If there was a test to become a parent, like there
is to drive a car, I would fail.
When it comes to my three kids I fly by the seat of my
pants. I mean, how else would I end up in the triage unit of my
Pediatrician's office on my first day alone with our 11-month-old
On the first day! I am terrified to think of what day 10
is going to look like!
As I'm gripping him in my panicked stricken arms and
bloodstained shirt, what do I see framed on the walls? An article
from Chicago Parent magazine writer Caitlin Giles. Our doctor liked
the information so much he framed it and put in on the wall as an
example of excellent parenting.
I am the polar opposite. I am the schmuck who let his baby
roll off the changing table and smack his face on the
You heard it right. He fell on the floor like a country
ham, splat! Face first. All because I forgot to refill his diaper
bin on the changing table and needed a swim diaper for the pool.
Odd because I usually let him swim in a normal diaper. Seriously,
how funny is it when the diaper expands so much that the baby looks
like a junior member of the Clumps?
But not this time. This time I chose to use the swim
diaper and went for the "dash and grab."
You know it right? When you need something that is just out
of reach so you take off like the Flash, grab what you need, and
fly back to grab the baby before he falls, chokes or smears his
foot in poop.
After three kids, if the dash and grab was an Olympic
sport, I'd win the gold medal. The diaper was in the closet.
I could see it, I just couldn't reach it. Logically, I told
the baby, who understands zero of anything yet,
"Buddy lay still, daddy will be back in four
His response of course was to start to roll, the second I
turned my back, because again, babies don't understand
you. If I would have said, "Buddy, the roof is open on
the shower and the cat needs a shoe shine in the front yard," he
would have done the exact same thing.
I thought I would make it there and back. I am a marathon
runner. I am an Ironman. It was only 12 feet away.
But I failed to reach the finish line. The result? A
bloody, broken baby and a completely freaked out dad feeling like
the worst human in the world because I let my son fall to the
ground and break his arm.
The doctor tried to calm me down as he put on his orange
camouflage cast (Bears orange with blue trim) saying he has treated
thousands of babies who have fallen off the changing
His advice for the future: The dash and grab never works.
You are setting yourself up for disaster. Never leave them up
there. It's easier to put them on the floor or carry them with you.
It takes a few extra seconds and saves a trip to the ER.
It's at this time that I remember a piece of advice I got
from a friend right before our oldest daughter was born. "Kids are
like a brand new piece of glass that has never been touched, they
are pure and perfect. We will put our prints all over them and
maybe even leave some dents and chips, but the goal is not to
My boy definitely has a "chip," but he will be better in
four to six weeks and the rest of him is still strong.
This experience taught me a great lesson about parenting.
We will all make mistakes as parents - big and small - because none
of us are perfect.
Comparing yourself to the standards of something you read
in a magazine or see on TV is just going to cause you misery. We
will all mess up, again and again. The goal is to learn from those
mistakes, adjust, and keep moving forward.
Sure, I am cut off from sex for the unforeseeable future
but that too will pass. My son's arm will heal and I will continue
to do my best to make sure that my kids are safe, healthy and
David Wallach thinks SAHD sounds sad. He’s a D.A.D. A Dad All Day!
See more of David's stories here.
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.