This time of year is tough. Lots of people are away on vacation and I've got two kids trapped in the house with me. The sky is clear for a change, the temperature mild, and yet here we three are, stuck in the house together. The obvious thing to do would be to pack some snacks and a couple bottles of water, and take these guys to the beach or to the park or for a hike. When I'm feeling particularly brave, I do that - when I'm at my most alert and energetic and focused. But on days like today, when I'm pretty alert, and more energetic than I was yesterday, but still not feeling very frisky, and not very focused or grounded at all, going out is a scary thought.
No one would understand if they had never gotten the phone call: "Hello, Mrs. _____, this is Officer _____, and let me first assure you that everything is fine...." Except that everything isn't fine, or at least it wasn't always fine or Officer _____ wouldn't be calling.
Gus was lost once. He was with a family member who had taken the kids to the park - MM must have been about two, so Gus had to be four, or about to turn four. The family member picked up MM and then went to return a shovel or some other such thing to a mom, taking his eyes off of Gus for a second. But that was all it took. Gus took off, left the park, and was gone.
Twenty minutes or forty-five minutes - I have no idea how long he was missing. No one called me - not even the family member (which in retrospect, was probably the best thing for his health at the time) called me to tell me that Gus had disappeared. The call came after the police found him and had returned him to his caregiver.
Gus, it seemed, had left the park, walked about a quarter of a mile,or maybe half a mile, had gone into a building garage where someone had apparently just pulled out, and gotten stuck inside when the door closed. Another resident of the building (I hope she's hit lotto by now or has been blessed in some other miraculous way) found him and called the police who were already searching for him. I think we were all being watched by some powerful angels that day.
So now, it is very rare that anyone takes the two children out alone. I've been pretty insistent about a one-to-one ration when the children are out of the house. Even when we had the babysitters this weekend, there were two people here because you just never know with Gus. He just gets these ideas in his head and acts.
This leaves me with a dilemma. I know I watch my kids more carefully than anyone else, but what would happen if Gus were to get one of those impulses and take off? I know my own limitations and I've never been the swiftest at acting reflexively. Do I go after Gus in that instance, or grab MM and hope she's not going to put up a fuss (unlikely) to go and chase after him? I certainly couldn't leave her to go after him.
This is the reason I'm still sitting in the house at noon. We've already had lunch and I'm wracking my brain for the next thing to do. I suppose we'll play a board game. Perhaps if we're very lucky one of the neighbors will come out with their kids. If I see these guys getting really antsy, I may have to go and knock on some doors. It's been a long six hours that we've been awake, and the coming six, until Daddy comes home, are not looking like they're going to go any faster.