarah girl

@JessicaLovejoy Amen, I actually whispered "those little FEET!" out loud when I saw the picture.


@JessicaLovejoy Do it before they start wearing shoes because sweaty baby feet... blechhh.


@JessicaLovejoy Babytoez smell like pure love, don't they?


@Sarah H. I was too busy looking at the cheeks. THE LITTLE BABY CHEEKS.


@JessicaLovejoy Baby feets are the BEST. A friend once complained when I handed back her baby because said baby's feet were damp.

Oh, god, now I type that I sound like a monster. But... their toes! So DELICIOUS!


i'm glad baby is ok! kids gets hurt and parents do stupid shit. ALL OF THEM! (i have never had any head injuries but we've had a bad broken arm, a penny stuck in the throat and two dislocated elbows! and once when i was babysitting years and years ago i dropped a baby 0o)


Oh Nicole, so sorry to hear this. Yes, it does literally happen to every one! My mom fell down stairs while carrying my infant sister and broke her leg and was totally besides herself that my sister could have been hurt. You are a good mother, be kind to yourself.

Antonius Block

@parallel-lines When I was 8 I fell down the stairs carrying my baby brother, broke his leg, same deal. And then at the doctor's office everyone wanted to make jokes about it even though I was the worst sister in the world and it was CLEARLY THE MOST TERRIBLE THING EVER?? And to echo everyone else in this thread (such a good thread!), I'm so glad your baby is okay, and seriously everyone can empathize. <3


Oh, Nicole, I am crying in Panera for you, because that's so scary and stressful and luck is never someone you want to have to rely on, you just want to welcome her when she comes along.

Also, you're a terrific writer.

And from The Most Accident Prone Kid in Christendom and Probably Also the Secular World... it's fine. Happens all the time. Parents will blame themselves for things over which they have no control, some control, all the control, and blaming just isn't good in any situation.

I have the... fifty gadzillion scars and the non-functional pancreas to show it. We have a family story about how the USAF doctors did a whole separate the kids, isolate mom, call in dad from work, and grill them about what happened after SOMEONE WHO SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS (me, age 2.5) was in the emergency room THREE TIMES in four days for hare-brained accidents.

I'm glad everyone is OK, including you.

PS: Your baby is ADORABLE.

Maja D.@twitter

@PistolPackinMama, will you be my non-functional pancreas friend? (T1 for 20 years!)


@PistolPackinMama Oh, I totally had that too the time I broke my nose with the hammer. And the time I faceplanted into the corner of the coffee table. And the time I figured out how to faceplant my cousin into the corner of the coffee table.

My poor parents.

H.E. Ladypants

@PistolPackinMama From the Second Most Accident Prone Kid in Christendom and Probably Also the Secular World, I can deeply sympathize. And I have some awesome scars to prove it.

My mom always said her only goal was to make sure I made it to 18 in one piece. Then I was on my own.

H.E. Ladypants

@H.E. Ladypants Luckily my mother had a very laid back doctor. Once as a toddler I managed to fall down an entire flight of stairs. My mom hauled me to the doctor's office in a full-blown panic and confessed in tears what happened.

He looked me over (I was fine) and said, "Don't worry. These things are made of rubber. They bounce."


@Maja D.@twitter Woot Woot! Of course! 30 years this year for me! Yay!

Also... making mistakes we survive is a good way to learn to not make mistakes, and survive.

Witness, the first time I ever passed out with low blood sugar. Mother of newly diabetic me says, when I say "I feel low" "go lay down by your dad, dinner is in 5 minutes." Cue: waking up in emergency room covered in glucose gel and Sprite.

Lesson: never, ever wait five minutes. Glad I knew that when I was out and about on my own as an 8yo, 16yo, 24yo, and 30yo, you know? Not something anyone wants to learn when they haven't got supportive people who are on Team Them As A Little Kid nearby.

Maja D.@twitter

@PistolPackinMama Oh rock ON, lady!

Maja D.@twitter

So, I don't have a lot of folks around me who are having babies, so I really appreciate articles like this that clue me in to the emotional realities of being a mom. Thank you.

For the record, I remember sitting in the bath as a kid while my mom filled a plastic pitcher with water and poured it over my head (our bathtime ritual). She filled the pitcher with water that was too hot, and it didn't burn or anything, but I remember her face changing from normal to ABJECT HORROR as I started to react to the heat and cry. I used to tell that story all the time — how funny it was! — and stopped when I realized that she never laughed along.


Nicole, you're brave for putting this out there (and for saying Ayn Rand would be an ok [maybe] good book).

Isn't it terrifying to love something that much? One of the reasons I don't know about having kids myself is that I just don't think that I have the emotional fortitude for it.

Prostitute Robot From The Future

@omgkitties Omgosh yes. How does one cope with all the possible things that could happen to your kid?


"She had a waking at 3:00 AM and I went to comfort her and she fell asleep on my lap in the chair and then I fell asleep and we both woke up when she hit the floor."

"Congratulations, you are officially a parent!"

So happy your baby is fine (and that you are, too)!

The best 2 things I've done so far for safety: 1) teach my baby to climb down from beds and chairs on her stomach; 2) take advantage of her having burned her mouth on hot food by teaching her the word "Hot," which we also apply to electrical items.

Now whenever she climbs down from something (and she can get into her high chair all by herself) she says "Slow, careful," and does it just that way; and whenever something is hot she holds her hands out as if to warm them at a fire and says "Hot."


@atipofthehat that's awesome. THE MORE YOU KNOW!

my favorite children's "hot!" story was when a 2 year old daughter of a friend was running around like she was trying to escape something, saying "hot! hot! hot! hot!" when we finally got her to slow down, it turned out that she'd gotten a case of the hot shits, and was running to try to escape them, but they were trapped in her diaper! poor girl :-(




@hijabeng the hot shits - so adorable right?!


@teenie I feel sort of awful for the fit of giggles into which your comment sent me.


@atipofthehat Yes! the Hot thing! My mom apparently did the same thing, and I was so wary of anything 'hot' as a baby that she didn't actually need to baby-proof much of the house, she just would tell me things were hot, and I'd give them at least 2' of leeway when going anywhere near them :)



Ha! That's exactly how it's working for us. And she loves fireplaces, but is extremely respectful of them.


@Ophelia So...corners, stairs, railings, etc. were all "hot"? BRILLIANT.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher And particularly electrical outlets. Hot, yo.


@atipofthehat The first time I went to the house of a family I baby sit for, the littlest dude made a point of toddling me around the house and yard so he could show me the stove, grill and firepit and exclaim (with jazz hands) "OT. OT. OT." I was tickled that he was concerned for my safety!


@VolcanoMouse That is freaking adorable.


@teenie Oh my gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaash I cannot believe how hard I am laughing at that. It feels so wrong.


@atipofthehat My icy, icy heart has melted just a tiny bit.

Apparently my first words were a full sentence... and they were "go bee." So I guess accident prone PPM here at least was being trained well?


@PistolPackinMama My sister's first word, and I am not shitting you, was 'teebee' (TV).

Tiffany Hall@facebook

That's why when something says "Don't do this, it's dangerous for your child." I don't do it. My husband always says I'm being overcautious, but I don't care. At all.

Watching one interview with a family that had put their small child on top of a set of bunk beds despite knowing it was dangerous and the child dying was enough for me. That child rolled off the bed in it's sleep and was hanged by the blankets. The mother smiling while telling the story really creeped me out, too.

So, glad your little one is ok, but be more careful. Not that I need to tell you now. And, as a mother, I can tell you kids get hurt all the time and it's always scary as hell.


@Tiffany Hall@facebook Thing is (and this comes from a non-parent, so I do not claim to know things), you can't possibly protect your little ones from everything. You do what you can and you hope for some luck.

Lustful Cockmonster

@Tiffany Hall@facebook Well if only everyone could be as careful as you every single minute, I suppose there would be no accidents, ever. Thanks for the reminder.


