That time I dropped the baby…

First time parents…

No baby was as stressful for me as my first. I didn’t grow up with younger siblings and so when I became a father I was an absolute rookie. As such, I lived those first few months in a state of perpetual terror that my baby would somehow spontaneously combust if I was not tending to him at all moments.

We bought all the gadgets and the expensive diapers. We called the doctor when his cough “sounded funny”. I yelled at a sweet old woman at the grocery store for trying to touch our son without first dousing herself in hand sanitizer. We were pretty typical first time parents, which is to say that we were a couple of nervous wrecks.

Then, in the fall when our son was about three months old, my wife’s mother became very sick. She had to fly to Chicago to see her and so it was my first time flying solo as a dad.

The week was pretty uneventful. I slept even less than usual but no babies exploded so I considered it a major win. Finally, my wife was flying home, anxious to see her baby boy, when her flight was delayed.

She called me in tears, stressed to the max about her mom and missing her son. I was at my parent’s house when she called, doing my best to put her at ease. As I was talking to her on the phone, I was also changing my son’s diaper. My diaper changing routine included this nylon mat which came with our diaper bag that we would sanitize after each use. I put the mat on the ottoman and the baby on the mat and commenced with changing his diaper while gently reassuring my wife that she would be home soon and that everything was going to be ok.

As it turns out, in the right circumstance, those sanitary nylon mats are just tiny baby bobsleds.

I was mid-soothing sentence when the kid just sort of flooped on the mat, head first off of the back of the ottoman.

Before I go any further I should say that there was a stack of pillows behind the ottoman which he landed on and that he was perfectly fine, it was just baby’s first backflip. But I was the guy who thought babies might just suddenly explode and so my reaction was commiserate with said fear.

I dropped the phone and leapt to pick up the baby. He was fine until he heard my screaming which made him scream as well. Our screams prompted my parents to scream and so the room was suddenly filled with screaming people and a crying baby.

Meanwhile, my wife is stuck at an airport, hearing this play out through the phone I dropped.

I was shaking, as I held my son, thinking I’d broke him. My dad could hear my wife’s muffled voice crying out for answers on the phone and so he leapt into action, retrieving it. This was ten years ago, and his phone skills were not yet up to par. He held the phone up and said, “Adam dropped the baby…” Then for some reason he started pushing buttons and accidently hung up.

I imagine this was the longest redial of my poor wife’s life.

I gathered my wits and picked up the phone by the fifth ring. Needless to say, She was less than pleased.

It took some convincing and some cell phone picture evidence but I was able to reassure her that our son was ok. Looking back, we both laugh at it now.

Lessons learned?

1.Babies are resilient.

2. Chill out about the whole dad thing and it’s way more fun.

3.Throw out those stupid vinyl changing mats.