Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Heart Stopped

The first portion of this post was written yesterday morning...the second half was written today.

After about 10 hours alone with Eliza I start feeling like the Hulk. Like most toddlers Eliza can push and push and push and PUSH! On the weekends when my husband and I can take a breather it is much easier to be a good parent. During the week I often feel like I can't get away to take that breather I need. I start getting angry and frustrated with her and it turn become upset with myself.

Eliza is a high spirited energetic child with LOTS and LOTS of personalty. I love this about her and it drives me nuts at the same time. I know so many of her personality traits are strong and positive- or at least they will be when she is an adult. It is so frustrating to want your child to be strong willed but not want her to be strong willed against you. I want her to be persistent-just not persistent about not putting a diaper on every single time.

I do not believe in giving time out- except for mommy. I strongly believe that to discipline is to teach and not to punish. We live in a country where discipline is often synonymous with punishment and in my experiences as a teacher and as a parent punishment does nothing. If a child DOES respond well to time out- something much gentler would also have worked. The truth is-punishment wouldn't help Eliza anyway. I would basically have to sit on her to get her to stay in one spot anyone. I obviously have strong feelings against time out. I think it isolates children and doesn't teach them anything. I truly believe there is always a better way than to punish. Finding ways to parent a spirited child has been a challenge.

So that is what I wrote yesterday morning...and here is today

Yesterday was not a good day for us. I took the kids out to play in the morning. I had Jude in the double stroller using the car seat attachment. Eliza didn't want to ride so she was playing at the playground. For the most part she was listening but she of course she was being Eliza. We ended up playing with two little girls from a cross the street- or development.

Jude woke up and it was almost lunch time so we started to head inside. The little girls crossed the street/parking lot to go home and we were walking towards our door when Eliza decided to bolt out into the road towards the girls. Now, like I said it is more of a parking lot than a street but cars do come flying in all the time. I assume i was acting on reflex or instinct and ran out to grab Eliza. It was only in that moment I realized I did not hit the foot brake on the stroller. As I turned around I saw the stroller moving quickly down the sidewalk, down the curb and onto it's side with Jude strapped in the car seat. I think my heart stopped when I realized what I had done. When I saw that there was no way I could get to the stroller in time-even though I tried.

Everyone ran over to the stroller and I unbuckled the now screaming Jude. What happened after is a blur but we somehow got everyone upstairs. I called my husband and he called his mom to come over. I started nursing Jude to try and calm him down. Everyone was visibly upset and I was borderline hysterical. I called the pediatrician and they said that I should observe him for the next couple hours.

I have tears in my eyes every time time I picture it in my head. I really don't know how I could have been so careless. I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't had him strapped securely into his care seat. I don't want to know. Luckily, shortly after the incident he was his normal smiley happy self. We continued to observe him for the rest of the day and thankfully he is OK.

This is one of the reasons I avoid taking the kids out alone. Eliza is unpredictable. She KNOWS she isn't supposed to run into the street. It isn't like we let her play in the parking lot. I have been reinforcing this rule since she was able to walk. She is a very smart little girl. However, a 2 year old has no concept of danger or what could possible happen as a result of her running out into the road. She wouldn't sit in the stroller yesterday and would throw a tantrum or go limp if i tried to hold her hand. Like I said, she is strong willed. She was very upset about what happened to . She told me that she ran in the street and Jude fell over in the BOB in his car seat. Will this incident prevent her from doing it again? I doubt it.

Ultimately it was my error that resulted in the accident. I know accidents happen but I feel horrible. I am just so happy Jude is OK. I think it will probably be a while before I take both kids outside alone.


Beth said...

Oh Danielle. You are a WONDERFUL mom. Thank god Jude is fine but that could have happened to anyone. I could totally see myself having done the same thing if my two-year-old ran into the street. I was just telling Patrick I think we need to get into the habit of using the brake on the stroller every single time we stop whether we need to or not. That way it becomes habit. We were at the mall the other day and the stroller started rolling away as soon as we took Jules out because we forgot to use the break.