@Tiffany Hall@facebook awww, I was wondering when the concern trolling would start.


@Tiffany Hall@facebook Wow. The whole point of this essay is that in many ways, you cannot possibly be careful enough. I can hardly wrap my mind around the insensitivity of your comment.


@Tiffany Hall@facebook CONSTANT VIGILANCE.

sarah girl

@Tiffany Hall@facebook I'm sorry, but what in this article made you think that what Nicole needs now is a guilt trip?


@TheUnchosenOne Mad Eye dies you know.


@redheaded&crazie Spoilers!

Also yes that is kind of what I was getting at? That the dude who is all "CONSTANT VIGILANCE" actually spends the whole book locked in a trunk because oops you can't be constantly vigilant and shit happens even if you're careful and so maybe a guilt trip isn't the most useful thing here


@TheUnchosenOne I got that you were getting at that!

but what I really wanted to do was be in this thread to get many entertaining emails in my inbox


@redheaded&crazie Oh good! As I was hitting "Reply" I was like "Oh noooooooo of course they got that now I seem like that guy who always seems like he thinks people are too stupid to get what he means and nobody ever wants to be that guy!"


@TheUnchosenOne it's cool, sometimes you make what you think is an extremely obvious joke on the internet and then it goes over everybody's heads and causes mass hysteria

it's ... it's been known to happen

Tuna Surprise

@Tiffany Hall@facebook
Never can be too safe! Keep that baby in a bubble until age 30!


@Tiffany Hall@facebook

"So, glad your little one is ok, but be more careful. Not that I need to tell you now."

I...think (hope?) you were trying to be empathetic and share your experiences when you commented, but the phrase that I quoted above comes off as really sanctimonious and mean. Did you read the article? I find it surprising and callous that you think Nicole needs your admonition to "be more careful".

We are all human, and we all make mistakes. There's no need to be self-righteous about it.


@wee_ramekin have i told you lately that I <3 you? You are so sweet & gentle and you always seem to say the perfect thing!


@Tiffany Hall@facebook The worst.


@wee_ramekin You are the best! And so is Nicole. And so is Nicole's baby.


@Tuna Surprise I also wonder...how on earth would you follow ALL the advice? For example, I recently bought rubber bouncy balls for my dog. They have a big sticker on them that says "THIS IS NOT A CHILDREN'S TOY. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN" ...they're not small enough to swallow, and they're apparently not too toxic for adults to use to play fetch, so...? I definitely let my 5 y.o. niece use it to play with the dog, and she did not spontaneously combust. There's a nice, bold line between generally assessing a situation as safe and always following the rules of someone who is paid to write rules. That said, I spent a lot of time getting band-aided, de-splintered, and ice-packed as a child, so.


@redheaded&crazie IT HAPPENED YESTERDAY


it happened to me


@melis Shhhh, we know darling, we know. It's all right now. Here, have another strawberry. And some fire.


@melis i'm crying from laughing so hard


@Tiffany Hall@facebook Hey there, welcome to Hairpin! I know this place can be a little difficult to navigate, so I just wanted to alert you that this is not the post about amusingly horrible things we have said, which is obviously where you meant to put this comment, right? Okay, hope that's helpful, enjoy your time here!


@Ophelia Babies are born full of grace. They cry and get mad and can lash out as they get older, but the forgiveness that they are capable of isn't inhuman. We have to make sure we don't take advantage of their little hazy minds, but it's good to remember that children don't just forget everything or something. Your baby loves you for a reason, accidents and luck aside. LOVE!


@wee_ramekin mmmrrrfffmll


that is the sound of a turtle quietly soothing itself with strawberries


@Ophelia Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.


@wee_ramekin I have no idea what you are talking about, yo.

(also, you are very sweet- how are you so nice, but also so not a pushover?)


@PistolPackinMama Therapy. :) (and, thanks!)


@SuperGogo Aaaand SuperGogo deserves oral sex for that comment. ;)

Tiffany Hall@facebook

@wee_ramekin Of all of the responses, yours was the only one I felt warranted a reply:
I certainly hadn't intended to be self-righteous. Yes, I was trying to be empathetic and obviously failed miserably. Thank you for letting me know in a respectful manner. I appreciate it.

@Nicole - I'm sorry if my comment was out of line. I am straightforward to a fault.
This sort of thing happens. Your baby will always surprise you by doing things you think she can't. I am happy that she's ok, and you will be ok, too.

Tina Lange@facebook

@Tiffany Hall@facebook Hah, obviously the one you felt like responding to is the one that pretended like you were acting in good faith. You weren't and you still aren't. Would you like a medal that will prove that you're a better parent and that nothing bad will never happen therefore. Here. It's made of invisible internet platinum and my unending contempt for you. It is as likely to keep you safe forever as your self-righteous indignation. God Speed.


It's like the doctor on Modern Family says: babies are built to survive first parents! I can only imagine the feeling of horror. Big hugs Nicole, I'm so glad she is okay and honestly nobody can talk about raw vulnerably scary shit like you can. (i mean that as a compliment ... i realize it's a weird one)

at my old family cottage we had a trapdoor down to the basement and my mom left it open one time while doing laundry. my brother fell down it and landed face first on the concrete foundation flooring. HOLY GOD. we were nowhere near a hospital. had to drive with him bleeding blood everywhere ... he was very lucky though, I think he even escaped without root canals (jealous ... no not really)


@redheaded&crazie also many times while playing with my puppy i have accidentally kicked her in the face because she runs a way that i wasn't expecting. the whimpering and hiding from me with her tail down afterward is heartbreaking

(between this and yesterday's thread i totally sound like a pet abuser :\ i'm not!!!!!!!)


@redheaded&crazie p.s. yes modern family IS my sole other source for parenting advice


@redheaded&crazie Brothers are accident prone, dude! When I was about 6 and my baby bro was probably 4, he ran into a bookshelf corner. This was no one's fault but his own, as the dude was just RUNNING DOWN THE HALLWAY being all LOOK AT ME I'M A TODDLER I'M MOBILE WOOOOO and then bam. Lots of blood, everyone crying, EVERYONE IS FINE NOW. He has a cool Harry Potter-ish scar.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher brothers are so accident prone. believe me this is just one of a looooooong list but the only one where my mom had that massive guilt/horror/guillllllt/HORRRRORRRRRR feeling

also i ran into the corner of a table as a child and have a (not cool) (not Harry Potter-ish) scar on my forehead cuz of it. accidents: not just for brothers anymore.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher They so are! Mine once fell off his skateboard after sitting on it to ride it down a hill. A neighbor brought him home with blood all over his face, I opened up the door and just started screaming.


@redheaded&crazie My only source is Absolutely Fabulous, so you're doing okay in my book.


@Maria The older neighbor girl brought me back to my house when I was 8, and I fell off my bike face-first. My mother screaming hysterically when she saw all the blood made me cry more than the injury!


@Anji also one time i hit my mom in the head with a snow shovel

*reverse guilt*


@redheaded&crazie I have to say I love your word choice of "bleeding blood" as opposed to something like fruit juice. It really paints a great picture.

(I just read through this and it might sound sarcastic, but I'm sincere. The word choice made me laugh.)


@redheaded&crazie I think I know maybe six people, as well as myself who have this exact same scar for this exact same reason. Still, tables seem so non-threatening...


@redheaded&crazie I bet it wasn't funny at the time, but I actually just laughed at that, because in my head it looked a lot like a cartoon.

My family has a history of doing dumb shit while sitting down. (See my comment below.) When my brother was 3 or so, he leaned back too far in the tall chairs we have at the island in our kitchen, despite my mother's repeated warnings not to do it, and WHOMP, back he went. She screamed because something red dropped out of his mouth, which Mom thought was part of his tongue. It turned out to be a fruit roll-up, and as soon as she made sure he wasn't hurt, my brother got a pretty good butt-smack.


