Sunday, June 1, 2008

Lost and Found

Before I continue with this, let me just say that the Boy is Fine. I, however, will be having nightmares of What Could Have Been for a long, long time.

Yesterday was rainy, so after we went to get our kitchen island, which finally arrived at the local market, we decided to go out to a new chinese place and then to see the new Indiana Jones movie with the kids. Patrick is old enough now to see more action, and young enough that things I wish he hadn't seen pretty much go over his head. Other than having the kids hear more swears in two hours than they'd ever hear in their lives total, it was a great time and fairly kid-appropriate.

High off of the fun time, we arrived home in good spirits. Josie wanted to ride her bike around the block, so off she went. A moment later, Patrick wanted to ride his scooter with her, so out the door he went after her.

Now, in our new neighborhood, and actually in the entire town, there are alleys that go through the neighborhood that link people's garages to the regular neighborhood roads (all the homes are on the street with detached garages at the end of the back yards). They're basically driveways-come-sidewalks, and the neighborhood kids ride their bikes and play in them in almost complete safety from cars. The only time they're really traveled is around 5pm when people are coming home from work, but everyone knows that kids are usually back there, and since they're not two-way, anyway, everyone has to go at most 5mph.

So, the kids are allowed to ride their bikes back there, etc, without my worrying about them overmuch, especially when they're together, just in case someone takes a particularly bad spill or whatnot. Josie is allowed to go farther, of course, while Patrick is supposed to stay just in the area near our house and not turn any corners. (Can you see where this is going?)

While the kids were outside, DH and I took the opportunity to finish installing our new dishwasher sans interruption. About ten minutes into it, one of Patrick's neighborhood friends, Ron, came over looking to play. I told him that Patrick was out back riding bikes with Josie, so head on back around the house. He stood there looking at me and said, 'No, he's not. I saw Josie go by, but not Patrick.'

Come again?

Well, kids being what they are (ie, unable to see through air), I didn't think much of it, and figured that Patrick was probably in the garage switching scooters or something, so we headed off to have a look.

Patrick wasn't in the garage.

He wasn't on the playset.

He wasn't in the alley.

He hadn't come inside the house through the basement door.

I walked a full circle around the block, and ran into Josie. She hadn't seen him.


By this time, DH knew what was going on, and we were quickly going from mad to red-alert status. It was definitely one of those 'he'd better be hurt because if he's not I'm gonna hurt him myself' situations. I mean, I didn't WANT him to be hurt, but it was the only explanation I was willing to accept at this point for his obviously leaving the neighborhood on his own.

After another five minutes had passed, several other neighborhood folks had joined the search. Nothing.

Finally, Josie rode up and said that DH had found him, and was on his way back with him. In a minute, they came into view, and I could see that Patrick had been crying. Apparently, what happened was that Patrick got it into his head to try and follow Josie without telling anyone, including Josie, who had ridden on ahead. When he got to the place where he could turn right, to follow her around the block, or left, he mistakenly chose left, and left the neighborhood. He actually ended up on the sidewalk of the main road, and after a few minutes of trying to figure out where he was, sat down and started to cry. Two women saw him, a grandmotherly type and her daughter, and pulled over to see if they could help; they were walking with him back the way he had come when DH found them.

OMG. What if they hadn't been helpful people!?!?!? What if my baby had been 'found' by a Stranger?! I am so thankful to those women, who I will never know, and can't even thank, for taking my baby under their wings. It could have ended so much differently. Never in a million years would I have thought that he would end up out there; I thought that he had probably run across some boy and decided to play on his swingset or something. He has wandered off before, but not since he was a very small child (when he was a toddler we had to put a chain lock at the top of the door to keep him in the house, because he thought it was funny to run out of the house when I went to the bathroom, and could unlock all the doors). The whole episode makes me want to scrunch him up and stuff him back into my womb.


Kristin.... said...

Oh man. Poor Patrick. Poor YOU. And it's one of those scenarios that makes you want to rant and rave at him, but at the same time hug and hold him and kiss him and tell him NEVER to do that again.
I hope things were calmer after that.

Creative Kerfuffle said...

love that phrase--scrunch him up and stuff him back in my uterus.
i admire the fact that you kept your cool (at least it sounds like you did), but frankly my heart was racing just reading it.

Swistle said...

OMG! This makes me want to get electronic chips implanted in all the kids! And maybe get one of those electronic fences that would shock them if they got too far away!

Susiewearsthepants said...

When something like this happens you don't know whether to tan his hide or hug him and never let him go. I'm glad everything turned OK. BTW-stuffing back into your uterus could prove to be a mite difficult, but hey, it's worth a try!

desperate housewife said...

Stuff him back in! Ahh, if only... Glad everything turned out okay! The more mobile my kids get, the more I worry.