Ezra had his first big fall last week. He was dancing on our kitchen step stool. The square platform was too small to contain his moves, and he danced off the side. I suspect that is why Go-Go dancers use cages. He fell about a foot directly onto his head. This resulted in the immediate growth of a golf ball-sized, purple bump a little above his right eye, and a very concerned mom and dad.
Parenting is a constant source of guilt. You watch your child fall and then reproach yourself for not being fast enough to catch him or stopping the behavior that caused the fall. The embarrassing part of this story is that Amanda and I were not only encouraging the potentially dangerous behavior, but also videotaping it. It was a cute dance!
Falling, of course, is part of childhood. Worrying, of course, is part of parenthood. One of the many catalogs we now receive in the mail specializes in items to keep your household safe for children. It includes locks and latches for everything you can imagine from safety gates to toilet-guards. My favorite item is for parents, I believe, who decided childproofing the house is an impossible task, and decide instead to include safety equipment as part of their child’s wardrobe.
The catalog product description reads (note the child is also wearing knee pads):
Finally: a protective helmet for wobbly walkers and crawlers that's cute and comfortable, too! This advanced baby helmet is made of high-tech foam that absorbs impacts and cushions falls, without bulky padding. Its breathable lining keeps little heads cool. Helmet adjusts to fit kids 8-20 months
Parents live in a state of constant anxiety, and the desire to find a perfect item to always keep one’s child safe is completely understandable. Deep down all parents must know, sadly, that magical object does not exist. After Ezra’s fall, Amanda and I initially panicked as we watched the swelling on his head. We called the doctor’s office to see if we needed to bring him in for x-rays and a CAT scan. Luckily, we were on hold long enough to take a deep breath and read a few medical websites that reassured us he did not show any signs that his injury was significant. The fact that he only cried for 30 seconds after the fall and then continued playing should have clued us into this. We kept our eye on him for the next 24 hours, reminded ourselves that Ezra doesn’t need to wear a helmet (he has a skull), and most importantly, erased that video.