The first time my daughter got seriously hurt I was in bed, watching television. She came in and hopped up on the bed to lay with me for a bit, and when she tried to get down I held her arms to assist her down the tall slop of our Queen-sized bed frame. The problem? I lost my grip. Before I knew it my 2-year-old baby went flying into the corner of our dresser's sharp corner. There are things no one tells you about the first time your toddler hurts themselves, like how quickly a seemingly serene day can turn into a terrifying hellscape.
Luckily, my daughter (now almost 11-years-old and as healthy as can be), doesn't remember much about that incident. Her 5-year-old brother hasn't had any serious injuries as of yet, either, which has done wonders for my peace of mind. But despite the fact that both my babies are healthy and safe, I hover and helicopter more often than I should so I don't make the same mistake twice.
When I fell out of a tree and broke my arm as a kid, I'm sure my parents felt the same way. It's a terrifying thing, being in charge of a small person all the time and especially when I feel I can barely take care of myself some days. IN my experience, it's best to be as prepared as possible. With that in mind, here are just some of the things no one tells you about the first time your toddler hurts themselves that I had to learn the hard way.
You Can't Prepare For The Panic
I've thought about parenthood for as long as I can remember. Even when I was a kid I knew I wanted to be a mom someday. When I was pregnant, I thought about all the possible scenarios where things could go wrong and, I think, tested in my resolve as a result. Yeah, no. There was no way I could've prepared for the panic I felt the moment my toddler was really, truly hurt.
In the moments of an unavoidable accident, you will swear you're having a heart attack. It will seem as though the world pauses, then plays in slow motion as you try to save your little one from the inevitable. For me, when my daughter cut her forehead open I wanted to be calm for her, but the panic was far more overwhelming than I anticipated.
You'll Feel Worse Than Your Toddler
While I knew my toddler was in pain, my reaction to the fall was probably far worse than what she actually felt. It doesn't mean it wasn't painful, or that she wasn't scared, because it did hurt and she was frightened. It's just that I couldn't prepare myself for this incident.
To this day, I think back on those moments and start to cry. As someone who's supposed to protect her, I feel terrible that it happened at all. I try to focus on what followed, though — once we got home from the hospital — and when she pranced around the kitchen wearing layers of necklaces. She bounced back far quicker than I did, I can tell you that.
Your Toddler Will Forget, But You Never Will
It was about a week ago my daughter and I were talking about that infamous time I broke my arm, when conversation drifted to her falling off the bed. She has little-to-no memory of it, but I can still tell her in exact detail what went down. I told her there was a blizzard outside, and that two urgent care clinics were closed due to weather. She bled and cried in the backseat while her father and I frantically tried to find someone to help us. She doesn't recall that day, or how long we waited in the ER, or even that we bought her a milkshake afterwards (to ease our guilt). She doesn't remember it at all, but I do. I'm OK with that, though.
You Can't Prepare For Everything
I pride myself in being prepared to a fault. Organization is the key to my sanity. With kids, though, I'm learning there's no level of preparedness that can prevent an accident. Even when I hover, or helicopter, or give warnings, or discuss possibilities, things happen and mistakes are inevitable. It's no one's fault and while it's great I want to do my part in keeping my kids safe, they're still kids, and kids get hurt sometimes.
Sort of in the way I've spilled a drink even when I've consciously tried to avoid spilling it, my kids have gotten hurt even when I'm standing right there. Basically, even well-meaning parents fail, despite the best of intentions.
Your Toddler Will Forgive You
Not only was my daughter perfectly fine by the end of the day, but she hadn't lost trust in me as the result of her fall. I was so scared she'd hate me, or not want to be in my company, because I let her down. She was hurt because of my negligence, to be sure, but here's the thing: she moved on almost immediately.
You're Still A Good Parent
I can still see that scar when my I look at my daughter. It's a warning that life comes at you fast. However, it's also a reminder that it doesn't have to define the rest of our mother/daughter relationship. I may not have felt like a good mom as it happened, but I am one. And if you asked my daughter today, I think she'd agree.