Yesterday, I joined the hallowed club: Mother whose child has fallen out of the shopping cart.
We were on the last isle of our huge weekly shopping trip, the one where you are not only buying two gallons of milk, but replacing staples like salt and hand soap. My 19th month old had grown impatient with riding in the Ergo, and my 4 year old was already occupying the cart’s seat, so I put her in main part of the cart. I admit, I let her ride back there fairly often, she is more content there, usually occupying herself eating the stash of grapes or raspberries we are planning on buying. She also doesn’t always sit.
I had just reminded her “knees or bottom” as I reached to my left to grab two boxes of low sodium organic chicken broth, when out of the corner of my eye, I watch her body fold in half and flop right out of the cart. I’m not actually sure what part of her body hit the hard floor first, but I know her head eventually made contact.
I scooped her up and she instantly started crying (a good sign with any type of injury, especially head injuries). I checked her over for blood or broken bones- good. Her eyes were evenly dilated, she hadn’t lost consciousness, she already had a goose egg, but that is also a good sign -she seemed to pass the test. She calmed down pretty quickly and snuggled into my chest, sucking her thumb.
I stood in the store with a cart full of unpaid groceries and debated my next move. I admit, I am usually not much of a worrier. (Clearly, I let my kid ride in the back of the shopping cart in the first place.) I tend to be a “rub some dirt in it” kind of mom. But I couldn’t stop thinking of a recent baseball pitcher who was hit in the head with a line drive and walked off the field seemly fine, but later while at the hospital for observation, had to undergo emergency -lifesaving- surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.
I called my husband. I called the advice nurse. And while I waited for them both…I paid for my groceries.
My husband and I decided to drive her to the emergency room, but when we pulled into the parking lot, the advice nurse called back. She went through a long line of symptoms with me (the ones I had checked above, but a few more) like if she could walk normally, if she seemed confused, if she had vomited. Since all of these seemed ok, the nurse felt we could observe her for the next 24 hours and that we didn’t need to take her into the emergency room. She gave me a long list of things to watch for which basically were any changes to her normal behavior. (a few interesting symptoms; vomiting directly after a head injury is considered normal, but vomiting 6-8 hours later is cause for concern! And being sleepy is also an ok reaction, but having difficultly waking up after a nap or stay awake is troublesome)
It wasn’t until we were driving home that emotions and my mommy guilt started to set in. By the end of the day, when everyone was safely tucked in bed, I started thinking about a few things I had “learned” from the day.
She’s still a baby.
Just because she is my second and she “seems” to be able to do more advanced things. I need to remind myself that she is still little, and she needs me to set safe boundaries for her (even if that means she throws a temper tantrum in the process).
Parenting is Unexpected-Support, Don’t Judge
One of the first things my husband asked me on the phone was how I was doing. He knew it was an accident, it has happened to quite a few of our friends’ families and even if I could have done more to prevent it, these things happened. He checked on me and my feelings a few more times over the course of the rest of the day. He never said it was my fault or I should have been paying better attention. Honestly, I am not sure if I would have reacted the same way if the tables were turned.
Parenting is tough, and unexpected. He was a good reminder to me not to judge. Not to judge your spouse or the lady at the grocery store who “lets” her child fall out of the cart.
I Need to Slow Down
Like everyone else on the planet, I always feel like I have a million things to do. But lately, I feel like I have been rushing around TOO MUCH. Especially when it comes to the kids. I feel like I am constantly imploring them to hurry and put shoes on, to walk faster, to behave while I run errands. I need to slow down. I need to look for bugs with my 4 year old, and sing more songs with the toddler.
It’s funny, because part of the reason for the BIG shopping trip was to try to cut down on the number of times I have to drag my kids to the store each week. But my husband and I both agreed, one parent will now do the big weekly shopping trip, kid free, one evening. Actually…that sounds amazing.
Has this every happened to you? Or what event has made you realize it’s time to recalibrate how you are running aspects of your life? I’d love to hear in the comments below!