Known Johnson

February 2, 2008

Off the beatin’ path

Filed under: General — Tom @ 9:45 am

I have hesitated to post about this because, well, it’s one of those “sensitive subjects” that people whisper about. After it happened I thought it was something I should write about but fear of being judged held me back. Now, however, I realize that I can’t let that hold me back. A couple of days ago, I hit Amanda – entirely accidentally, but I hit her nonetheless. And it was horrible.

Simply put, the zipper on her jacket was stuck and, when she clambered into her car seat before setting off on our long voyage home after work, I tried to get the jacket off. But the zipper wouldn’t budge – it had part of the jacket material bound up in it’s mechanism and only grudgingly moved under great force. So pull and pull, I did – one hand down and one hand up, until finally it broke free . . . sending my left hand flying into Amanda’s chin. I gasped in shock and immediately hugged her and told her I was sorry, and she simply sat there staring in shock for a good 20 seconds. And then the tears and crying came. And it was horrible. I caused this. I hurt her. It was an accident, yes, but it was my fault. The anguish on her face and in her voice was all because of me.

It made me think over the past couple of days about those disgusting assholes who seemingly happily abuse kids, even ones her age (2) or younger. How? How could someone do that and not feel the horrible, sinking, awful, louse-like feelings I did from a simple accident that left no mark and probably shocked more than hurt? There are people willingly cutting and bruising these helpless little people and laughing in the faces I saw her make. That’s heartlessness, that’s all I can make of it.

I will never be good at child abuse. I just found this out, and I’m pretty thrilled about it. It’s good to find these things out early – why waste precious time later on failing at being abusive when you could have attempted to simply be a decent, and hopefully great dad?



  1. Poor Amanda. 😦

    Don’t worry, though, you’re not the only one to accidentally smack your child. I’ve yet to smack Sammy, but I’ve knocked her head into a wall a couple of times when carrying her and poked her with a fork once (only once!) and also between using one hand to get her of the dishwasher and her refusal to sit down, she went smack down onto the floor on the kitchen (just a few days ago). I swear I’m the most accident prone person, my poor child has no choice but to suffer along with me.

    Comment by bekah — February 11, 2008 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

  2. I’m sure we’re not alone, it just seems like it never happens because no one ever talks about it. I guess it goes unmentioned for fear of sounding like you’ve really been abusive, but really I think parents would feel so much better knowing that someone else did something they feel guilty about.

    You have no idea how many times I laid awake at night when Amanda was younger, when she was more dependent on being carried around, worrying about dropping her and always hearing the sound of a hard-boiled egg’s shell being cracked against a table, imagining her head smacking into something like a table, or the floor, or walls, etc., accompanied by that sound. It gives me shivers just thinking about it now.

    Comment by Tom — February 11, 2008 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  3. I used to have nightmares (before she was born) that I’d hug her and head would pop off and go rolling across the room. Kinda like a Barbie doll head… it wasn’t bloody or gruesome, but it made me nervous to hug her when she was brand-new.

    Comment by bekah — February 13, 2008 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

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