When my first kid was 9 months old, we went to Ireland.
We were dreading the long flight. It went fine. We were dreading the long drives around the countryside. They went fine. What we weren’t dreading was the hotel room we were staying in, or the king-sized bed we’d be sleeping in.
Little did we know that those were exactly what we should have been dreading.
We were on the last leg of our trip around the country of my mother’s ancestors, and our infant son had performed admirably. No, he didn’t sleep on the plane, but he didn’t scream either. He mostly looked around, curious little bugger, and occasionally made other passengers laugh. That’s a major win. (And required no goody bags!)
Yes, when we landed, Detective Munch showed his excitement by having a blarney stone-sized blowout all over the backseat of our newly procured rental car, but hey, blowouts come with the territory I guess.
You know what else comes with the territory? Falling off the bed.
Yup! When we were in that hotel room, I deposited our bizarrely well-behaved 9-month-old on the aforementioned king-sized bed and wandered into the bathroom, upon which I saw something that struck me as funny. I honestly can’t remember what because, after I called my wife in to laugh with me, I basically blacked out. Seconds after she popped in, we heard a thud. And then a cry.
Our precious child had fallen off the bed in a foreign country. There’s not enough Guinness in the world.
When your baby falls off the bed, the couch, or a chair — or you stand him up on his legs before he can even walk and then let go because you’re a moron who knows nothing about babies and then he obviously and predictably timbers like a falling tree, right onto his little face (true story, sorry Brendan and Jaymee!) — your anxiety is dwarfed only by your guilt. Hooray!
When your baby falls off the bed, you have so many concerns, both short-term (Is his nose broken? Does he have a black eye? Does he have a concussion? Do babies get concussions? How can I tell if he has a concussion? Where’s Roger Goodell?!) and long-term (Is he going to be brain-damaged? Is he going to be deformed? Is he going to befriend a gang of well-meaning miscreants in the Pacific Northwest?). Most of which are unfounded, because your kid will probably be fine.
My son was fine. Almost seven years later, he’s still fine, especially if you measure fine-ness in terms of how much of a pain in the ass a kid is, in which case he’s superfine.
Odds are, when your baby falls off the bed (and trust me, he will!), he’ll be fine too*. Those soft little heads prove themselves very resilient. And thank god, because I don’t know many parents who haven’t experienced this little mishap. Kids are fast — both in how quickly they can move when you turn your back for just a second and in how quickly they progress from not being able to move much at all to willfully diving around all over the place like chickens with their heads cut off.
Again, thankfully, their bodies are built for this. Evolution knew how stupid babies would be, and gave them little jelly heads so as to help them avoid any permanent damage.
Parents, however, don’t get off quite so easily. That day the baby fell off that Irish bed, we weren’t fine. Not for a few hours. (It took a few pints…)
And we also weren’t fine seven years later, i.e., about two months ago, when baby No. 2 fell off the bed. Twice! But he’s fine too. Judging by his constant smile, he’s beyond fine. He’s blissful, even. The little dude is so happy, it’s actually kind of weird…
Maybe we oughta get him checked out.