@redheaded&crazie My brother dove head-first off of a two level jungle-jim, right into a concrete bench when he was about 6? All I remember was my mom driving like a bat out of hell to the hospital yell at me (sitting with him in the back seat) to keep him awake at all costs. She'd a MD/PhD now, so either it didn't mess him up, or it knocked the smarts into him.

Seriously, if we were kids now, CPS would be camped out on our doorstep. Every ER doc and nurse at Walter Reed knew us, and my brother "Crash".


@TheCheesemanCometh Wow. Um. Make that a jungle-GYM, and he's got the degrees. I wish I knew why my browser won't let the edit feature work. :-(


My grandmother used to tape washclothes to the corners of tables to protect her grandchildren against just this danger.


@Maria My brother also ran into a coffee table and had to get stitches. Also one time when he was like 4 he fell sideways down some stairs and kindasorta ripped his nose partially off his face. We had been playing a game I made up, and I felt super guilty at the time, but he got like 30 stitches-of-honor and didn't have any lasting damage so now I just feel... a little guilty.


@redheaded&crazie having a dog has made me realize that I am going to be the world's most neurotic parent. I called the vet crying one time because I thought the dog had some horrible disease because he had the shits. I mean...dogs get the shits from eating grass, I really need to check myself.


@tibia My brother and sister and I were playing a made-up game that involved jumping off a Fisher Price slide that is literally a foot and a half tall into a pile of leaves. Somehow my sister (three years old at that point) jumped off, landed on her arm, and BROKE IT. My parents thought we'd pushed her despite our strenuous denials and freakouts, and sister had the tiniest and adorablest pink cast.


@all well folks that's quite a list.

congr ... atulations?


@redheaded&crazie HOW ARE WE ALL STILL ALIVE


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Oh man, my little brother was so accident prone too! His boy scout troop actually made him bring his set of crutches to every event and campout, because at one point or another he would always end up needing them.


@anachronistique Girl! That exact same thing happened to my younger sister! Was it one of those primary-colored Fisher Price slides, with the red slide part, the blue ladder and maybe some yellow accents somewhere? My sister also jumped off it and broke her arm, but, being a tomboy, she insisted on a green cast instead.


@wee_ramekin IT WAS. Those stupid slides! How did that even happen?


@redheaded&crazie Oh, man. Once I drop/threw a sparkler (I am scared of them, OK? Seriously, they freak me the shit out, still. I am the worst) and it landed on my grandma's foot. She was so nice about it but also clearly in pain and I still feel ill when I think about it.

sarah girl

Thank you, Nicole. I don't plan on having kiddos for a few more years, but I sincerely hope this site is still around so I can go back and read your parenting articles. Thank you for your honesty.


HUGE props for writing about this, and doing it so well. It's so scary. It's been 14 years and I still cannot write about the time my husband made a tiny, momentary error that nearly got our infant son killed. I was just too far away to stop it from happening. The baby wasn't even hurt, but he could have been and ... OH GOD, NO, I can't.


I'm so glad everything is fine with the Kiddo. When I was a baby, my mom was zipping up my coat and somehow snagged her nail on my cheek, taking a small chunk of skin out. My mom says she cried for days feeling that she ruined her "flawless" baby. I grew up with a tiny, completely unnoticeable unless you are looking for it, tear shaped scar and I absolutely love it.

H.E. Ladypants

@Rache My father planting a fish hook in my head when I was four. I sort of snuck up behind him, he drew the line back to cast and it got caught in something- namely my scalp. He thought it was grass and give a bit of a tug. I howled.

He never stopped going red and feeling awful about that story. I, on the other hand, from about the age of 10 onward, found it HILARIOUS.


I love that you have this attitude - that there is no difference between people who do something terrible to their baby, and people who ALMOST do something terrible to their baby, but luck.

I just wish more people could think this way about more things that people do that have Consequences.



"The toddler is following me, the toddler is following me, she always follows me when I—wait, she turned around and is running straight for those steep stone steps!"

So true.


@atipofthehat I was at an event this weekend with a ridiculously adorable little kid there; everything seemed to be going fine, everyone was taking pictures and smiling with him and his dad, and then he suddenly decided he wanted to play and bolted through the crowd. Right towards the insanely busy street, with cars going 40-50 mph. You could hear the collective gasp of horror. Thank God there were people nearby who reacted quickly enough and blocked him and herded him back towards his parents, but it all happened so damn fast.


Aw Nicole, I am so sorry this happened! I winced as I read it and I can't even imagine if it was my own tiny loved one.

When I was a wee one, my mom once snagged my arm with her engagement ring while she was putting me in the car. (I'd told the only other kid on the playground she wasn't allowed to play there, and my mom for some reason thought I was saying this because I'd picked up some racist child ideas, not because-- as later became clear-- I was just being a brat. So she was putting me in the car pretty fast/angrily.)

I don't remember this incident, and the scar is so light I didn't even know I had it until she told me the story when I was older. I don't even remember where it is and honestly I only pretend I can see it if she mentions it. My mom can still see it.


Oh honey. So sorry. So glad she's ok.

She's ok. Look at her, she's fine. She's fine.


@noReally And she's ADORABLE.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Seriously. I was SO GLAD to see a picture of something this adorable after the day I've had, even though the story made me sad for Nicole being so scared like that.

Attractive Nuisance

Nicole, totally have been there. I burned my 4yo son's arm badly making brownies with him (brownies! as a special mother-son domestic cozy time!), and using a makeshift double boiler that spilled boiling water in slow motion down the counter toward him. He just sat there, white and silent, in the back of the car as we drove him to the emergency room. He still has a scar. I think all parents have been there.


@Attractive Nuisance Yup. My mom (who, completely objectively, is The Best Mom Ever) was cooking dinner and chopping vegetables, and one of my little sisters wanted a slice of whatever she was chopping. Without thinking, my mom held out the chunk of vegetable on the end of the knife and my sister, reaching toward it with her mouth, slipped and CUT HER LIP on the knife. Oh dear Lord. I had never thought about how terrible my mom must have felt about that until I read this article.

My sister is fine, by the way. Doesn't even have a scar.

H.E. Ladypants

@Attractive Nuisance My grandmother burned my forearm with a cookiesheet!

To be honest, I'm really fond of the scar now. Like, I look down at this mark on my arm and all I think, "man, I miss that lady. I'm glad she let me bake with her."


@H.E. Ladypants I acted very quickly to prevent my niece from burning herself on a cookiesheet while making cookies for Santa this past Christmas, and I still have a significant scar on my own forearm. Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered? (No, not really. Would take a bullet for that kid.)

Reginal T. Squirge

Louis CK has a good bit about going into the car to turn it on so that it cools off/heats up for one child in the car but leaving the other child in the stroller... directly in front of the exhaust pipe.


Oh goodness, glad to hear you and the baby came out okay from the other side of this incident. You are right in driving home that pretty much everyone has a story like this.
I do not have kids, but I only have one sibling, 11 years my junior, and I have a story like this. I had to watch him alone for the first time when he was about 2 and I was about 13. I had to go to the bathroom and I frankly had no idea what to do with my toddler brother during that time period. I left him alone and for the 60 seconds I was away, he managed to eat and started choking on our fake living room plant. I had no idea how to give the baby heimlich, but knew it existed, and tried my best to fake it. He thankfully started throwing up the fake sod and silk leaves immediately and I just stood there watching him projectile vomit and sobbing. I told my parents what had happened when they got home and saw me cleaning the carpet, but I left out the he-almost-died-choking part. I don't remember if I've told them to this day. This and when he climbed out a window to hide from me in our new house two years later are like the most stressed I've ever been.


I am glad she (and you) are okay! When I was 11 months old, I was sitting in my high chair and my mom was cooking dinner and I reached out with my little grabby baby hands and yanked on the cord of the rice cooker and the whole thing spilled boiling water all over my right side. I shrieked, we did the whole emergency room thing, etc. etc. I still have a scar on my armpit, but that is the only thing I have as evidence, I don't remember it at all, of course. My mom (in my opinion the most wonderful mom there is), however, is traumatized to this day (I am almost 22!) and lets out this enormous shudder every time it is mentioned.

