Feeling Like a Really Bad Mom

I have been thinking long and hard about if/how to share this. But I'm going to do it, because I believe that vulnerability can lead to healing. 

The Story.

Let's start at the beginning... it was a beautiful fall afternoon. I picked up my kiddos from their school and we headed to the park. It's the park that's just around the corner from our house and one that we go to often to burn off some toddler energy. 

My oldest, Lulu, has her favorite spots in this park--primarily the swings and springy ducky. After that, she'll explore the playground structure, but she's fairly timid about it. One day when we first went to the playground she went down the large slide, but since then she hasn't seem interested. 

Long story short, I haven't thought much of this slide except I knew that my kiddo wasn't into it. I've seen a few kids go down the large slide and there's a weird turn at the bottom that has a tendency to catch a shoe and bring them to a jerky halt. 

So on this particular day, I decided that maybe I'd try to persuade her to try it again. I started by going down the slide myself, she watched me and laughed and said, "Mommy, go again!" So I did, and this time at the top of the slide I said "Lulu, you should come with me! And she said, "Okay!" and climbed up the jungle gym to join me. She sat on my lap and off we pushed, and as we came to that same curve I've seen countless kids get their feet caught on... in the blink of an eye, Lulu's shoe hit the side and her leg twisted under her little body, wedged between her and me...

She immediately cried out in pain. I wasn't sure if it was just a rolled ankle or something more serious, but my mommy instincts said to take her to the hospital. And low and behold, after several hours at urgent care and many x-rays, tears and lollipops later...we learned that sweet little Lulu had a spiral tibial fracture and would be in a full leg cast for 4-6 weeks. 
So of course, as if there isn't enough mom guilt in this world... I'm over here feeling completely responsible for my daughter's broken leg. We've seen quite a few doctors over the last week and everyone one of them asks how it happens, we tell them it happened on a slide and then before I can get out the next sentence, they say "on someone's lap." Just like that, a statement, not a question.

Apparently this is one of the most common injuries for kids that are 1-2 years old. In fact, they call this break the "toddler fracture" and it most frequently occurs from kids going down slides on a parent's lap. Kids can go down slides alone and if their shoes/legs catch, their own body weight isn't enough to cause them serious injury in most cases. But when you put the force of a 100+ pound adult behind the foot catch, it's too much for their little bones to bear. 

Why is this not a more known thing? Is it, and I'm just the only one that didn't know?!? Shouldn't this be just one of the many parenting no-no's that you hear about...like never put blankets in the crib, never let a baby sleep on his/her stomach, never let babies play with things that fit through a toilet paper roll (choking hazards).

Lessons Learned. 

Long story short, don't put kids on your lap to go down slides. Tell your friends. Tell everyone. 

The first week with the cast on was tough...I'm not going to lie. Tough for Lulu who was suddenly stripped of her independence. Tough for us to watch her get frustrated and have no way to release her energy but to just scream. Tough to not dwell on the guilt and the "what ifs." 

Thank God for my parents who were so incredibly helpful, either watching the baby or staying unbelievably patient with Lu. 

There are a couple of things that Lulu has taught me this past week...

1) Kids are incredibly resilient. Within a couple of days Lulu was finding ways to get around. She started crawling and scooting around, and then started trying to lift herself up to standing positing by leaning on furniture and now, she'll stand straight up without even holding onto anything. 

2) Children have no sense of feeling sorry for themselves. If I had broken my leg, there's no doubt I'd be having a freaking pity party for myself for weeks straight. Lulu on the other hand doesn't know what it means to feel sorry for herself. Does she get mad that she can't do what she wants to do, exactly when she wants to do it? Yes. But she was like that before the broken leg.

We're counting down the days until Dec 7 (cast removal day). It's going to be a long few weeks to get there, but we will make it through and I'm excited for her to be cast-free for Christmas. 

I'm going to follow up this post with another one that's more focused around how to survive a two-year-old with a broken leg and all of the things you need to buy/have. But I didn't want to post that first without explaining the full story.

Pray for us. Lulu was a tough toddler before the broken leg...but now she's really giving us hell! 


  1. I’m so glad I found this old post.... my daughter just had the exact thing happen to her - on a slide, with her Aunt. Thank you for being honest and putting this out there!

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