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Thud, Silence, then the Scream

Anyone who has been around small children is likely more than familiar with hearing a Thud. The Thud can occur at any time after a child learns to move on their own. I’m not going to talk about the accidents that can occur when a child rolls over, though. I do want to tell you about an incident that occurred when my twins were 3.

The Thud always occurs at the beginning of a sequence. These are the variations of the Thud sequence that I recognize and you may also be familiar with them:

Thud, Silence, Laughter. This is the ideal situation and generally only occurs when there’s more than one child involved. Typically, the child who didn’t Thud starts laughing and the Thud child goes along with it.

Thud, Silence, and more Silence. This typically happens when the child is alone and its a minor Thud. If your child is not alone, it does not mean your child is not hurt; it could be that your child is afraid, or doesn’t want to cry in front of the friend.

Thud, Silence, Crying. This sequence can occur whether the child is alone or with others. The crying occurs because there is a minor boo boo, nothing life threatening.

Thud, Silence, Scream. This is the one that reaches into your soul. You can hear this whether your child is alone or with others; it can even occur after the Thud, Silence, Laughter if it’s the other child doing the laughing.

The Thud, Silence, Scream is what I heard one afternoon while the twins were supposed to be taking a nap. At the time, the twins were still sharing a bedroom. They had graduated from their cribs and were in toddler beds. The beds were arranged similar to hotel room beds, parallel to each other with a couple of feet in between them. The beds had tubular steel frames for the head and foot boards; and the side rails were connected by bars from one side to the other.

On this day, they had gone upstairs to take their nap. As usual, I could hear them (over the intercom) spending some time chatting and horsing around before falling asleep. At the point where I thought they were going to sleep, I heard the Thud.

When you hear the Thud, you don’t react immediately. You wait. You NEED to know what happens next before you know how to react; or before you know what you’re reacting to. The silence      seems     to     last     forever    but it passes is less than a second. Then comes the blood curdling SCREAM.

I don’t know about you but my knees are shot. But I didn’t let that stop me from taking the steps two at a time on my way to the bedroom.

When I opened the door and took in the scene, I laughed.

My Darling Daughter was standing away from the main scene as if she had nothing to do with anything I was seeing. Both mattresses were off the beds and leaning against walls. DD’s bed was shoved off to the side. DS’s bed was on the floor on all four legs in the middle of the room. And my Darling Son was laid out on his back on the floor with his arms and legs spreadeagled under the bed.

My immediate conclusion: they had stood the one bed on it’s end and my Son had tried to climb it like a ladder. At a certain point, the physics and dynamics and the center of gravity caused the bed to tip and fall back to the floor. The Son was fine, just trapped under the bed. I raised the bed and he crawled out.

And I cried a bit inside when I realized what could have happened. The scary part: if the angle had been a bit different, the bed would have crashed into the window. I’m sure the upper legs would have broken the window and my Son would have fallen through. And fallen 20 feet to the wooden deck below.

So I did what I suspect any rational Dad might have done. I bolted the beds to the wall. I’ve always been a fan of Rube Goldberg and I engineered the new arrangement in a way that required tools to detach or move the beds from the wall (lag bolts are wonderful things).

What Thud story do you have to tell?

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  • Brooke

    Ow. No funny story, yet. You’ve had years to get over the fright of what might have been. I just got here, so I’ll need time to stuff my organs back down from where they’re all lodged in my esophagus. Glad they were both OK.

  • Bob Snitchler

    The years don’t dim the intensity of the feelings you have at times like this. We can just hope to keep the number of these times to a minimum. Thank you.

  • Doug

    Yep have had many already. Dresser pulled over while climbing but bed was positioned to catch it. Then the tumbles off forklift & bounce house to asphalt. The head thud is the worst no wait the silence after said thud is the worst

  • Bob Snitchler

    Doug, you’re right about the head thud. My kids wear a helmet while bike riding, skateboarding and skating. But they can’t wear a helmet 24×7. You’re lucky on the dresser. Your hardware store or Kids-R-Us should have straps designed for attaching furniture to the wall to eliminate tipping hazard. Thanks for reading.