Shared Custody

Before Ethan was born, I found a crib online that had a door at the end. It was designed to make changing the sheets easier, as you could slide the mattress out. I was overjoyed, as it seemed to be the solution to the crib question, and my in-laws were generous enough to order it for us as a shower gift. Ethan was due in August and the crib was backordered until December, but I didn’t see that as a problem, because I planned on keeping him in a Moses basket in our room at first anyway. The basket worked great, but in November, the makers of the crib sent us an email that a storm had hit their warehouse, and they had no idea when they would have my crib, so they canceled our order.

Back to square one, my mother-in-law and I started looking around for a crib with a front that could be modified by a carpenter. I fell in love with one, we bought it and sent it down to southern Missouri to be modified. I wasn’t as involved in the design as I was hoping to be, and when we received the tailored crib, we found that despite its fabulous craftsmanship, it was not the right design for me. Since Ethan wasn’t rolling over yet, I just put up a toddler rail that ran about half the length of the crib’s mattress to replace the missing front temporarily. Soon, however, he did start rolling, so I got a bigger, sturdier rail that covered the entire length of the crib. It worked very well, and was easy for me to just drop down for easy access to Ethan.

He is nine months old now, and is becoming quite mobile. He’s not crawling, per se, but he does an army crawl that is quite effective. A few days ago, Adam and I were downstairs watching TV while Ethan was playing in his crib upstairs, putting off his nap.

*THUMP thump*

We looked at each other in confusion for a second, and then we heard Ethan’s “I’m serious,” cry. We ran up to his room to realize that he had managed to push the rail out from the crib’s edge and wiggled through the crack, dumping himself onto the floor. As Adam held our screaming baby, I just sat in the glider and sobbed.

This is all my fault. That rail was there because I am handicapped. I am incapable of keeping him safe.

Between Ethan and myself, we probably cried a gallon of tears in a two minute period. When he started to calm down, Adam handed him to me. I held him close and continued with my sobbing. I looked at his sweet little face and he gave me a huge smile, followed by a giggle. He thought my crying was funny.

He was perfectly fine, and we even had an EMT friend stop by and look him over just to be sure, but he was his normal, happy self within 10 minutes of his off-road excursion.

This situation was a waking nightmare for me, because I greatly fear his being injured because of my disability. What if I see him starting to fall and I can’t catch him? What if some modification put in place to make things easier for me makes things harder for him?

The thought scares me.

But, at the end of the day, all I can do is my best and pray that God cares for Ethan in the ways that I can’t. I am happy to share custody with Him. :)

8 thoughts on “Shared Custody

  1. I KNOW you know this, but you are doing an exelent job, and it is at least partially due to your confidence in your ability to figure it out and make it work.
    kids with non-handicapped parents fall out of their cribs all the time. I know that doesn’t make it any easier when it happens to your baby, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t have anything to do with you not being able to take care of him. Babies are tricky little things!

  2. Anonymous says:

    As a parent with AMC, I am here to tell you that you will always blame yourself for physical shortcomings. When in reality, I have watched my non-disabled friends have the same “accidents” with their kids that I blamed on my inability to protect my now 16 yr old son! Motherhood can be unforgiving so make sure not to be too hard on yourself!! :-)
    you are doing great!!

    Angie C.

  3. Nida Clayton says:

    You can beat yourself up about this, blaming it on your disability but in reality these kinds of things happen to all parents (even ones with fully functioning arms). With 7 kids I could tell you a hundred different ways to accidently injure your child. Welcome to the real life of real parents. Someday remind me and I will share with you a few of our stories. =)

  4. Sarah, you have got some very sound and encouraging advice here. I was going to say about the same thing. Ethan’s little mishap is kinda like part of the initiation into parenthood, pure and simple. Don’t let it get you down. :) Also, I have noticed that some kids have more adventurous spirits than others. My youngest boy was the only one of my five to fall down the stairs before he could walk, and he did it three times… every time when I was right there with him! Good thing was by that time I already had a few crib a bed accidents, as well as a karate chop through a glass door ending in stitches and some other bumps and bruises from the other kiddos that we just checked him over and got on with life.

    You are a great mom! I love the idea of Joint Custody. I will have to use that one. ;)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I just had that happen to me with my 8 month old in his swing. I was in the shower and he was in the living room watching tv. All of a sudden i hear a Thump just like you did, I quickly ran out to the living toom covered with soap and water, and found him on the floor screaming. I started cry as well. 1 minutes after he calmed down from the fall, he looks at me with that same smile and laughed!!! Your doing wonderful!!! :)

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