In summary: You are still a super mom! Your baby will not remember this or be permanently damaged at all! Her little feet will continue being adorable and munchable! You are great!


@MademoiselleML And you have a wonderful hubby and great medical care within reach, and you're super concerned and loving. I'm sorry that you had to go through such a scare. No one prepares us for how terrifying it is yo have your heart live outside of your body in a frail and tiny person.


BIG hugs to you, Nicole. This is wonderful. I think one of the best antidotes to mommy guilt that seems to plague so many mothers these days is to talk honestly about the accidents that happen, to acknowledge our own humanity and the honest mistakes that happen in the trenches of parenting. No one, absolutely NO ONE, is doing it perfectly. And accidents happen. And, as you said, the only difference between accident and tragedy is luck.

When my son was 3, I got locked out of the running car due to a freakish short in my car's electrical system. It was pouring rain, I had just picked him up from daycare and was dropping off my application for state assistance. I left the car running and ran up to the front door to put it on the drop box, and came back. I was so panicked when I realized that my car was running and my son was inside, hungry and crabby. My cell phone was locked inside the car too. So I flagged down a passing car and used their phone to call a cab company to break into my car. 45 minutes later, they showed up. I was soggy and distraught, as my son looked at me through the window, trying to understand why I wasn't getting in the car. After the cab driver unlocked my car, I realized that I didn't have enough money to pay him. This triggered further tears, because not only was I a shitty mom (or so the little demon in my ear whispered) for leaving my son in a locked running car for almost an hour, I also couldn't even cough up enough cash to pay for a locksmith.

Shockingly enough, my child is not traumatized from the experience (although he still talks about the time I hit a moose on a foggy night). Accidents happen. I think the hardest part is forgiving oneself for the consequences.


@heyits To be fair, a moose is WAY cooler than that time Mom refused to get in the car for no apparent reason for a while, at least in wee minds.



That's actually a great story. The real point is, you were THERE, you did not give up, you dealt with it, you did what needed to be done. There's nothing to feel guilty about!

Today I've been emailing back and forth with my wife about a NYT article, and asking Why is everyone so hard on mothers?

If a perfect mother exists anywhere in the world, whatever "perfect" may mean, you can bet she is being cruelly criticized from one quarter or another, internal or external.

Meanwhile, let a father lift a finger and the skies break open, flower petals float down, and someone shoves a World's Best Dad mug in his hand—just for showing up! SO UNFAIR.


@atipofthehat You mean, you didn't like your parade? Fine. Next year, there won't be any floats!

(but yes, WTF??)


Whoa my gosh! I'm glad the munchkin is okay. That must have been scary. But if it makes you feel any better, when I was your daughter's age, my dad almost accidentally bashed my head in doing something way dumber. You know that game where people love to lift babies high up to make them laugh? Dad liked to do that in a reclining chair on a rocker base. My mom kept telling him to quit it, and he didn't, and we tipped over faster than anyone could stop it. Obvs I am fine, and my dad no longer feels guilty.

Probably because I learned how to fix him some pretty good martinis by the time I was a teenager. See? Your adorable lovebug will be able to do the same for you in about 13 years!


This was great, you seem like an awesome parent, and your baby is so damn cute. Those cheeks demand to be eaten.


If it makes you (or anyone) feel any better, my boyfriend fell out of his mom's moving car not once, but twice as a small child. The second time she didn't notice right away and had to go back for him. When pressed as to how this could happen, she said "Car doors didn't work as well in the 70s." I suspect it had more to do with her being 18 years old at the time, but long story short, he's fine.


@beatrixkiddo1 My grandfather has a story about my mom falling out of a moving vehicle (in the 1950s, I guess it'd be?) & they're similiarly blase, like, "That's how cars were, then. Good thing she had her bonnet on!" (as if "bonnet" means "helmet" ha)


@fabel My mom's cousin was standing on the front seat and teething on the dashboard of their car (wtf?!?!) as a kid in the 50s when his mom had to slam on the brakes, and his few little baby teeth that had come in got all messed up. My brother an I were dumbfounded, but according to them, it's just the way it was.


@beatrixkiddo1 my mom fell out of her parent's car as a kid while they were driving to florida in the early 60's and i always asked "but HOW?!" and it was like "eh, people sometimes fell out of cars". fast forward to me, now, age 27, still afraid to fall asleep leaning against the car door haha


I think that "back then" people had much more lax attitudes about kids in cars. My mom talks about riding like 7 kids to the back of a car in the 50s. You'd get arrested for that now. Maybe this had something to do with the doors spontaneously opening? I mean, why was the technology in place to make a CAR but not a lock that would hold a car door shut?

Betsy Murgatroyd

@beatrixkiddo1 I sorta fell out of a pickup when I was a child. The neighbor was giving my mother and I a ride home and the truck door just disengaged. Suddenly I was being half dragged and half running and hanging onto the door of the truck for dear life. Fortunately, he wasn't going very fast as our subdivision had steep and winding roads. They were both pretty freaked out about it. We attributed it to me not shutting the heavy truck door hard enough but it wasn't making that not shut sound, so. Who knows?


@beatrixkiddo1 My brother and I both fell out of the same car on different occasions in the early 80s. It was an older model Dodge Dart with both iffy doors and iffy seat belts! So yeah, it was totally possible to fall out of a car. I pretty sure that my parents got rid of it as soon as they could afford something a bit safer!

ms. alex

So glad she's okay. Needing to call and calling 911 is the worst (I had to do it in 5th grade. Am scarred for life).

Also, baby feeeeeeeet!


Nicole, I am SO sorry that happened to you, but so glad the little one is okay! And it's so true that something terrible can happen to ANY parent; babies and toddlers can find trouble in seconds. My parents were gardening in the back yard when I was a toddler and I was asleep on the deck, and they briefly looked away and all of a sudden I was stumbling down the deck stairs and planted face first onto a landscaping timber. It happened in under three seconds, seriously.

A brief trip to the hospital later and I was all stitched up with no brain damage! And my scar is perfectly placed on my hairline so that it gives my bangs a very swoopy flair.


So glad your baby is okay! I worry all the time about my cat having hurt herself while I'm away or sleeping, I can't even imagine what it would be like for a baby who is not super lithe and agile.

Here is my story of getting hurt because a parent was not constantly vigilant: I fell down the stairs when I was a year or so old. Still have the scar next to my eye. It doesn't get brought up very often, and honestly I'm not even sure of the exact circumstances other than "I fell down the stairs and wanged my head against a table."


Ahh! This happened to me - more than once! Not always my kid! Ex 1: I'm watching my boss's kid at a work gathering. The kid is strapped in the carseat in a large SUV-type vehicle BUT the seat is not connected to the car's seat. I turn away and the kid rocks his weight enough to throw the seat out of the car onto the asphalt three feet below. I cried ugly tears for about an hour. Kid is FINE but sports a large bump on his head in all his christening photos. He's receiving an academic award at his high school tomorrow so his brain is all good. Ex 2: my oldest daughter rolled off the bed the first day in our new house - I cried in the front yard as I waited for the ambulance to show up. Met all our neighbors right away! She's fine and doing great in first grade. It always seems to happen around 4 to 6 months - when you finally realize they aren't going to die just because you look away. Then, you look away and they get hurt. Damn kids.

Lustful Cockmonster

I was just learning to walk and my mom was on the phone watching me and I toddled over to where the a door was off the hinges, and promptly fell on the hinge. Bloody gash right above my eyeball, very traumatized Mama hanging up on her sister with a "oh shit M's bleeding." Couple of stitches later all was well, except for my aunt, who thought I was possibly dead.

Happens ALL. THE. TIME.