Funky Food Trisha said...

I am so glad everyone is okay. I would suggest giving Eliza some choices. Since she can't handle staying close to you, then she can either ride in the stroller or use the Mommy Loop. Get a gorgeous length of ribbon. Tie two slip knots on either end and attach one to your wrist and the other to the back loop of her pants. It was all that stood between my son and running into the street for awhile. Finally he decided it was better to hold my hand.

We had to leave the house almost everyday when the boys were under 3. The dudes are only 20 months apart so I was where you were:) I was a better parent when I was out in the world. Any chance of rotating friends houses for playdates? Less of a chance of stroller rolling or street running indoors:)

Lori: Teacher Turned Mommy said...

first take a deep breath and realize that both your little ones are fine. Your reaction was to help Eliza, it's not like you ignored Jude because you were concerned about Eliza. I always park my stroller sideways on the sidewalks to that it can't roll. I too have had my double stroller get away from me and it is scary, so I can't imagine watching him fall over. You can't beat yourself up.. you are doing the best you can with your two little ones

Anonymous said...

wow..i can only imagine how that must have been for you. that is a fear of mine, too, when i have another one. N is a very "strong willed" little guy too.
good luck the next time you venture out. i am sure you all will be fine!

Marcy said...

Honestly, if I had been in that same situation I'm not sure I would have remembered to put the brake on the stroller before running after my child either. It is so easy to beat yourself up over stuff like this, but you're doing the best you can and that is amazing.

This is kind of an aside but every one in a while my mom will start talking bout the things she did "wrong" with us when we were growing up. I always laugh b/c I think it's ridiculous-- we're all grown up now and have turned out to be pretty great people (if I do say so myself) so obviously none of those mistakes really mattered much. That's probably a good thing to remember for us now as we parent our own young kiddoes...

As another aside, have you read Raising Your Spirited Child? You may have since you did use "spirited" to describe E... but a friend suggested it to me and even though I don't count D as full-on spirited, it was helpful to read a lot of what they had to say. Helps you understand where they're coming from, and give you multiple ways to try to work *with* them to help everyone deal with potential problems.

Pam said...

I'm so sorry for all you are dealing with. You are a great mom who loves her children more than anything in th world. I'm glad everyone is okay- but honestly, I think I would have done the exact same thing you did, it could have happened to any one of us.

Christy said...

Accidents happen. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Maybe you could establish a new rule - you only go outside if E will sit in the stroller too. If she refuses, then don't go out.

Being a mommy is tough.

Amanda-The Family News! said...

I am glad everyone is ok. I know how you feel though about going out alone with the kids. My two are 16 months apart and even though Avery is now 3 he doesn't always listen like he should. He is VERY active and spirited. He never slows down and will just wear you slam out. Then there is Lauren going on 2 in a few months...
I only go out with them alone like to the store where I can secure them both in a shopping cart. Otherwise I am having to chase them in two different directions. I always heard it was a whole new ballgame with two - it's SO true!
Take care - it's tough but worth it!

CC said...

HUGS! This sounds so awful on every front. I am so sorry this happened, but glad that Jude seems to be doing okay!

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

I agree with everyone else - accidents happen. Thankfully, Jude wasn't hurt. But accidents can't always be prevented.

I love the "Mommy Loop" idea. I would also suggest giving her a choice between two things. When we walk in parking lots, etc, Ladybug knows her choices are 1) be carried, or 2) hold hands. I don't often have to remind her now, but every time we went someplace, I gave her a choice.

You are doing a GREAT job as a mom!

La Mama Naturale' said...

Oh yikes! Glad to hear that Jude is doing okay (except that I just saw your FB status- hope his tummy is okay). Anyway, I would have been shook up too! What a tough situation to be in. Tristan has ran off a couple times- it's so hard and scary! Hang in there mama!