Heads Up

Yesterday I tweeted the following:

Flora: We played dodge-ball in gym. I got hit in the head. Me: who hit you in the head? Flora: I forget. #duh

I meant it to be kind of a funny story, and maybe some people got a laugh out of it. But then I got a little paranoid, thinking people would think I was being flip about head injuries.

What with all the awareness about concussions from the NFL, and Sidney Crosby still out for the Penguins, head injuries are no joking matter around here.

And then I thought, “I have got to stop smoking this dope! It’s making me paranoid.”

Just kidding, dad.


When Flora was five months old, she fell out of my arms.

I was reaching for something with one hand, and holding her on my other side, and she decided it would be fun to try a backflip.

Fortunately, she kind of bounced off the counter before landing on the floor. She screamed her little head off.

I called 911.

When the paramedics showed up, they were dealing with a crying baby and a traumatized mother. The EMT checked Flora over, and said she was probably fine, but offered to take her to the emergency room for a CT scan “just in case”. He pointed out that she hadn’t lost consciousness and was crying were excellent signs.

I wanted the CT scan, so we got ready to head to Children’s Hospital.

Before we left, the EMT asked if I wanted to call anyone. I said I wanted to call my husband.

“Okay,” he said. “This is very important. Listen to me.”

I was listening.

“Do not say, ‘I dropped the baby.'”

I sniffled.

“Do not say, ‘I dropped the baby,'” he repeated. “You didn’t drop the baby. The baby fell. Every thing’s going to be fine.”

I went upstairs to put on jeans (I was still in my pajamas), and call Dan. I repeated to myself, “Don’t say you dropped the baby. Don’t say you dropped the baby.”

Dan answered his phone.



In Flora’s class, if someone throws a dodge-ball, and a player gets hit in the head, the person who threw the ball is out. I remember back in my day, some kids used to aim for the head.

Not me, I used to cower in the back hoping no one would knock my glasses off.

I took a couple of blows to the head as a kid. I have clear memories (oh the irony) of falling off a toy carousel in our basement and hitting my head on the concrete floor. I also remember wiping out on my bright-yellow-with-a-banana-seat bicycle in a neighbor’s driveway and smacking my head on the ground. These were the days before bike helmets were de rigueur.

And I’m just fine.



Flora was fine; the CT scan showed no head trauma or swelling. She didn’t even have a bruise.

On the other hand, I was still pretty shaken up when I picked Dan up from work.

We started the drive home in silence.

Finally, Dan said, “Look at is this way.”

There was a long pause.

“Now she can only be as smart as your side of the family.”

15 thoughts on “Heads Up

  1. Oliver crashed into another child last Friday, head to head contact. They called to tell me and said they couldn’t find the school nurse. (It was conference day, not a regular school day. The few kids that were there were in all day extended day. They were not really sure if she was just out, or not there at all.) He hadn’t lost consciousness but had a big purple lump near his temple. There were calls, texts (including photos), more calls. In the end, the nurse was found and she was able to evaluate him thoroughly. No concussion symptoms. It was a harrowing 45 minutes. Not something I hope we ever have to do again.

  2. FWIW A fellow classmate pushed me off this wooden thing at recess when I was 6 (because I was taking too long, not out of particularly malicious intent) and I hit my head, very hard, on the wood. I’ve always thanked him for my above average intelligence, as that really wasn’t something I exhibited until after that day 🙂

  3. Jamie fell top to bottom on our stairs a few months ago and I freaked out. We live around the corner from a hospital so I raced down there (after getting a neighbor to take Liam to school) and had him checked out.

    They looked at him acting completely normal and said “he’s fine. Go home.”

    I’ve learned that kids can take a lot than we can when it comes to that.

    • I’ve had people apologize for knocking Kate over (she tends to not pay attention to where other people are), and I just say, “Don’t worry about it. She’s pretty tough.” But my kid falling down the stairs would freak me out too.

  4. I used to get hit in the head seemingly any time I played ball… bad-hop baseballs between the eyes, volleyballs upside the head, dodgeballs right in the mush… and I turned out just fine!

    Now I just have to noseflap my moccasins past the bacon changer.


  5. I leaned down to pick up a diaper I had dropped when my middle child was 8 weeks old. (He was in my other hand.) When I stood back up, I nailed his head on the right angle where our wooden garage shelves meet. Big bruise. Broken skin. Lots of tears (from both of us).

    My husband took him to the Children’s Hospital ER for a CT scan while I rocked back and forth on the couch and cried. He was fine. I’m still not. Scary, scary day.

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