An abbrevated list of times I almost died as a little kid: climbing up and then falling ten feet out of a tree to land on my back; almost hanging myself between the wooden slats of our stairs; running headfirst into the coffee table every day for a year and smashing my forehead; eating a poisonous mushroom when my mom wasn't looking and having to go to the hospital to have my stomach pumped; sticking my tiny baby finger in an electrical socket; choking on ice cubes (I loved sucking on ice cubes!).

Those are just the ones I remember. My mom had to put me on a baby leash to keep me from running into traffic because I was an early runner and also totally suicidal as a baby apparently. She is a good mom and so are you! Kids are just a pain.


Oh god oh god oh god oh god, this seems as appropriate of a place as any to tell a *ridiculously* scary and completely made-up-in-my-mind incident that happened late last summer. I had read a terrible thriller (terrible! Why would someone write this book?!) about a man who kept twin teens locked up in a forest man-made pit situation after blinding them and puncturing their eardrums to keep them blind and deaf. One escaped and ran ran ran until she ran across a road where a well-meaning old couple (minding their own business! Driving!) hit and killed her.

Cut to me driving home very late one night, striking someone on a dark, twisty road and immediately thinking it was a toddler/blind and deaf young adult. Why would a toddler be out at 3 a.m.? Would someone actually be blind and deaf and crawling across a road? No matter, I was convinced.

Of course, I got up at 6 a.m. the next morning to drive back and saw that it was an opossum. Poor opossum, but happy day no toddler or forest pit inmate.

Anyway, your baby is beautiful and I obviously need to stop reading books I find in airport bathrooms.



Not long ago, on a chilly day after a rain, a runner in Wisconsin decided on whim to take a trail he rarely used and came upon a toddler, lost and wandering, a long way from home, crying for his mommy.


@atipofthehat Poor thing! Very glad someone found him. (I am assuming the runner returned the little one to the proper authorities/his mommy?)


@Katastrophe And I shall add "get kidnpped/have eardrums punctured" to my list of irrational fears.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher

Yes! Turned out there was a search party at the other end of the park, but a lot can happen to a lonely toddler in the rainy woods.


@Kitty It will, unfortunately, never leave mine.

Reginal T. Squirge

Related: Did anyone see that The Other Woman shit with Natalie Portman? Remember how much of a cunt Lisa Kudrow was in that one? Crazy, right? But then she was decent enough to use her doctorly connections and inform Nats that, even though she hated her guts, she couldn't possibly have smothered her own baby.


Nicole, you've done a good thing with publicizing this. Here, sit down and have some tea, and I'll tell you a story of the time Baby Myrtle was seven years old and fell into deep water, and whose auntie saved her just as she was drowning. Baby Myrtle's mommy was unhappy that BM had been saved, as BM had been a "shotgun baby" and BM's mommy felt BM had "ruined (mommy's) life." At least mommy was better able to articulate that "ruined my life" sentiment more clearly as Myrtle hit her teens... Well, I"m off to the therapist. But, see? there are worse parents in the world.
PS Under-30 with six kids is also freaking me out.

dj pomegranate

@Myrtle This is terrible and makes me so sad. I am glad that you were saved, baby Myrtle!


@dj pomegranate Thanks for the luv, dear dj!


Oh Nicole my heart was in my mouth the whole time I was reading this. So happy and relieved for your baby and you and your husband!

And seconding everyone who thanked you for writing about this in such an honest and fair way. An addition, though - even though what's often seen as"bad parenting" is a simple mistake, good parenting rarely is accidental. You seem like a brilliant mom.


This made me cry so hard! I'm so glad your daughter is okay, and I really appreciate your bravery in talking about it, because you're totally spot on about it.


My very first memory is of falling off our kitchen counter! I still remember the weird pattern on the carpet (I know, kitchen carpet?!)coming at me. Also, my mom once dislocated my wrist to keep me from banging my head on the floor of a Hardee's in the midst of a wild tantrum, and I don't even remember that!
BUT, I'm getting my master's degree this weekend, and my very supportive and loving parents are coming to watch me walk. So it all worked out for the best.

let's pretend we're bunny rabbits

Ohhhh man, I have so many scars from being little and klutzy (still klutzy). I have a photo of me as a 2yo with both my hands wrapped in gauze because I tripped and fell onto my grandparents' woodstove. There's a scar covering the entire back of my hand, but I have no memory of the event, and it made a good conversation starter before it started to fade.

At least things are mostly rounded and plastic now, instead of metal and pointy, like they were back in the 80s?


Nicooooole! So many hugs for you. All the hugs!

When I was a baby, I had to be taken to the ER for a fall down a flight of stairs (while I was strapped in a rolly-chair) because my father didn't put up the baby gate and decided reading was more important even though my mother told him to put it up. This almost EXACT same thing happened to my brother (by a different mother), so I can only assume neglect and juiceboxery on my father's part. My mom said that was one of the scariest moments of her life and that she felt like the worst mother ever. Apparently my father wasn't as concerned.

Because of your concern and your clearly endless amounts of love for your child, you're a great mother, Nicole! I'm glad to hear that the baby is alright!!!


Let's flip the script.

I have my father's very large, very hard Irish head (couldn't wear bonnets as an infant because none of them fit; learned how to knit partially to make my own winter hats). When I was very wee, my mother was playing airplane with me on the living room floor, laying on her back, holding me up in the air. She lowered me to kiss me, and, at the same time, I jerked my head back, laughing, and brought my giant Irish forehead down squarely into her far less sturdy right eyebrow.

I broke her brow bone and didn't even flinch. I kept right on laughing, apparently not understanding why my mother was writhing around on the floor, in agony. I'm 32 and you can still see the crease in her brow when she's tired.

The moral? Babies act all sweet, innocent, and delicate, but they know what's what. It's dog-eat-dog out there and they're coming for us.

(kidding glad your little one is okay Nicole I must echo others and say omg feeeeet)


@MmeLibrarian I broke my dad's nose once - sitting on his lap, turned around to say something to him and whanged him in the nose with my APPARENTLY very sturdy 4 year old fist.

Your comment made me laugh sooooo hard. "giant Irish forehead"


@MmeLibrarian When my sister was 1 and a half, she was snuggling up to my mom, who was holding her, and talking to someone else. When my mom put her down, she saw that sis had given her a giant hickey right on her neck. Babies. They're pretty scary.


@MmeLibrarian lol this sounds familiar. my son broke my nose when he was about three. i was laying on the bed, and he was jumping around and BAM! raccoon eyes. i'm not sure if my nose broke or just shifted, it made the loudest POP!


@MmeLibrarian I'm pretty sure my mom once got the "are you being abused" talk at the doctor's because my flailing baby sister gave her a black eye. There was also the time when my brother's iquanas sliced up her wrist with their claws the day before we went to a barbecue with a ton of therapists, but that wasn't his fault except for having crap taste in pets.


@MmeLibrarian I pierced my Dad's earlobe with a fish hook! Went to cast my rod into the lake and BLAMMO! Caught him right in the ear! I also once hit him in the head with a baseball bat. Hey, it was his fault, he was standing too close behind me when it was my turn at bat! :D

sarah girl

@MmeLibrarian I went to hug my dad, and accidentally caught my thumbnail on his cheek and totally ripped some skin off :(

How old was I when this happened? 26. Sorry daaaaad


@MmeLibrarian I've stopped counting how many times my mom's told me about the time I shoved a dowel up her nose. (Apparently I had a balloon on a stick instead of a string...?)

rianne marie

@Ophelia My sister's kid (named Ophelia, by the way) had a habit that she only recently broke of sucking on mom's arms to fall asleep. She never had a soother, didn't suck her thumb, just mom's arm. And only' mom's would do. She sucked on me once long enough to fall asleep and I felt so proud that she accepted me, which is totally unrelated to the story.
Kid sucked hard enough that for a good year my sister's forearms were constantly covered in bruises. She got into the habit of casually mentioning the kiddo's obnoxious habit as a way of fending off the 'um, are you ok?' that would ineveitably come up otherwise.


