When I saw the bloody scrape on my son’s forehead, the first thing I thought was “His mother is going to kill me.”
The fact that I’m here to write this column proves that ultimately wasn’t the case, but the situation that led up to that thought was quite harrowing nonetheless.
Earlier this week, I opted to take the baby with me as I went to give our two dogs their evening walk. I’ve done this on my own many times over the last 14 months, but the method I use to bring the child has evolved over that time as he’s gotten bigger.
Initially, I would strap him to my chest in one of those child carriers and he would just look all around while we walked the dogs. Whenever we can, we like to all go as a family, but sometimes one of us has too much to do or is just too tired to take part. This particular night was the latter for my wife, so I happily offered to take all the boys — both our dogs are males — on my own.
Lately, because our son has surpassed 30 inches in height and is closing in on 30 pounds, we’ve been pushing him in a stroller instead of strapping him to one of us. He sometimes gets bored and nods off earlier than he should in the stroller, but I’ve found it’s easier to fight to keep him awake than it is to walk all that way with an extra 25-plus pounds strapped to me.
Our main stroller is well-designed for walking and balanced in such a way that it’s almost impossible to tip over accidentally. However, I took a little tricycle-stroller combination the boy received for Christmas because it was closer to the front door.
I would ultimately come to regret that decision.
It’s designed like a tricycle on the bottom, so my son sits much more upright and hasn’t come close to falling asleep in it since he received it. Since he’s too small to reach the pedals right now, it’s got a handle so I can push him, but when he gets bigger, it’ll convert into a regular tricycle.
I explain all that because it’s not the most sturdy of vehicles, but as I wasn’t planning on going faster than a brisk walk, I wasn’t too worried about it. However, I should have been concerned because it turned out walking two dogs and pushing a baby is not as easy I’ve previously made it seem.
After I popped the tricycle’s front wheel up a curb with one hand while tugging the dogs forward with the other, the contraption tipped over as I lifted the back wheels up the curb. I immediately dropped the dogs’ leashes and went right for the stroller, but couldn’t catch it before my poor little boy scraped his forehead on the sidewalk.
As I righted him, I was terrified he was seriously injured and he immediately started wailing at full blast. I quickly unhooked him from the tricycle and cradled him against my chest and within seconds he had stopped crying and seemed unconcerned with the injury, which I cautiously took my first look at.
I felt horrible. I am responsible for keeping him safe, but it was my fault he got hurt and was bleeding. Granted, it wasn’t much blood, but any blood is too much. We turned and headed home to get him cleaned up and taken care of. By the time we got back to my wife, our son seemed to have completely forgotten about the accident and was his usual happy self.
My wife wasn’t mad at all, as she understood it was just an accident and he was fine, but she did require me to pose with his bandaged head after we got him all cleaned up.
“It’s like if you bounce a check,” she said. “You have to take a picture for the wall if you bring the baby back bleeding.”
William C. Wadsack is the managing editor of the Herald Democrat and a first-time father. He never realized just how expensive children could be until the birth of his son. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WCWadsackHD.