I have written more than once about my son running away. It has happened to us more times than it should. To be honest, it shouldn't even have happened once. As you know (if you read my blog) we have put many environmental controls in place to stop him. We have a double sided lock on our front door that requires a combination to get in and out. We built a new bigger and better fence and we put a GPS on his person. We stopped allowing him to play in front of the house even though he loved to and we totally secured the back. We don't really like the fact that we have to limit his world all the time but it is for his own safety and so we do. It does make us sad because he loves to be outside and so we are always trying to find ways to keep him safe and give him access to the things that he loves. It is not easy to find solutions but we try. We have hired someone who comes on Saturdays and spends the entire afternoon walking around the neighborhood with him. We never leave him unattended outside, we are constantly on watch. It is difficult to manage life this way and so wherever we can we try to find ways to give him freedom and still maintain our sanity. Easier said than done.
About two weeks ago my husband figured out a way to tie the front gate closed in a a manner that my son could not figure out how to open. It was a great solution because this way my son could be outside and we didn't have to worry. It even worked for a bit. Until today when as usual my son outsmarted us.
My car was being washed in front of my house. I told the man washing my car that I was tying up the gate and that he shouldn't open it when he was done but that he should text me. My son was hanging inside the locked gate watching him and watching for the mailman and believing him safe I went back to work. About 20 minutes later my phone rang, it was my new babysitter telling me that Yonatan had run away. I ran outside and started down the block where I found the car wash guy running and searching for him. I looked up and saw him about a block and a half down and took off after him. I bumped into a neighbor of mine who saw me and told me she had been driving around following him because she didn't have my number. She was pretty sure this outing was probably not parent approved. Um,Yeah, Probably not! I hopped in her car and caught up with him about 4 blocks from our house where another neighbors babysitter was chasing after him trying to keep him safe as he ran through the middle of the street.
How did Houdini do it you wonder? Well I did too, until the car wash guy explained to me that he hopped over the fence. He was there one minute gone the next. For a minute I thought, wow, totally didn't think he had the gross motor skills for that (secret proud parent moment) and then thought, oh shoot, do I now need to build a new fence. Not going to do that. So back to locking him in the house I guess.
I hate that we always have to take things away from him. That the response to this is always to limit his life more than it already is, but what choice do I have. As his mother isn't my most important job to keep him safe and alive?
You know what was most interesting to me about todays escape? I was totally calm. It was actually weird to me. Usually I am flustered, out of breath, sweating profusely and furious. This time, I of course took off running but I wasn't gripped by the usual fear that over takes me. I am not fully sure that I understand why. The same issues as always existed. He could have been hit by a car or kidnapped. He could have fallen and gotten hurt. Somehow, I wasn't nervous about any of that. Maybe it was because of the really nice car wash man who was out searching for him, or the fact that I know that everyone in this neighborhood knows him and looks out for him. Maybe it is because I know he won't get lost because he has an incredible sense of direction. Or maybe it is simply that I have been in this movie so many times and I feel confident that I already know the ending. Or maybe I am finally losing my mind.