Saturday, May 25, 2013

Wandering: When prevention doesn't work.

To blog when you are frustrated, when you feel like you have been pushed beyond what you can take is never a good idea and yet, here we are.

Today has been a craptastic day. Anything that could break has broken. anything that could be made a mess of, has been made a mess of. any fight that could have been fought, has been fought. any request that could be denied, has been denied. I hate this day. I have had enough. and then there's more. I'm not mad at the comment, I'm mad at the situation. I'm mad because there is nothing to be mad at and I need to be mad at something. I'm so freaking tired, so stressed out. I am so thankful my brother showed up just at the time I really needed a break. but I'm still frustrated.

This is my front door. There are 3 locks.

We recently had to turn the garage into extra living space which means we lose the garage as the main entrance to the house. This shouldn't be a big deal except now we need to leave the front door unlocked for people to come in and out. Friday (oh, man, was that only yesterday!?), I kept "losing" Alex. Not that he was really lost, he was actually where he was supposed to be but he was too damned quiet so I decided I couldn't take it. The people who live here are going to have to ring the doorbell like a visitor to be let into their own house until I get alarms because I'm terrified I'm going to lose my baby. Rational FEAR.

So, today, Alex disappeared around the side of the refrigerator. I didn't hear him knock on the door to signal turning around and coming back so I went to look. There he was, in his diaper, doors open, cold rain pouring down, getting ready to step onto the porch. I ran, caught him and brought him back. The top lock is broken. It won't stay slid up in place. So, I make sure he's safe, calm down and crack a joke.

The top lock on the front door broke now... unspoken question answered. Yes, Alex will still run out the front door. in the rain. naked. Don't worry, I caught him before his foot hit the front porch.

Did someone mention a full moon?

and it's suggested that now might be a good time to talk about wandering prevention. I'm reminded that 3 autistic children (the ones who made the news)(the ones who weren't just a close call) died this month. I don't need tragic stories to tell me that death is a more than likely outcome to wandering. I live with that fear every minute of every day. I want to ask what you want from me.

we have locks on the windows.
we have locks on the doors.

 we have a fence around the yard.

we have gates.
Alex has a gate on his door so we can sleep at night.

this is where I work and play.

this is his stroller. (thank you, Rae!)

He wears a harness.
I know perfectly well what happens when prevention fails. I know the risk. Alex is with me always. I just recently started letting him play in another room in the house without following him. 
My 11 year old son goes to the bathroom with me because I can't leave him alone even for a second, I have a finger print and slobber covered mirror on the back of the bathroom door just so he will coo at himself instead of bolting while I am occupied. 
My hand is always on him when we leave. He is always in arm's reach, even on the playground. I watch my kid. I am the ultimate helicopter mommy and still, he gets away. The safeguards fail.

I have told you about Alex's wandering. I have told you what I do to prevent it. I have given you links to Elaine's Harnesses and My Precious Kid- where I bought Alex's ID bracelet. I have sent you to Bacon and Juice Boxes for hints and tips like the PDF file with all of the information first responders need and taking a picture of your child before you leave the house for an accurate description, I have given you links for the Big Red Box... for when the safeguards fail.
We don't lose our children because we don't do everything in our power to keep them safe. We don't lose our children because we don't know the risks. We don't lose our children because we don't know it's a likely possibility. I talk about prevention all the time. What I need you to know is that safeguards fail. Locks break.



  1. Thank you Mama for putting a voice to all of us who live in a Fort Knox world with our eyes never leaving our child, but they are Houdini's and yes, shit happens and there is no fail-safe!

  2. We have misplaced James a few times usually by him silently wandering away. He has been brought back to us by complete strangers before we even knew he was gone! It is freakin' scary and even the most diligent of us have lost our kids! PEACE

  3. I have "lost" my children many times, and not for lack of watching. But the best is when they silently appear out of no where. Usually right behind u when ur head is in the fridge, then u fall over them on ur way out, tho not till u see them staring at u with a smile and u don't really know what that smile means. It might mean "oh yay! Dinner time!" Or it might mean "she is not going to see me till its too late again"

  4. My son is pretty high functioning but we still have some worries about him wandering, trying to leave school. Been there with the three locks and windows, too. Of course, we definitely dont have your stress leve and I can certainly pee without keeping my little ones by my side. Bless your heart.