I can’t remember if I picked it up backwards and was turning it around or if I just didn’t have a good grip on it, but I dropped the TV remote. I’ve dropped remotes before plenty of times and have never written a blog post or even tweeted about it. Especially when it lands on a bed. But this time, my three-month-old daughter’s head happened to be lying delicately, trustingly, on that very bed.
I saw it flipping around like a helicopter blade as it spun out of my reach. Sure enough, the remote hit her square in the head. Her fussiness turned to abject screaming. That piercing kind where her voice goes hoarse after half an hour. That walk that was going to put her to sleep was postponed for anything I could think of to try to calm her down. I tried the five S’s as I power walked around the house, pacing back and forth from room to room. I tried to feed her, I did a puppet show for her, I even hit myself in the head with the remote while laughing to show her it was fun. Nothing worked. I have never said sorry so many times in 30 minutes. This is the first time I’ve actually seen tears reach beyond her eyeballs.
I am a horrible father. This is my sixth day on the job and I just hit my child in the head with the TV remote. Any other job and I’d still be in a review period and fired on the spot without repercussion. In fact, I toyed briefly with the idea of not telling my wife. But I feel like she would know anyway. Not because of motherly intuition, but because I was still crying when we picked her up from work. I spent an hour on babycenter searching things like “hit baby in head with remote” + “brain damage” + “can guilt last forever” + “therapists in DC area.”
Yes, I likely overreacted. As Derek told me, I will do a lot worse to her as time goes on. He always knows what to say. But this situation put me on even higher alert for everything I do. Rounding corners with Mabel in my arms, securing the pillow fortress around her when I go to make her bottle and holy crap, the stairs! I hate the stairs. I have two cats that could be lurking unsuspectingly on any stair in the house at any given point in time. I panic and have been panicking about these things for months. Now I just have to add to the list my remote control (pun very intended and not apologized for). There is a certain guilt that any harm done to her due to neglect will obviously bring, whether I could have stopped it or not. Bee stings, bike accidents, etc. I’d just prefer to limit the kind of guilt after having actually performed the act of harming her to this incident and maybe one other. I’ll let you know when that one happens.