Personal: A long-awaited nightmare

As a new father I have been dreading certain events for when they first happen. Prominent amongst them was the first time we are unable to catch Melian when she slips and/or falls. I say “was” because this afternoon it happened for the first time – sitting next to her on our sofa, and she doing a forwards lurch that I was unable to prevent. Suddenly she is on the floor, screaming.

Fortunately she took no major damage, I think mostly her screams were from the shock as much from the pain. Not an hour later she was laughing and happy, and reaching out her arms to me wanting a cuddle.

Cuddles which I desperately need because I do feel very cut-up about it. After all, if I had been a moment or two quicker to react … well, such things cannot be taken back. I feel a little like a part of her innocence has been lost.

Actually there is part of me is slightly proud. With Melian screaming, and being held by my wife, I very nearly went totally inert as the emotion washed over me. As with many Aspergic people I am not always able to process emotions very effectively, and they can overwhelm me. My wife said to me something like “stay with it” or “keep it together” – and somehow I was able to do so. Once she had started to settle a little, and had started to feed, I cried. Cried out at the hurt of feeling like a failure for being unable to protect my daughter. There is no shame in that – just goes to show how much IĀ  do indeed care for my Melian. Nevertheless I was able to function throughout. It came close, but I did it. Rather than be an additional burden for both my wife and daughter I went and got Melian’s favourite toy and helped distract her with it, which helped settle her.

Ultimately a fall was always going to happen sometime. This will not the last either. We have been fortunate the first had no great harm, and at least the first time is over. While it may not make subsequent occasions easier, precisely, at least now I know for certain I can cope without having a panic attack. That is an amazingly comforting thing to know.

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3 comments
  1. Jeromai said:

    Try not to worry. It happens to lots of people. Kids are pretty hardy. My parents had tons of stories of how I rolled off the bed and tumbled to the floor, screaming loud enough to wake my father who had just dozed off for a second. Or the couple of times he was carrying me in front of him and accidentally walked into an obstacle low enough to collide with my head, cue shocked howl of protest. Made it to adulthood just fine. šŸ™‚

    Just keep an eye out for any signs of injury or worrying changes in behavior and take them to a doctor to get checked out if something doesn’t feel right.

    Odds are good that they’ll be okay though.

    • stnylan said:

      Thank you for the kind words. On the one hand I know all of this of course. Indeed I know an event like this might one day get worked into a “father of the bride” speech or something similar for comic effect. On other other – well, first time it is one’s own child, it is just hard.

      Anyway, her evening passed pretty much as normal and she went to bed content. We will be keeping an eye on her closely to make sure no ill effect, but it does initially appaer this is just “one of those things”.

      • Bernard said:

        Your heart stops the first few times it happens, doesn’t it. Heh. You’ll get used to the kid stumbling around though. šŸ™‚
        And like Jeromai said: kids are pretty sturdy (amazingly so when it comes to falling and bumping around) and as long as you check for obvious injuries and keep an eye on worrying behaviour that might indicate something not so visible you’ll be fine.
        And sometimes the kid might amaze you when falling! Ingmar hit the radiator last week (it was that or falling full frontal on his face… what a choice) hitting his had pretty hard (with a semi-nasty gap as a result. Had to get it stapled at hospital), but not a peep from him. And a few minutes later he was playing and babbling again, even while waiting in hospital.
        In any case I think kudo’s are very much in order for being able to counter your basic impulse there. Not everyone can at such a moment.

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