I’m not a helicopter parent by any measure. I stand back and let my son learn things on his own. I let him try new things. I try not to interfere or nag until it becomes a safety issue. I try to keep my “no” items to the things that matter the most so that he understands when I say no, I mean it.
When we started building our house 5 years ago, we had given up hope of having a baby. We picked a model and our FABULOUS Country Joe Homes sales manager exceeded our expectations by adding in the little extras that we loved but didn’t think we could have such as a pantry and a large wrap around front porch. It was our little dream home. We didn’t put much thought behind designing something child-friendly, because we were under the assumption we weren’t having one.
Cue our shock 4 months later when one pregnancy test after another showed up positive.
We were able to make small changes- such as what color to paint his room and what kind of carpet we should get that would withstand the spills of a child. We couldn’t do anything about the large staircase or the location of the upstairs rooms and bathroom.
Here is how our house is laid out (for the most part):
On the 2nd floor you can see that to get from the bedroom next to the master to the bathroom, you’ll have to walk right in front of the stairway. From the time we brought Baby Jack home, this has been a worry of mine- when he starts heading to the bathroom on his own, he’ll have to walk right in front of that huge, long staircase. We watched him a million times run down that hall to the bathroom and back without incident and finally gave him the freedom to leave his room on his own at night. I always hear him get up (we still have him on a monitor) and hear the pitter patter of his little feet trotting down the hall. I never go back to sleep until he is safe in his bed.
Early this morning, the sound of the door opening and his feet in the hallway awoke us at around 4:45am. My husband thought he had been in the bathroom a long time and went to check on him. Jack emerged from the bathroom, gave his daddy a leg hug and proceeded to try and run around him only he cut his turn short and went tumbling down the stairs. In an effort to try and grab and save him from the fall, my husband fell head over heels right behind him. I didn’t see any of this, I only heard the sounds of bodies going down the stairs and of my child screaming in terror. In a panic, I jumped out of bed and ran after them. Father and son were embraced at the bottom of the stairs. I quickly grabbed Jack into my lap to cradle him, put my hand on the top of his head to feel for any growing bumps and then felt the wet, stickiness of blood. Nausea flooded over me; however, I immediately I jumped up, turned on lights and ran to the kitchen where I hoisted him up on the counter to see what had happened to my baby boy. Seeing no gaping wounds, I caught a glimpse of my husband. He was a disaster. Arm bleeding, chin dripping with blood, swollen face. He took the brunt of this fall. I checked Jack from head to toe: barely a scratch. How is this possible? Seeing the state of my husband, I knew he needed medical attention. He stubbornly refused my offer of bringing him to the hospital and told me to just make sure Jack gets to school. Thankfully, my husband only required a couple stitches on his chin and had no broken bones (I’ll bet he’s glad I started making him take multi-vitamins!). He is in pain though with his bumps and bruises (yet apparently not so much pain that he’s able to hold his XBox controller?? Fishy…).
Seriously though, my husband is a hero. He sacrificed himself and did whatever he could to keep our son from getting hurt. True love, man. True love.
My mommy instincts are still screaming even though everything turned out shockingly okay. I know it is time to take action: What are we going to do to keep something like this from happening again? As you can see from the floor plans, there is a bedroom right across from the bathroom. I hate the idea of having him go through such a change (he’s been his current room since birth), but hate the idea of him getting injured on that stairway even more. Sure, we could put a gate at the top of the stairs, but what a pain in the ass those things are to fiddle with, not to mention you can STILL fall down the damn stairs after you go through it anyway.
I vote new room. We can paint and decorate it up and make it feel like it’s truly “his” room that he can be proud of. It will get him closer to the bathroom, remove the issue of the stairway and may even get us over the overnight bedwetting hump. Now to get my husband on board with this idea…
What are your greatest mommy (or daddy) fears? Did you take specific action to keep them from coming true?