When You Don’t Have Time To Scream


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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20 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    I think I see the problem. That staircase is way off-level.

    (Glad you guys are OK!)Report

  2. Avatar zic says:

    Deep sigh of relief.

    Stairs are dangerous; particularly for drunks and for parents holding a child, even sober. I never liked most child gates; they aren’t really meant to be weight-bearing, and create a (to me) false sense of security; more the velvet cord the the sturdy fence.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I view the gate as a mechanism of delay, rather than one of prevention. Since they’re not bolted down, she can always pull it down if she tries hard enough or figures out to. And eventually she will figure out the unlocking mechanism. So we maintain our caution.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        We put the gates far away from the stairs, so no one would be trying to navigate a gate right at the top of a set of stairs.

        But, our house floorplan afforded us that flexibility. Although we did have to buy some very large gates to cross certain spans.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Good that you and Lain got away with nothing worse than bumps and bruises. Operation Protect Lain may not have been perfect, but you seem to have done pretty darned well.

        There has apparently been a drastic change in gate design somewhere between now and when my kids were small (the youngest is 28 now). Our gates — one of which was recently retrieved from the shed because the new granddaughter is mobile — required big screw-eyes mounted in studs or the banister, adult strength to release, and offered no tripping hazard. Up until the kids were big enough to climb over — about four, as I recall, once they figured out about moving a footstool into position — they were confined by the gates, not just delayed. The gates weren’t as convenient as the new ones, but seemed more robust.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        These were bolting optional. I’ve been going back on forth on whether to bolt them. In this case it wouldn’t have made a diffence with the design being what it is. The trip hazard is the thing.Report

  3. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Ouch! I am so glad Bug can manage stairs like a pro now.

    Glad you are both OK. Good thing there is a doctor in the house.Report

  4. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Oh my goodness, that’s terrifying. I’m so glad you’re both alright!Report

  5. ditto to everyone else who’s glad you’re all right.Report

  6. Avatar Will Truman says:

    An update: Lain is letting me pick her up again. I guess she has forgiven me for taking her on The Worst Ride Ever.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      I’m almost 48, and I still have a visible scar on my knee from when I was riding in a 1970-era bike seat behind my dad and the contraption got overbalanced on some gravel. I don’t have any actual memories – of the entire trip, much less the ride itself – except an impression. Never thought to blame anyone.

      In any case, any ride you both walk away from (albeit eventually, and possibly painfully) isn’t the Worst Ride Ever.Report

  7. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Glad you and Lain are okay. That is most important.

    A few scattered thoughts…

    1. I’m furious that I somehow did not find that gate on Amazon. We ended up purchasing three of a different type which cost about 30% more. Dagnabbit.

    2. I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but it must have been last summer meaning Mayo was between 4-6 months old. Zazzy was going into work and dropping him off at daycare while I worked from home. This mean I could sleep in a bit. Zazzy said goodbye and headed out of the bedroom and then I heard it. A sickening series of thuds. Faster than I knew I could move and with no recollection of the series of steps I utilized to go from “More than half asleep in bed” to “Crouching over my wife and infant son toppled over at the bottom of steps”, I was there. I began attending to both and Zazzy rejected my care. “MAKE SURE HE’S OKAY!” He was. Her protective instincts kicked in and besides begin scared and shaken from the fall, he was perfectly fine. Zazzy was bruised and sore but otherwise okay. Her ego might have taken the biggest hit, which tends to be her way (“I knew I never should have ever bought slippers!”). Fortunately, everyone was fine and no worse for the wear.

    3. Perhaps this is the result of my overly-heightened situational awareness and compulsive need to plan, but probably by the second time I carried Mayo down the stairs, I had already formulated in my head how I would respond to a variety of different falls. There is the scoop-cradle-turn-break neck-save baby move. There is the feet up-ass down-elbows out-broken back move. And if all else fails, there is the maintain momentum-get halfway down-launch baby onto strategically placed massive arm chair-crash into wall at bottom of stairs and die. Thankfully, I have never had to employ any of these methods. But that parenting/preservationist urge is undeniable.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      We actually got it primarily because they had an option for larger walkways, which we needed in our old house. We’ve been pretty satisfied with it.

      The similarities between your situation and ours are interesting. I actually did my own self-recrimination, looking for something stupid I did so that I could not do it in the future. But I didn’t have my cell phone out. Wasn’t wearing anything slippery. It just… happened.

      I never did a danger assessment with stairs. Falling down them is simply not something I ever thought about (I grew up in a one story home). I do various hazard assessments, which brings me to a bit of a story…

      Our new house has a deck on the equivalent of the second floor. The pickets are too far apart, something we plan to have addressed sooner rather than later. Clancy went out on the deck with Lain, and though she knew that they were too far apart didn’t realize that Lain could stick her head through them. She drew up some crude hazard scenarios, most of which were either (a) unlikely or (b) could be avoided with moderate supervision.

      “The real danger,” I explained, “is not that she will put her head through there. If she does that, you have a few seconds to intervene as she would have to back up and then put herself through sideways. What you have to worry about is sticking her foot and leg through. She does that, she is already sideways and could go right through, trip over the thing at the bottom, and land head first. That’s why you can’t be more than a couple feet away from her while out here.”

      This, it turned out, freaked her out to a degree that I had not seen before or since… until today.Report

      • Avatar gingergene says:

        Glad everyone is ok.

        I once managed to get my head through the bars on our deck (was about 2, I think). The problem wasn’t that I kept going, it’s that once I got that much through, I couldn’t go *anywhere*. My folks had to butter me up and mash my ears down pretty badly to get me out, or so I’m told. Anyway, no permanent damage; the ears are still more or less where they ought to be.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

        Will, I grew up in a one-story home, so I think about the danger of the stairs all the time. This must say something about our different risk assumptions regarding the unknown.

        Glad you’ve regained Lain’s trust. I didn’t think it would take too long.Report

  8. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Unfortunately I think almost every father has a story about when we almost killed one of our kids. I left my daughter in the car one time to run back inside for something I forgot. Luckily the window was down so when I heard her yell for me I was able to zoom back…and stop the car as it rolled down the driveway. In my hurry I had put it in neutral instead of park. Worst…parenting…moment…ever.

    Glad you survived yours Will.Report

  9. Avatar Crprod says:

    My sister-in-law had just moved into her second husband’s house. One night soon afterwards, she got up to go to the bathroom and turned the wrong way in the hall. She opened a door which was the stairs to the basement. She went down head first, seeing brightly colored stars that she was sure that she would never tell anyone about as she would be dead when she reached the bottom. Her husband was not allowed to ride with her in the ambulance and was placed in the back seat of a patrol car as he was suspected of beating her. When the injuries were totaled up, she had two broken wrists, one broken elbow, a concussion and lesser shoulder injuries. Three years later, she still has plates in her wrists, but not her elbow. She made it back to work in seven weeks, not the expected seven months.Report

  10. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Welcome to the club, Will. Oddly, I’ve only had these incidents with daughter #1, but there were three different ones with her (so an average of one per kid).

    The first time was when the hammock pulled the hook out of the wall and I landed flat on my back on our concrete porch with baby girl on top of me. Despite her screams, I was the only one hurt.

    Then I almost fell down the bleachers with her in my arms at an Oregon basketball game while members of the football team gasped in horror and lunged forward to save her.

    The worst was when toddler girl was riding on my shoulders as I was crossing the street,and I let go of her knees to grab her hands just as she threw herself backward. With a vision of my precious child falling head first to the pavement flashing through my mind, I threw my hands back over my shoulders and caught her by the ankles.

    But I never actually dropped my child, you monster!Report