@MmeLibrarian I shut my dad's head in the trunk of a hatchback. Big sturdy hatchback.


@Canard !!! I bonked my Dad in the head pulling down the back door of his own SUV! I didn't know he'd ducked in to grab something! He was mad :( but it wasn't my fault!


I...don't get the alt text. :o/


@wee_ramekin Hmmm. It says 'screenshot' now. Before, it said '-2', and I was like "What? Is that her THAC0 score?".


@wee_ramekin It's been awhile, but -2 THAC0 seems pretty good for a baby!


@Borrelia Burgdorferi The combination of your userpic and name gives me the ultimate shivers. I'm from Connecticut, yo.


@wee_ramekin I'm not trying to give anyone the shivers, I swear! There was a 'pin article about Borrelia Burgdorferi and someone said it sounded like an Italian heiress so I thought it would make a good commenter name... not that I'm Italian or an heiress. Maybe I should change my pic to a tiara or something in order to seem less threatening to fellow North-easterners.


Oh Nicole, please don't beat yourself up for this any more (easier said than done, I know.)

My squirt, at about 6 months, flipped her infant carrier off the recliner where I had put her (I know, I know) while grabbing her diaper bag. It scared the ever-loving bejeezus out of me, but fortunately the straps held, and the handle kept her from hitting the floor. As soon as she started walking, though, she spent the next 5 years ricocheting off of walls and corners, until we discovered that she was mostly blind in one eye, and had zero depth perception. I felt terrible for joking about her awful clumsiness all those years.


@TheCheesemanCometh i always thought i had the most attached baby ever, he'd scream if i was more than 5 feet away from him. i could never leave him, ever. we found out when he was about 5 (thank you school screenings!) that he has HORRIBLE vision. like, his first glasses were +8 in both eyes!

Jen W@twitter

Thank you for sharing your story. I am so glad your baby is ok!
Once upon a time I was a nurse. I helped look after a little boy who had been run over by a riding lawnmower he fell off of while he was sitting on his dad's lap "helping" him mow the lawn. He lost his foot. All of us in the ER blinked back tears as he said to his Dad (who was laying across the stretcher, crying hysterically) "It's ok, Dad, I forgive you. I know it was an accident."
I have three kids myself and they have all had their share of lumps and bumps. It happens. (my oldest got weaned off of his bottles when he fell off of a chair and split his lip and couldn't suck on them anymore)
Big hugs. You are an amazing mom and don't let anyone tell you different.


When I was 3 my dad was swinging me round and round by my hands. I was laughing and thrilled until my shoulder dislocated. I spent 6 weeks with my arm in a sling. My mom was so livid, she was ready to divorce my dad. But then a few years later my mom was tickling me and my hand got stuck underneath her and my thumb broke. So she doesn't use the "and then I almost divorced him!" line anymore.


@AmandaBunny That happened to me, too! My dad was tossing me in the air and my shoulder dislocated. My mom said he almost punched the doctor at the hospital because they have to ask you those questions about abuse and stuff. Of course I don't remember. A few years later I rolled off the couch and broke my collarbone, too.

Heat Signature

I placed my newborn baby on top of a bunch of pillows in our bed, thinking that elevating him would keep us from rolling onto him. I woke up and found him FACE DOWN beside me, buried into the pillows. I was CONVINCED he was dead of SIDS (he was fine). Also lots of rolling off the bed onto the floor. Since then, all on his own, he's managed to dislocate his elbow (age two), break his arm (last summer, at daycare), and gather a lovely collection of bruises. POINT BEING we are human, all of us, and that does not make us bad parents, so please try to forgive yourself soon, Nicole (also, my daycare provider constantly puts babies in Bumbo seats on top of the kitchen table, and she's amazing, so Judgey McJudgerson from Facebook can suck it).


@Heat Signature SECONDARY POINT BEING: Kids are tough! And ditto to everything.


My sister (about age 5 or so), was in the backyard and saw my dad on the patio, so she ran right up and jumped at him for a hug, not knowing he was smoking a cigarette at the time - got a cigarette burn between the end of her eyebrow and her temple. To this day, my dad cannot tell this story without saying, "It could have been her eye. Jesus, it could have been her eye." (For the record, she is 42 and perfectly fine, doesn't even have a scar).

My mother walked out of the room and told me (age 4ish) not to touch the iron, which was hot. 3 seconds later, she came back in the room to see me pressing my hand against the iron. Poor woman STILL doesn't know whether she should feel guilty, angry, or relieved that it was a minor burn/I didn't pull the iron down on my head.


@Bebe my dad was a drunk chainsmoker, i cannot even begin to number the times he burnt me with a cigarette* (of course it's also a miracle he never got into a car accident, but DAMN). those things are dangerous!

*on accident!


@LeafySeaDragon I should add that despite his horror at almost burning his first born's eye, my chain smoking dad did not quit until about 30 years after this happened. Dangerous AND addictive!

Two-Headed Girl

When I was 4 I was sitting on the bathroom counter watching my mom put her makeup on when I managed to launch myself forward and break my arm. She was horrified, I got a purple cast and was totally cool with it, they actually did take her and my dad aside separately and make sure nothing had happened. And thus began my long career of really dumb accidents. I'm certain there's probably a "suspicious" somewhere on my medical records. It happens to everyone, don't sweat it.


Thank you for talking about this--so glad your bebe is okay.

I read this a few months ago, and just really appreciated the compassion displayed towards the humanity of good parents--because?

Horrible, horrible accidents happen to the best of us--and it doesn't help *anyone* to be self-righteous about their parenting.

miss olsen

@OxfordComma Oh god you can't just post that link without a warning (it's the Weingarten piece people talked about upthread). I still think about that article, often. I cannot look at the picture at the top of the dad with his son's stuffed animal without collapsing into tears.


@miss olsen : Oh, sorry! :( I didn't see that it was posted upthread, and it is completely heartbreaking.


Come on guys. You can tell what the article is about when you click on it and then decide whether or not to read, we don't really need a warning. There are like a million equally upsetting stories I can think of.

The only thing I've ever been really upset about its being posted without a warning was that video of the Syrian kid with the entire lower half of his face blown off. Someone embedded it in a totally unrelated comments section.

miss olsen

@Ellie mostly joking, here. I know we are all discerning adults who can make our own reading choices. Needs a "read only if you have many minutes to read and absorb an emotional blow" warning. Not, like, a trigger warning, or whatever.


This is a beautiful account of a very ugly experience, and I'm glad that you were surrounded by kind people (& that your baby is still perfect :D)

I''m child free, but this reminds me of the first night my sister was home from the hospital with her son. Other family members had gone home, and by around midnight, my husband and I had to leave (we had work the next morning). She burst into tears and gave us a litany of things she was afraid of (most of them SIDS related), begging us to stay.

I think this piece might frighten her a little (baby guy is only 3 months old), but it's an important lesson, and you've presented it as gently as it can be done.


How scary for you - I'm very glad your (adorable!) baby is okay. Accidents like this happen to us all; don't hate yourself.


Hugs, hugs, HUGS!!! I brought my daughter to the emergency room when she was about 17 months old because she fell off a chair (from a standing position) and straight into a hibachi set that I was putting together on the floor. Her head landed on the edge and cut deeply through the top of her eyebrow. 6 or 7 stitches later (while holding her down while she screamed and screamed)... she still has a white scar in the shape of a smile almost a year later. I still feel panic when I think of if it had been 3/4" lower (her eye). Horrible HORRIBLE! But at least I wasn't afraid that she might die.

Ironically, we'd babyproofed the SHIT out of our apartment, and she had to go find the one sharp edge.


@Gilgongo Isn't that how babies work? "You think you've got this shit under control? WATCH THIS, SUCKAS."

