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Bad Dad

I usually try to write here about the most salient aspect of my day. Sometimes that’s an event of national or cosmic significance. More often it’s personal.

But when my daughter fell off the bed yesterday morning while I was (not) watching her, I found I was too ashamed and embarrassed to write about that, despite its unquestionable salience.

She was chewing on a kiddie book at the time, and she basically fell on top of the book, bruising her cute little nose.

So much easier to write about politics instead.

The bruise wasn’t pretty. It seemed to have reached full flower last night. But she seemed to be OK. The bruise would be a reminder to me to be more responsible, more vigilant.

I mean, I was right there when it happened, but I wasn’t paying attention, because I was preoccupied with something stupid like adjusting the morning playlist in iTunes.

When I took her to daycare this morning, strapped to my chest as usual, a woman stopped me on the street to comment on how cute she is. She mentioned, as so many people do, how “she looks exactly like you.” She didn’t even seem to notice the bruise.

Just after lunch, the daycare called to let me know she had a fever. I dropped everything, and ran her to the doctor’s office.

Of course, the whole way there I’m indulging in paranoid fantasies that her bruised nose has led to an infection that will lead to who knows what.

But the doctor dismissed those fears. She asked a few questions about the fall and the bruise but otherwise didn’t think it was a big deal.

Diagnosis: moderate ear infection. Possibly related to a case of RSV, which she may or may not have. Another kid at the daycare was just diagnosed with RSV. And Persephone has had a lingering cough ever since she got that cold six weeks ago.

She’s taking an antibiotic which should clear up the infection in short order.

Unless, of course, it’s viral.

Published inFamily


  1. pam pam

    don’t worry about it, it happens to everyone. i didn’t blog about how last week i tripped and fell while holding one of the boys. terrifying, and i felt so stupid too. alas.

    hope she doesn’t have RSV. or maybe i’m just so scared of it b/c we have preemies. blech. hope she feels better soon, whatever it is.

  2. I don’t know a one single parent who doesn’t have a “baby-fell-off-the-bed-while-I-was-watching-her” story. It’s horrifying when it happens to you but it certainly does not make you a Bad Dad.

  3. HK HK

    i was so ashamed too. i was anxious for months waiting for the symptoms of a concussion or other head injury to manifest.

  4. David David

    Hell, she bumped her head when she was sitting on my knee, just suddenly lurched into the back of the chair. Children will suffer these minor injuries until they learn to quit acting like spastic, clumsy klutzes. (Just kidding about that sentence.)

  5. M in NYC M in NYC

    I don’t know a single parent withOUT a “kid fell off the bed on my watch” story. Some just don’t choose to admit it. It hurt you more than it hurt her.

  6. Lee Lee

    Everyone is correct B. My daughter actually fell off of a counter while in her car seat at around Persephone’s age. She had a really nasty black eye for a while. It happened while we were putting groceries up.

    In a way, you popped your cherry! Welcome to the club of parenting!

    It’s okay to feel bad, just don’t let it get you down.

  7. MF MF

    A friend of mine from high school fell off a kitchen counter when he was a baby, and now he’s a published poet — so it didn’t do him much harm.

    My little brother, who was really fat, managed to knock over his high chair while he was sitting in it (maybe he was rocking back and forth in it) and got a black eye.

    I think these things are normal.

    Then there is always closing a car door on your kid’s hand, which will happen when she is a toddler … that happens at least once in every family …

  8. termite termite

    when my oldest son was 6 months old he rolled right off the bed onto the hard wood floors. i rushed him to the hospital because there was a little blood coming from his tiny nose. i was horrified and beat myself up over it for quite some time.
    he’s now in Medicial School at Tulane – must have been that first (of many) visits to the hospital that lead him to where he is today. 🙂

    *it really does happen to everyone. — just wait till you forget her somewhere as you drive off. now that’s a real treat…

  9. Ahhh, kids’ injuries…brings out the horror stories from everybody – even from my son’s pediatrician in NYC, who, after helping treat the little guy for an injury, once told me of how, within the space of a weekend, he and his wife accidentally dislocated his son’s arm twice in unrelated incidents and ended up switching Bad Parent/Consoling Spouse roles.

    Happens to us all, and makes one constantly amazed that any of us survive childhood more or less intact.

  10. mikesmiley mikesmiley

    I had an incident like this as well. I was playing with my 4 yr old, Solomon. I pulled him off of his playhouse perch by his ankles. He bumped his head when he landed in the grass. I told him that I was playing too rough and I had to sit in time out. Then I had to say I was sorry and give him a hug. The exact sequence I make him go through.

  11. wonderland wonderland

    Oh my. One morning when I was on the way out the door, I actually dropped my then 6-month-old daughter from my arms onto the floor when a large cockroach crawled off the collar of my coat and onto my neck. My husband, my baby, and I all screamed. Husband screamed at me for doing such a horrible thing (he didn’t see the cockroach and had no clue why I’d up and drop our baby); I screamed because of the stupid roach and because I’d dropped my baby over a phobia and not a real danger; and she screamed because she fell unexpectedly and was then subjected to our screaming. I was WAY more upset than she was. I had to calm down and nurse her once more before I could even think about leaving for work. To this day, I check that coat for roaches when I put in on.

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