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The knee jerk

February 16, 2010

A few weeks ago I blogged about Piper falling at school and hurting her forehead.  What I didn’t mention that day was what they told me when I picked her up:

“She falls down a lot.”

“Um, wow. Well, ok.  Considering that she just learned to walk a month ago I’m not really thinking that’s such a problem, especially since you chose the day you let her almost crack her head open to mention it. But thanks for the heads up daycare ladies.”

Ok so I didn’t actually say that. But I thought it over and over again as I drove, crying, to the pediatrician to find out if she needed stitches. Obviously I was a bit upset, however I really don’t want to be That Mom who doesn’t listen to her child’s caregivers because her knee jerk reaction is one of defensiveness.  I’m defensive because I’m not the one there to notice that she’s falling down a lot.

For the record, I don’t know that I would notice if she’s falling down a lot. What is a lot? How do you measure that? Is it how many steps she walks in a row before she falls? Does it count as a fall if she doesn’t watch where she’s going and bumps into stuff? What if she’s able to steady herself before she actually falls down? What if she tries to?

I didn’t want to be dismissive just because it stung. They are with her up to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  They are certainly capable of noticing things I may not and I never want them to feel like they can’t bring something up to me because I’m going to be rude or dismissive.

So I asked the doctor. I also mention that all but one of the other children in the room are older than Piper. The doc says that they’re probably saying she “falls a lot” because compared to the other kids in the room, she does in fact, fall a lot.

This made sense to me, and the next day when the daycare ladies asked me what the pedi said, I told them. They looked at each other… and I could just tell. They think I’m That Mom who has decided to not listen to anything they say because of the knee jerk working mom guilt reaction.

I tried to tell them that I just thought she was still a new walker and so obviously still learning. I wasn’t saying that there wasn’t a chance that there was a problem. I was just saying that I thought it was too soon to decide that there was a problem. A lot of the reading we did indicated that new walkers had trouble because they were constantly looking at their feet and so walked into things like walls and doors… Piper never looked at her feet and so tripped pretty often (tripping is different from falling, something else the pedi and I discussed). I asked them to keep an eye out for what leads to the fall. Was she simply falling down with no apparent cause all the time, or was she tripping on things? If she was tripping, I asked that they start reminding her to watch where she’s going, and encourage her to look at the ground sometimes and see if that helps.

It’s been a month since that conversation and Piper’s walking has greatly improved. She watches where she’s going. She reaches out to hold on to things when she’s crossing a threshold of some kind. I can see they worked with her a lot.

Whether or not they think I’m listening, I’m thrilled to find that they are.

Someday soon I’ll tell you about flashcards and storytime and my struggle with figuring out how preschool works.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2010 10:00 pm

    you pay them…i would certainly hope they are listening! one more reason why you chose this daycare! glad P is in’t walking into things or falling down 🙂

  2. thenextmartha permalink
    February 16, 2010 11:02 pm

    Holy crap. My first son fell so much that there were few weeks in his life when he didn’t have a bruise on his head. Now? Sure he’s still not the most coordinated but he’s fine. Also my 2nd walked much later (14mths) and he hardly ever fell. For them to judge one baby is for them to be ignorant. Maybe her brain is developing other skills right now and balance is 2nd. Grrrrr. Just watch my kid and unless something is profoundly wrong, shut up.

  3. Mandy permalink
    February 18, 2010 4:31 am

    i can’t believe she won’t sit and read or look at flashcards. whoops. i ruined the story.

    dumb asses. um, she is 13 months old…of course she falls down a lot.

  4. February 26, 2010 3:02 pm

    Girl, K still falls a lot, but it’s mainly because he gets so excited and doesn’t watch where he’s going. At Piper’s age? Yeah. He needed a helmet, for real. He actually has scar tissue on his forehead maybe permanently from falling so much and hitting the same exact spot every time. The pedi said that’s totally normal. I sort of think she’s just being nice and would prescribe him a helmet if she could. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

  5. May 16, 2010 5:52 pm

    That’s what kids do! I love our daycare and am thrilled to have them, but sometimes i question the things they say.

    Like when one of them said “Do you know your son is shorter than everyone else here?” I almost responded “That’s because of all the coffee I give him.” What do you want me to DO about this shortness?

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