Ada learned this weekend that the quickest way to the bottom of the steps on our back porch is to fall down them. She's fine, amazingly. She really only feel down about seven steps but that was enough to do a complete head-over-feet roll and bend her neck back in a way that creeped both of us out.
Rick and I watched the whole thing happen, with our neighbor standing next to me, and couldn't do anything about it. I was sitting at the top of the stairs telling a story about how I thought I just mailed my credit card to my doctor's office with a bill I was paying (I found it later on the kitchen counter) and he was at the bottom landing with his arms full of potting materials as it was repot-the-houseplants day for us. She fell so fast and time went into a slow motion blur. It was all so surreal. Our neighbor was totally freaked out and worried about her. I knew she was just fine and stayed calm. Rick picked her up and cuddled her. Five minutes later it was all forgotten... minus the tiny scrap on her nose.
This isn't her first trip down the stairs, but it is her longest. She's wiped out a few times on the front steps and gone down like a ragdoll. That's partly why I don't get freaked out when something like this happens. She's built to be floppy at this age... not that I don't encourage parents to watch their children closely around stairs, because I do. She's not indestructible by any means. But I think she's built to bounce. She falls down at least ten times a day. I can't say I'd be in good shape if I fell even twice a day. I also believe in giving kids room to learn on their own and make their own mistakes. My brother and I both tumbled down the stairs as kids. (I don't think there is any lasting damage but others may disagree.) It seems to be a right of passage. Just something that happens.
Moral of the story: Try not to freak out too soon when your child falls. Chances are that they are going to be just fine and their injures are fixable. And only make them wear a helmet in moderation (ie. bikes, skateboards, scooters, etc., not going downstairs).