Kids: how do they do that?

May 31 2009 Published by under Fatherhood

Around midnight, my wife and I heard a loud "thump" followed by screaming. We ran to our daughter's room and found her lying on the floor, crying, clearly terrified. I picked her up and held her, feeling around her legs, hips, arms, and head to see if anything seemed out of place or painful. That's when my wife noticed the blood soaking into the shoulder of my shirt. Trying to examine a screaming child is no easy task, but it appeared as if she had cut the inside of her lip, and no more.
How can a tiny being cause your entire being to shatter with fear? Did she hit her head? Did she break her leg? How can I make her stop being scared? How long will my stomach feel like this?
Kids are smarter and more resilient than we think. She milked this one for all it was worth---I ended up sleeping in her bed because she looked up at me with her big eyes and swollen lip and said, "Please, Daddy?"

11 responses so far

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Just accept it, Peter -- you are so pwned. And if you think it's bad now, wait until she's old enough to date.
    Being the father of a girl is an absolute E-ticket ride. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

  • I had to laugh about this, because my son has a broad streak of the UTTERLY MELODRAMATIC, and has me pretty well pwned, too. 😉 But at the same time, he is mildly autistic, and thus has a hard time identifying/processing/coping with-- and COMMUNICATING-- his sensory information. So then it becomes a mommy-guessing-game of "Is it serious? Is he in pain??? DO I NEED TO RUSH HIM TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM?????... Oh wait-- did he just drop his popsicle?" LOL
    Learning to tease out when I need to pile on the serious comfort measures versus when I need to tell him to suck it up and deal is a lifelong process. I am in constant need of a nap! 😀

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    I am in constant need of a nap! 😀

    And can never quite let down your guard enough to get one, right?
    My youngest has been out of the nest for six years now, and it's still hard for me to relax enough to sleep of an afternoon.
    At this rate, I'll unwind enough just in time to be babysitting grandchildren. If I'm lucky 🙂

  • Joanna Holland says:

    Aww, poor kiddo. We too heard the "thump" one night last week (first week in big boy bed). No blood luckily!

  • Dianne says:

    So now young Ms. Pal knows that her father will be there to comfort her when she is hurt. Not a bad lesson.

  • Ranson says:

    See, I have the opposite problem with my son. He underplays everything physical. I don't know where he got it, but he's very "I'll walk it off". Two examples: A couple of years back, I'm sitting reading to my son, one hand tousling his hair. I notice it's sticky, check, and find a bleeding, one-inch scalp wound concealed by his thick hair. I ask him where he got it, and with typical three-year-old-ness, he says, "the yard". He hasn't played outside for a good forty-five minutes, and was in the dead center of an empty grass lawn the whole time. I ask how, and he says he fell down and cut his head on the grass. We scour the yard and find nothing. A few emergency room staples and $500 later (yay medicine on a Saturday evening) later and he's fine. Of course, he was fine before, it was us freaking out.
    We also regulary hear from his room, "*WHAM!*[pause]*creak**CRASH**rattle*"
    My daughter, on the other hand, has long ago mastered the whimper and googly puppy eyes.

  • Dacks says:

    How about the guilt when my then three-year-old, a notoriously bad sleeper, woke us up repeatedly one night. I angrily ordered her back to bed, only to realize (later that night or in the morning) that she had fifth disease, with a rash and slight fever that was making her very uncomfortable. What an unfeeling parent!

  • LanceR, JSG says:


    Boy does *that* sound familiar. About the only thing scarier is "*WHAM!*[pause]*creak**CRASH**rattle*"
    "I'm okay. Nothing [pause, sniffle] broke."
    Ain't parenting *fun*?

  • Ranson says:

    The best I've had was hearing a crash from the kitchen at about 6am, and rushing in to find a chair that had obviously fallen off of a second chair, next to the 'fridge (the top of which was the current choice for sequestering candy/small toys). There were toys missing from there, too. Both my little angels were, of course, deep asleep in their rooms on the other side of the house.
    So what if the boy walked with a limp that morning? He never owned up to the venture. The funny part is those times when we'd get up at the normal time and find the chairs still stacked.

  • Daniel J. Andrews says:

    "How can a tiny being cause your entire being to shatter with fear? Did she hit her head? Did she break her leg? How can I make her stop being scared? How long will my stomach feel like this?"
    Get used to it, PalMD. You're going to feel like that for the rest of your life. 🙂 And wait till she starts dating!!
    (there are benefits, of course, so not here to discourage you).

  • Citizen Deux says:

    How can a tiny being cause your entire being to shatter with fear?

    Becuase they represent in our minds ourselves. And not just ourselves, but the best and most admirable parts. They are our extension into the future and our only brush with immortality.
    I will feel the same way about my two boys as long as I live.