It was kind of strange to see a little kid fall on the top of his head. Yes, right on the very top of his head! He didn’t fall on his face. He didn’t tip over backwards and hit the back of his head. There was never any damage to the sides either. I’m telling you…this kid fell right on the exact top of his head!
I’d better explain the whole thing to you. Growing up, even at the toddler stage, our son, Doug was tall and gangly. This made it really hard for him as he was learning to walk. His core muscles and balance couldn’t develop fast enough to keep up with his growth. He would take a couple of steps, lose control, and then it would look like a tree being topped. His legs would remain locked but the top of his head would directly hit the ground. I’ve never seen anything like it. I was scared to death he would end up with a concussion. One time he stood up and tried to walk across the patio. Same old story…two steps and thumps! That time, I checked his eyes several times over the next few hours to make darn sure he was okay.
This probably only lasted for a week or two but Pat and I were so worried, it seemed like forever. We knew Doug would conquer this walking “thing” but just didn’t know when.
Our other son, Russ, had head problems, too, but they were of his own making. I remember two of them that could have been quite serious but ended safely. Russ was always an agile kid and wanted to climb to the top of everything in sight. One of the first harrowing experiences I recall took place at the grocery store. We had all gone to Safeway, one Saturday on our weekly grocery run. Back in those days the stores were configured so you had to go through a turnstile to get into the shopping area. Once you had done your shopping, checked out and paid, you were funneled back to the entry side of the chrome rails again. The floor plan and rails automatically guided you from the shopping area to the post check-out area.
Russ and Doug were small, grade school age kids and Terri wasn’t in school yet. We entered the store and Pat headed for the turnstile with the three kids in a line behind her. I spotted a cart at the end of a check-out table a couple of steps away.
I grabbed the cart and turned back toward the kids and was shocked to see Russ with his neck caught in the turnstile and a look of panic on his face. Turnstiles, if you recall, had a revolving head with 3 short posts coming out of it. You pushed on the upper post and the head revolved and let you through and then it was stopped by a detent system. I don’t know how Russ got his neck caught in there and there wasn’t time to try and figure it out. I grabbed the post that was holding him and braced my foot against the vertical pole that he was jammed up against and started forcing the sections apart. Fortunately, there was enough “play” in the system that Russ was able to slide out. It had scared the devil out of both of us but he was unhurt and we were able to complete our grocery shopping.
Another scary one for Russ happened when we were on a vacation trip to Kansas. The kids got bored after a few hours in the car. We were going through New Mexico and had stopped at a roadside rest area to relax, have a snack, and let the kids run around and burn off some energy. The look of the rest area matched the surrounding countryside in that there were a lot of boulders and piles of large rocks. Pat and I went to a table and started getting some snacks out of the cooler. The kids were climbing on every rock in sight and went behind the large rock pile next to our table. All of a sudden we heard the kids yelling for help. We both jumped up and ran around the rocks to see what was going on. There, on top of the rocks, was Russ with his head stuck in a crevice between the rocks and he couldn’t get out. I climbed up on the rocks and was able to see that Russ had stuck his head in this crevice and then when he wanted to get back out had turned his head slightly and it was like putting a key in a lock and turning it. You can’t get it out until you return it to the entry position. I just picked him up by the waist and turned his head a little and he came right out. He had a sheepish look on his face and the whole thing kind of tamed him down for a while. Since my adrenaline was pumping it took me a little longer to settle down.
October 29, 2014