(I am so glad your daughter is okay!)

rianne marie

@Gilgongo I've got a scar running through my eyebrow from being probably the same age and tripping and cutting my head open on a rock. My mother says getting me stitched up was just horrible, I screamed and cried and needed to be held down by multiple people.
On the other hand my little brother needed forehead stitches around the same age (this is starting to sound bad for my parents, isn't it?) and he sat quietly and barely even cried while they stitched him up.


@rianne marie After it happened, I reached out to friends & aquaintances (being horrified that I'd disfigured my daughter and/or that I was a horrible mom), and all these people told me about their forehead scars (that they got when they were around 2 or 3) and how they liked them now. So that made me feel better. My first memory, actually, is getting my finger stitched up when I was about 2 1/2. I cut it on steel wool (back when steel wool was actually steel. It was the 70s!) So my ring finger looks all weird at the tip, but it's never bothered me. I sometimes wonder how I (or anybody) survived the 70s, heh.


I am so glad your baby is ok!
My dad lifted my (maybe one year old?) little sister into a running ceiling fan. She was fine, but my entire family thinks I'm going to end up a serial killer because I still dissolve into giggles whenever I think about it. (It really was funny. THWACK THWACK THWACK! Then they both looked at each other with the exact same expression and slowly turned to look at mom. In. Perfect. Unison. I die.)


@The Kendragon Are you my older sister? Because I had that exact experience and my sister still laughs until she cries when we talk about it.


Are you a fifteen year old girl obsessed with chickens?


@The Kendragon IF ONLY.


Nicole, seriously- dust that guilt off your shoulder, girl! Parent accidents HAPPEN. 9-month old me managed to swallow a penny under my mom's super watchful eye.

Here's a story that should have made said parent feel at least a little guilty: my boyfriend's brother's ex managed to put their then 10-month old son in a bouncy WITH WHEELS on the kitchen table. Definitely unstable, unlike your baby's chair. So what happens? Baby bouncies his little ass to the floor, and splits his forehead open, blood gushing down his face. Soo...yeah.


p.s. baby swag.


Nicole, this was great. All parents have been there. I am lucky and have a great group of non-judgmental mom-friends in my sons' playgroup who are open about these kind of things (we are in Utah too! You are welcome to join!) We ALL have stories like this! My oldest is completely reckless. His two worst exploits both happened when he was a little over a year old: first, he was playing on the playground and I was spotting him from the ground, blocking all of the open areas. Or so I thought! Suddenly, he climbed some steps, moved faster than I had ever seen across the platform to the other side, and basically jumped off the six foot tall platform, landing right on his neck. I thought he was dead, but then he started screaming. He cried for about a minute, and I've lived with the guilt ever since. The second incident was even worse. He decided to pull the drawers of his (huge, heavy) dresser out and climb them like a ladder. Of course, we hadn't followed Ikea's instructions and fastened it to the wall, and it fell on him. I still have no idea how he wasn't crushed to death, but he was miraculously just fine. Pure Dumb Luck!

dj pomegranate

@piggie He sounds like he has baby superpowers! Also, creativity!


@dj pomegranate You have no idea! Thank Cheesus my second child seems to be much mellower. Though I'm sure Big Brother will manage to get him into some wonderfully exciting situations...

Flies in my eyes

I think it is brave and lovely that your wrote this. IT is very true. We all make mistakes, some have larger consequences than others, but the consequences do not make you a worse person. Reminded me of a story on parents who forgot their kids in cars. It scared the crap out of me, because I can imagine all of the stupid things I have done when I'm stressed and sleep deprived. We have to be careful when quickly judging anyone. Glad everyone you encountered was wonderful and not judgemental.

Very happy that your baby is ok!!!!! We all survived similar stories and now it is our turn (well future me, as I do not have kids yet) to survive being the parents in that story!


When my second son was about 7 weeks old, he was hanging out in a baby chair while my husband and I hung up pictures in their room. My husband walked by the baby, holding a frame, and it fell apart, right over him, like the little clasps could hold it no longer, and the glass fell right on his head. Maybe an inch from his temple. And this was the baby you hear about but never believe to be true: he never cried, woke up once through the night, self soothed- lucky he was the second, one should be broken in to appreciate such things. But the glass, it hit his head. Could have killed him. We froze, then I swooped in and scooped him up, grabbed a wet washcloth, applied pressure, gathered up my courage to look. This was also the first time I learned I was better under this kind of pressure than my husband. We called the doctor and she reassuringly said, "these things will happen. You'll never win the lottery, but you'll hit all the odds like this." We took him to the ER, he was already over it, and smiling. They put a little steri-strip on the cut, and we all went home happy. It could have had a different ending, but it didn't.


@AnotherSarah When I was a baby, old enough to sit up, I was sitting on the floor at my grandmother's house. For some reason, there was a boxspring leaning against the wall, and I guess it fell over on me. Thankfully, it fell so that an "empty" part fell on me; I only got hit with the cloth and not one of the support slats. I don't remember it, but I'm sure it was terrifying for the adults involved.


Ha, I'm at my parents' house and I just yelled "Did you ever drop me when I was a baby?" My mom, from her office, yelled back "No, never!" and my dad, from his office, replied "Yes, Mom dropped you once and once I didn't catch you going down the slide and you fell off the bottom." My mom totally disagrees that she ever dropped me but added that "most babies do get dropped." So there's that.

Cat named Virtute

@Ellie I'm also at my parents' and asked about this. Apparently I fell off the change table as a baby. Hasn't slowed me down any; didn't even know about it until tonight and I'm 24!


my partner got boiling hot tea spilled on his upper thigh when he was ten (narrowly missing some extremely vital parts). he still has a ten inch long scar from it - it's all white, smooth and with no hair. i think it's rather cool but i can only imagine his extremely nervous mother dealing with that. there must have been a small nuclear explosion around Malden, Massachusetts in the early nineties.


@ladypilot MALDEN REPRESENT! (I'm from Malden too. I once said to someone, here in Los Angeles, "I'm from Malden!" "I'm sorry," he replied. He was from Marblehead. HAH!)


"This is still a little too raw for me to really want to talk about it"

Gosh, don't talk about it! You don't have to put it on the internet; just don't do it! The ~outpouring of support~ in the comments here notwithstanding, max confession does not equal max benefit.


Friends of mine who are married GPs have told me that every single parent in the ER thinks that s/he is the worst parent ever, that child services will be called, that they will go to jail, etc, etc. They were like, "Do you have any idea how many kids' heads we stitch up every year? THOUSANDS. Fireplace grates and coffee tables, man. You could power NYC with the guilt."


I was dining with a friend and her year-old baby when a waitress dropped a tray full of ice-water pitchers on the baby. It was then that I learned that babies do not in fact break if you so much as look at them funny. This was something of a revelation to me, because I thought babies were delicate people who melted if you even used grown-up shampoo on them.

Post-script: for some reason, it startled and amazed me to learn that there are Utah 'pinners. Moab, represent!


@Fluff Midway!


What a terrible thing to go through! Thanks for sharing.

A similar thing happened to me as an 8 or 9 month old baby in the early 80s. My baby seat fell from the kitchen table while my mother was making dinner. I was, and remain, perfectly fine.


I still get a quick flash of nausea when I remember the time I was at an intersection with my baby in her stroller and I took a long drink from my water bottle--then saw the stroller was rolling. I hadn't put the brake on. She got maybe 3 inches along but it may as well have been halfway into the intersection for how it hit me. I looked around to see if anyone saw and was calling the cops on me.

Also, her nursery was my work-at-home office, so I'd put her down for her nap in the middle of my queen-sized bed. Then one day she gained enough mobility to start wiggling once she awoke and tump herself over the edge and onto the floor. From that day forward, I developed the ability to hear that child lift her head from any surface she was sleeping on anywhere in the house. You may develop a similar ability, Nicole!


Lovely piece and SUPER CUTE baby.

My mom slipped on our icy front stairs while holding my baby brother once. He bounced all the way down and rolled into the street.

