Sunday, October 28, 2012

Take a little trip with me

In my experience, if you’re going to fall down a flight of stairs while carrying a baby, it’s best to do it at around 3am, when the sleep deprivation will have you all woozy and shock-absorbent.

Of course, some might argue that if you’re carrying a baby, it might be better to avoid falling down the stairs altogether.  This is a compelling argument, but one that is easy to ignore when you’re stumbling around the house in the middle of the night with your brain running in standby mode.

It all happened, as these things do, so fast.  One second, I’m walking down the stairs with Zack in my arms, quietly suggesting to him that maybe, after seven months, it would be okay if he decided to see what sleeping through the night felt like.  The next moment would cause me to seriously reevaluate my nocturnal footwear decisions.  From here on out, whenever I purchase white gym socks, I am basing my decision entirely on which socks have the highest coefficient of static friction.

See, Dr. Rowe!  I was too paying attention in physics class.

My heel slipped off the front of the (thankfully) final step, and I went down like a sack of potatoes, taking my tater tot along for the ride.  As two generations of Todd men sailed through the air, I hope Zack appreciated that Daddy’s reflex was to clutch him tight and take one for Team Todd.

The thud echoed through the house, followed immediately by Zack’s cries.

There’s nothing scarier than causing harm to your offspring.  Most parents, if given the choice between losing their own pinky finger in a table saw accident or having their kid get a little paper cut would, without hesitation, choose the paper cut.  But they’d feel really bad about it afterwards.

The timing seemed strange for this to happen, since I’d just added “tripping while carrying Zack” to my mental catalog of things to fear.  I’d filed it alongside the fear of having my cell phone fall out of my breast pocket and land in a toilet, and the fear of drinking a wasp that crawled into a Coke can while I wasn’t paying attention.  About a week before it happened, I’d realized that it COULD happen, which is why I’m never drinking a Coke outdoors again, or going to the bathroom.

It also seemed an odd coincidence that this wipeout happened so close to Halloween, the time of year when we celebrate our deepest fears, and also festoon our department stores with Christmas decorations.

“What was that?” my wife Kara called down the stairs, alarmed.

“Nothing, it’s fine,” I gasped, not sure if that was true.

I’d landed hard on my backside and elbows, and was only somewhat comforted that I could tell the difference between the two.  The important thing, though, was that I didn’t fumble our child.

I limped around the room apologizing to Zack, who settled down almost immediately.  He’d been frightened by the fall, but hadn’t been hurt.

I wanted to explain to Kara that I was a hero, but it’s hard to be the hero when you’re also the idiot who caused the problem in the first place.

“He’s fine, everything’s good,” I said, looking up at Kara as I placed Zack into his swing, clonking his head on the plastic mobile on the way in.

“Dude, seriously?” his wide eyes said.

That happened about a week ago, and we’ve navigated the stairs successfully many times since, perhaps because of the crampons I’ve strapped over my socks.  Undeterred by the incident, Zack still insists upon an audience around 3am every night.  If this keeps up, it might be worth a shot to try from a few steps higher next time.

You can crawl into Mike Todd’s Coke while he’s not looking at


  1. You did great. I remember once doing a perfect split - my one and only - while falling with the baby, who remained unscathed. I'm proud of that.

  2. You're not alone in that feat. Like you, I managed to fall 2 steps to the bottom, holding my child too. He was none the worse for wear, but I managed to hobble around for days.

  3. Thank you both for letting me know that, by wiping out while holding a baby, I have joined an exclusive and elite club. While we work on the secret handshake, may I suggest a motto? "We may tumble, but we never fumble."