It had to happen: today N took her first tumble down the stairs. She’s just fine—I was more shaken up than she was!
I’m not sure how it happened. N often climbs up and down the stairs, and has for many months. Usually we are beside her, but she frequently goes up and down by herself without a problem.
There was nothing out of the ordinary today—she just happened to trip and began tumbling down several steps, landing hard at the bottom. I was across the room and turned just in time to see it happen. Time slowed down and I ran to her in slow motion, helpless and unable to catch her. By the time I got there she had just landed on the floor.
I scooped her up and held her very close for a few minutes, then began asking her questions: “Honey, where does it hurt? Can you turn your head? Can you lift your arms up above your head? Can you move your legs okay?” Everything checked out, except that she had a red mark on her leg. She cried a little, then asked for a Cinderella Band-Aid for her leg.
Once we calmed down we went about our morning. As we stepped out the door, N hesitated for a moment at the top of the steps, then said, “Mama, I being careful when I go down the steps.” She proceeded to climb down on her own, holding onto the railing with both hands. Brave girl!
As I drove her to day care, I thought about how N will probably remember her tumble down the stairs for a long time (she has terrific long-term memory). Her memory of falling will be a powerful reminder to use caution when she is going down steps. As her parents, we can tell her to be careful until we are blue in the face (as I did this morning about 10 minutes before her fall) but her own experience is truly the best teacher.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I will EVER stop telling her to be careful until I am blue in the face. That’s just what mamas do. But I will also be glad for the experiences that will teach her important life lessons.
Here’s one life lesson I hope she learns sooner rather than later: your parents are usually right—like when they tell you to be careful going down the stairs—so listen to them!!