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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Superhuman parenting: super speed

It was like one of those moments you hear about. You know the ones: Baby is about to leap off some precarious ledge and a mother covers a ludicrous distance in time to stop certain death for the child. Or there's the common story of the child (who has the propensity to sink faster than a man's heart when forced to watch "Twilight" with his wife) that ventures to the side of the pool only to be snatched out of the air by a father who just swam an Olympic-sized pool in under two seconds to avert the disaster.

I believe these moments are real - a moment where sheer parenting adrenaline flows so purely that a parent has super powers for a small snatch of time. I've heard enough of these stories from credible sources that I have to believe them. Every parent has one of these at least once, right?

So there I am in church, watching my three children while my wife played prelude music. One child I have given a tithing envelope to take to the bishop while the two girls, 3 and 10-months old, stick with me on the bench. I glance back and forth between my son, who I am watching with a proud smile as he delivers the envelope, and my 10-month old, who I know to be the tricksiest of tricksters.

One glance I spent a moment too long adoring my son, and when I returned my gaze to my daughter, she was falling upside down and backward off the bench. Time slowed down. It was like one of those movies where, you know, time slows down at a critical juncture. I watched as my baby fell, twisting into an upside-down awkwardness a few feet away. I felt those mighty parental juices flowing into my veins like pure injected Slushee. I knew I could catch her. Just as her head was about to bounce off the floor, I completely failed to snatch her out of the air. Yep. I did nothing. My parental juices spent way too long in the injection phase and forgot to move into action phase. My arm was still resting on the pew when impact occurred, despite all the slow-motion hubbub.

But luckily the juices flowed now. You have never seen a father snatch a baby off the floor and abandon his two older children to disappear from a chapel full of people wondering what caused the loud bump shortly before the baby started screaming. So while those things may happen to other parents, mine has a delayed kick in. It's like my brain had to have time to register the danger before my body would react. All systems were go, but I'm pretty sure I still wore the proud smile from watching my son with the tithing envelope when her noggin hit the floor.  Even my emergency system has to boot up first. So while I respect these stories when I hear them from others, so far they just don't happen to me.


  1. I actually think this happens far more frequently than the SuperHuman, you were sitting down...nobody can get to Superman pose from a seated position, it's just not done. ;)

    1. Hadn't thought of that. Makes me feel better. I'll now proudly stand through Sacrament meeting to be able to have more Superman moments. However, I once witnessed a mother go from tanning herself laying down to across a pool in about two seconds to try and save her baby who just rode a tricycle into the deep end. That said, I was still the one that saved the kid because it happened right next to me. No special reflexes required.