I am SOOO excited to introduce you to the newest member of our Mama Posse, Mary Swan-Bell.

This is her first of what I hope will be MANY contributions to MomsGetReal.

Welcome, Mary!!


Banged Up Heads and Good Parenting

by Mary Swan-Bell

I kind of imagine this is how the conversation with Child Protective Services might go:

“How was your child injured?”

“Well, ummm…it was kind of like….uh..uh..a slot machine fell on her head.”


Because really, if a slot machine falls on your 5-year-old’s head, you probably don’t have any business raising children, right? Well, I hope not. But a slot machine did in fact fall on my five-year-old’s head recently. It wasn’t really a case of parental neglect. I mean we were pretty engaged in watching the Buckeyes demolish Syracuse in a very exciting basketball game, but we were less than 15 feet away from our daughter.

Our friends have a slot machine in their garage, and since we are doing our best to raise our children with a love of gambling, they were playing with it. Since it’s in our friend’s garage, and for fun not profit, when you’ve used up all your coins, you can unlock the front, retrieve your coins and start over. This was what she was in the process of doing when the entire machine tipped over onto her head.

I watched in slow motion as this machine toppled toward my tiny child, a silent scream escaping from my lips. Paralyzed with fear, I was only able to gasp and point. Familiar with my always capable responses in crisis situations, my husband sprang to action and pulled the machine off her. Fortunately, she was only scratched a little bit and scared. After I held her on my lap for a few minutes the tears (hers anyway) subsided, and a blue popsicle was able to erase nearly all the pain.

I, on the other hand, didn’t recover quite as quickly and squeezed her so tightly that she protested, “Mommy, you’re hugging me too hard,” as I replayed all of other possible scenarios. Here’s the thing: No matter how good of a parent you are, your kids are gonna get hurt. Whether it’s a tumble from a two-wheeler, a twisted ankle on a trampoline, or a scuffed up head from a slot machine, they are going to suffer injuries as part of growing up.

What can you do? Well obviously, we try to avoid any scenario which involves our child being injured. Maybe to a lesser degree during March Madness. But for the most part we avoid potentially dangerous situations. We hover over our kids at playgrounds. We don’t let them ride on two wheels before they’re ready. They still manage to get hurt. So, we deal with it. We beat ourselves up for an inordinately long period of time, and then we move on, making a note in the back of our heads to watch out for falling slot machines next time. And your child? She’ll remember that when the slot machine fell, Daddy caught it, and Mommy caught her.

You can read more amazing stuff from Mary at Adventures in Overthinking.