Sunday, February 27, 2011

In Which Sam Decided to go to the Game, and gets Picked Up by the Police

At least once or twice a year, something will happen in a mother's life that will not only terrify her, but make her feel like the worst mom ever to walk on the planet.  I had one of those moments last night.

Last night, I decided I really needed to get out of the house for a bit, so I thought I might as well run to the store and get one of those take-and-bake pizzas at Wal-Mart for dinner... since I am not feeling very domestic these last days of pregnancy.  Nephi really wanted to go with me, but Sam, lounging on the couch in his underwear, told me he wanted to stay home with Daddy.  I was fine with that, who wouldn't be?  So I left Sam with Ben, and took Nephi to the store.

We got back about an hour later.

Nephi and I walked in and Sam was no longer on the couch.  Ben was fast asleep.

I called out to Sam, thinking that maybe he was in the bathroom or snooping around in Ben's office area -- he always looks for treats in Ben's stuff when he thinks he isn't going to be caught.  But Sam was no where in the apartment.  So I did what just about any mom would do... I started to panic... and freak out.  Then I went and slapped Ben awake yelling that Sam was gone.

I ran out of the house in panic and scanned the parking lot yelling out for him.  No sign.  I ran to the back yard to see if he went out to play in the snow... no Sam.  I went back out front and went over to the parking attendant.  Now normally we don't have a parking attendant, but if there is a game on campus they use our parking lot for fans and charge parking fare.  Last night there was a basketball game and so lots of people were walking around our place.

The parking guy saw my panicked look and before I even opened my mouth he asked me if I was looking for a little boy with blond hair named Sam.  "Yes!!  Where is he!!!??"  I called to him.  He told me that Sam had come appeared about 30 minutes before and he was greeting the people walking to the game.  They told me he was all dressed in his boots and coat and they thought he might have just gotten lost so they called the police and they came and got him.  He wouldn't tell the parking guy where he lived, only that he lived "by the sandbox" and pointed to our backyard and that he ate pancakes for breakfast (the highlight of his day).

Ben, at this point, came out with "I am the worst dad in the world" face on, and I let him hold that thought for a few seconds for a little revenge for not watching Sam better.  I was relieved that Sam was with the police, and the parking guy had their number just in case we showed up looking for Sam, but I was so sick in my stomach and I just started crying and shaking... I couldn't help it.  Every horrible, worst scenario was running through my head.  And as ticked off as I was with Ben, for some reason, I could really only blame myself.  I shouldn't have left him... I should have just taken him to the store with me.  I knew Ben was tired.  I should have just sucked it up and took both boys with me.

Sam had never done anything like that before.  And I was physically and emotionally sick about it.

The police were fast to get there and they asked us some questions to verify that Sam was really ours.  I thought we were going to be chewed out for not being better parents, but they were actually pretty nice about the whole thing and actually had a fun time driving Sam around.  Apparently he had been very entertaining.  He told them his name and when they didn't say his last night right, he actually spelled it out for them.  He told them that he had pancakes for breakfast and lived by the sandbox.  The thing that really impressed the officers was that when they put him in the car and then they themselves got in, the driver didn't put his seatbelt on, and Sam let him have it!  I mean, Sam really told him how naughty he was for not wearing his seatbelt.  The cops thought it was pretty funny to have a five year old telling THEM, the seatbelt law-enforcers, about safety.  I held Sam when he got out of the patrol car and told him he scared the life out of me and never to do that again!  The officer thought I was telling Sam off because I was crying... but I wasn't... and he told me not to be mad at him, that he is a smart little guy and he did the right thing in the situation.  I wanted to say, no, leaving the house when Daddy went to sleep was not the right thing... erk.

They asked me if I had child safety stuff on my door and I told him we have every kind we are allowed!  With a kid like Sam we take no chances... but he is so blasted smart!

Anyway, it all ended up alright.... but even now, the next morning, I am still sick about the whole thing.  What if he decides to do it again?  Wakes up before me... or leaves while I am in the shower or something like that. I am totally unnerved!  Right now I am trying to focus on the fact that he is safe.  That for some reason there is a small army of angels watching over him.  And that he is asleep in bed right now and I am awake first...

Now, if this experience didn't put me into labor... I don't think anything can!!



Annette said...

Wow, I'm so sorry you're feeling this way! I also have a special needs child who's done things that scare the life out of me, so please know that you have someone who understands.

Also, I know you blame yourself, which is natural, but I've found that I can't dwell on it; it'll just drive me even more crazy! My only suggestion is that use this to take all the precautions you can (in addition to whatever else you already have done) to prevent this from happening again. If you talk to Sam and explain what is expected of him, maybe that will help? I've had talks with my son and although he's still learning, I can now worry less about him taking off and whatnot.

I'm probably not making any sense, sorry! I wish you the best of luck and hope you know you're a good mommy!

Jenifer said...

OH my heck. I don't know how that DIDN'T put you into labor. Glad you have a smart little boy and that everything turned out ok. I don't know how many times I have left my girls with their daddy and when I get back he is snoozin' and they have destroyed the house. MEN!

Anika and Sean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anika and Sean said...

Oh my gosh, I had a similar experience about two weeks ago, but not quite as traumatic as yours. That is THE WORST feeling ever…. Not knowing where your kid is. I’m so glad everything turned out okay.

Amy said...

Oh Catherine, that is just utterly terrifying!! This was NOT your fault. For heaven's sake Cat. You had every right to think that he would be safe and ok at home. Sam is just a very smart boy, and it was bound to happen sooner or later. I hope that he learned something and I am so glad that he is safe at home.

Daddy Nut said...

Just for everyone's information. I was asleep BEFORE Catherine left the house.

Mama Nut said...

Don't go there, Buddy! I woke you up before I left. I knew you would probably doze off again, but I didn't think Sam would take advantage of you and take off!

Jill said...

Now, you two..... it's both of your fault for creating such a smart little boy. ;) Just laugh about it and be glad he's safe. I would have been terrified as well. Thankfully all turned out well. It kind of makes me laugh he could get out with those chidren's knob covers. Our home teachers can't even get out the door with those. ;)

Haley said...

I'm sorry you had to go through that! How scary! I really do relate to the physical and emotional trauma dealing with worry about our little guys, I mentioned this on facebook, but my son had a surgery then we were in the ER with complications on Friday, super scary. I feel we can relate to each other so much this weekend!
It was funny to read that Sam kept the cops in line about the seatbelts and all. What a kid full of personality!
I'm glad all is well now.
I'm anxious to hear when you have your baby, it's getting so close! Hang in there!

Mostly Diane said...

I had that happen with my son when he was 3. I left to pick my daughters up from school and both my son and his dad were sleeping. As I was driving home, I saw my 3 year old boy walking alone down a busy street. My husband was still asleep and never heard him.