What to Do When Babies Fall Over, or Evel Knievel Never Said “Oops”


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    Nothing to be concerned about, I swear

I don’t say “Oops” when Boobaby falls down. She’s a daredevil, so if I did, I’d be saying pretty much nothing else.

We’re pretty physical with Boo — me, especially — and always have been.

  • I learned when she was about five months old that I could support her head through a complete face-to-face barrel roll, and thereafter we rolled daily.
  • At six months, I hung her on the monkey bars and let go, standing ready to catch her.
  • At about eight months, she started somersaulting over the shin-high balance beam. I helped her tuck her head and supported her neck until she could do them herself.

It’s like that every month: she figures out some new tumble and gets all thrilled about it. Ten months was solo swinging, thirteen months was solo sliding, and last month she started belly-swinging and demanding that I accelerate her (that’s what’s in the picture). I swear, I only dropped her on her head that once. And, of course, she got up with a wicked laugh and jumped right back on.

It’s an old saw but a true one:

If you tell your baby to cry when she falls down, she will.

By now, Boo is essentially indifferent to falls, but she will occasionally look to me after a particularly solid clunk. If I seem consternated, if I rush in a panic to her side, then she’ll start to cry. But if I calmly walk over to check her out, she’s fine.

In fact, my favorite tack after Boo takes a spill is to act all impressed:

“Wow, nice one! Was that bigger than you thought it would be?”

Nine times out of ten, her reply to that is an impish grin, as if to say “You think that was impressive? You just wait until I can climb ladders!”

Nothing is going to keep Boobaby from crying after some falls, especially when she’s sleepy or hungry. And after every fall, I feel the panic and worry inside. I just don’t let her see that — if she’s going to cry, she should cry for herself, not because I lead her to it with my terrified looks.