He was totally fine, but my mom screwed up her back. Go figure.

rianne marie

When I was crawling size I once crawled under a rocking chair, one of the old ones with big wooden legs sticking out. My head was right underneath one of the legs when I was spotted.
Did I mention someone was in the chair? Came very close to crushing my skull.

Also my little brother has a scar in the middle of his forehead from running into a doorframe while I was watching him. And there was the time I fell down the stairs while carrying him. My twelve year old's sense of self-preservation got completely overruled in favour of baby-preservation fortunately and I managed to twist myself around and land on my back instead of on top of him. and neither of us died or even suffered too badly.
And I was still allowed to babysit.

rianne marie

@rianne marie Oh, and also my little brother had febrile seizures. Everytime his temperature went up he started seizing. Want to get attention in an emergency room REALLY QUICKLY? Walk in with an infant having a seizure. You go straight to the top of the list.

Man, how are any kids still alive?


@rianne marie my son had those once and i think i died. multiple times. scariest thing ever.


My mum tells this story of being downstairs in the kitchen, both babies (my littlest sisters, then eighteen months and two weeks) supposedly napping in separate rooms, and hearing this thud from upstairs, running up the stairs, and seeing 18-month-old Sister pick 2-week-old Sister off the floor, from where she'd dropped her. Mother, understandably, shrieked something terrified and blasphemous: 18-month-old sister was so shocked she burst into tears and dropped 2-week-old Sister on her head. Again. However, 2-week-old Sister is now in her teens and seems to have not been unduly affected.

Also I managed to walk into a table and cut my eyelid open, and the week after that pull a fully laid tea-set (complete with scalding tea) down across myself.



@missupright DAMN. Rough day(s) for Mama Upright. The tea set is a nice touch.


I did this to my baby. I slipped on the ice with her and she hit her head on the pavement and I thought she was okay, because she perked up fast. But then 10 mins later, I saw blood and I got hysterical and took her to the doctor and everyone said it was fine and that everyone goes through this, but I still feel sick about it. I think I always will.


Hi, I lurk at work mostly but I had to log in and comment. Nicole. Your story was just so much TRUTH. This really is something that could happen to anyone. I am glad your little one is OK. I don't want to tell you what to do, I just ask that you Please give yourself a break. Parenting is scary sh*t!It is full of guilt for the things you did, the things you didn't do and the things other people did. You are doing awesome! Now that you have been through it you would probably tell that to some other parent. That is why everyone at the hospital was so nice to you. Hugs.


When I dropped my baby brother on his head because I was carrying him WHILE ROLLERBLADING (dumbest shit ever, and he actually did fracture his skull) the only thing that made me feel better was hearing about all the terrible things people have done to their babies that all turned out fine. So hopefully this thread is healing you!


Two things:

1) Lovely essay. As you can see, so many of us has been there, and while reassuring comments will never take the pain and panic away, know that's what makes you such a good mom.

2) I think I drop an egg every time I see a picture of this baby! Her little smiling face! Her rosy chubby cheeks and thighs! SO PERFECT. I propose an article that is just pictures of this baby. It would make me so very happy inside. Even better, this baby IN OUTFITS or WITH KITTENS. Just a wish.


Oh...the thud! I was doing the marketing when I bumped the trolley and the front fell open and she followed! I was in hysterics; refused to allow a Dr. in the store to help. I raced to the car and off to hospital! I have never forgiven myself! She was fine; but sharing your memory (albeit recent for you) still makes me sick to my stomach; and it happened 23 years ago! You are a wonderful Mum to that cherished, chubby life that you obviously protect like a momma bear. Love reading your stories; keep them coming.


I'm a little late to this party, but... one of my worst kid injuries was when I scraped a chunk of skin off my whole right side, from hip to armpit, while climbing out the window- as part of a FAMILY FIRE DRILL my dad made us do. So this shit still happens even when you are trying to account for every possible safety concern. I definitely milked it- I should probably tell my dad not to feel bad about that anymore.


I had my beautiful, almost 13 year old daughter when I was 19. Young, alone, disowned by my family, and living in a shelter for young, pregnant, homeless people. I was getting ready to put her in a bath and was undressing her on the bed. She was about 2 months. I was talking to her, tickling her and singing. I brought her up to give her a big ol kiss as I was about to walk her into the bathroom to bathe her. I was already standing, she was laying on the bed. I accidentially slammed her head into a hanging bookshelf located RIGHT. OVER. THE. BED!! OMG! It was THE WORST feeling of my life!!! This little baby was the only thing I had in the world!! She SCREAMED and then settled right down, it did no damage but it scarred me for LIFE!!! It shook me up like you wouldn't believe! So glad everything turned out OK Nicole!! To think a little less luck and the smallest accident can go the other way!

Don Rodríguez Gómez Rosa@facebook

Nicole, thank you for your insights. Truly. magnificent. Great posted article.


It is very hard to be a parent and sometime we cannot predict the future and we blame ourselves for not seeing it. I am glad the paramedics told you some of their stories, this helped you a lot. When my wife was working at the hospital after she entered here and saw the benefits of working as a registered nurse I was not attentive with my daughter and she fell on the stairs. I felt very bad for a couple of days, luckily nothing bad happened and she recovered quickly.


Hey everyone just commenting here because we all as parents make mistakes in our lives.and sometimes the outcome is bad and sometimes is good and makes us learn.parenting doesn't have a manual and its all about live and learn.I still hate myself to this day for what could have happend to my son but thank God and his guardian angels that watched over him.Iam on subutex which is a medicine that treats opiate addiction.Idecided to kick my habit of vicodin and go to counseeling and take meds to keep me on track..however I will never ever forget the day I made the biggest mistake of my life.now this is in no way shape or form the story that the dumb lady who left her pills in a candy dish and the toddler overdosed and nor was my medicine carelessly stored for him to grab it.but unfortunatly toddlers can find anything even from a year before and that is exactly this situation.my son is 1 and a half.very active child.I have 3 children and don't let them outside unless I'm outside,anddont let the babies passed their room and the living room.I own 20 baby gates.yes this is however my fault and Ishould have been more careful but again we all make mistakes.I had my 3 kids and my 2 neices that are 10 and 12. I had them all in the living room I was putting an air conditioner in the bedroom.then I hear all the kids outside except my toddler and newborn.I came outside they were on the porch but the gate to the kitchen was open.my toddler sitting in the kitchen floor.so I pick him up put him in the living room Ihear him coughing so I go to see what's going on and he was vomiting and almost passing out.I thought he was having a seizure or choking.I called 911 immediatly.he was asleep but vitals were perfect.he was in the hospital for 2 days sleeping but vitals perfect.every test they did normal.so I start thinking god what could it be.if it was meds it would have shown on toxicology and there was nothing there.and then I thought back to when I had a bottle of my subutex fall on the floor 8 months before this.and immediatly Itold the doctor.I could have cared less what they done to me as long as my son was fine.subutex is an opiate antagonist so a special urine test had to be done.and the doc said well it was 8 months ago and even though I had cleaned over andover,childproofed my house,rearranged furniture toddlers can find stuff from forever ago.and that's exactly what it was.I felt like a failure as a mother.Ihave done everything to keep my kids safe and I let that happen to him.even though it was a low dose it was still too much for him.the good thing is that we thought it was an onset of epilepsy and its not.Iwould have killed myself if something had happend to him.the doctor his pediatrician knows how careful I am.because I took him once for a tooth coming in.trust me there is nothing anyone can say that would make you feel worse when something happends to you child because of you being careless.Icame home and searched corner to corner.lifted up carpets and padding and cleaned out everything and every medicine and quit keeping meds in my house.I have a lock box in my car and even tylenol and ibuprophine goes in there.so parents always be super careful because toddlers can find anything even from years ago.and also you can be a super mom but noone is perfect.


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My dad has a story about having done this to me as an infant, baby seat on the kitchen island and all, except I guess I fell forward, and was laughing when he picked me up. I think the top of the seat protected my head. Glad your girl was okay.


Take care of the baby, it takes a lot of thought.

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