I saw a video today of a teen who reminded me of the boys when they first regressed… and reminded me of just how far we’ve come. We still have a long way to go, but considering where we started, they’ve grown in leaps and bounds!
Specifically, it reminded me of one of a few days where I was the most scared. I generally feel prepared to handle most things with my kids, because I overly prepare. So there are few times in my children’s lives where I was absolutely terrified. Which is a huge deal considering my kids have no real concept of danger.
This particular day was when Tyler was about two and a half so Justin was three and a half. I woke up and the kids were still asleep. Odd, but maybe they’re finally starting to want to sleep in. This was pre-melatonin and essential oils. So we usually were up until about 11pm and woke up around 4:30am assuming everyone slept through the night.
I went to the kitchen, got their drinks and breakfast ready. I didn’t want them to sleep too late, so after about 10 minutes of getting things around and not hearing them wake up, I went in to get them up.
Justin and Tyler had separate rooms; I went in to wake up Justin. He popped up, and ran out of the room to go find his drink. I walked into Tyler’s room and saw he managed to push the A/C unit out of the window.
Hopefully it’s not broken. I look around and don’t see him. Maybe he’s in the closet.
“Tyyyyylerrrrrr. Where are you?” I sing sweetly. I open the closet door and he’s not there. I pick up the covers… and he’s not there. He’s not in his room. My heart beat picks up speed as I start to panic. I look out the window and see his “babies” and sippy cup. I run through the house yelling for him. “Tyler?!?!”
He’s not in the house. I put Justin in his highchair and run outside. I jump off of the porch screaming “TYLER?!?!”
We lived out in the middle of nowhere. The speed limit is 30, but the cars drive at least 50 out here. All I could think was I would run to the road and see him dead in the street.
I screamed again “TYLER!!!!!!!!!” Praying. Looking around trying to figure out which direction to run. It seemed like an eternity in only a few seconds. I chose Nana’s house. She lived up the hill from us and has a pool. We were just talking about how we needed to put a gate on the steps… and he can’t swim on his own just yet.
Faster than I have ever ran.
I’m screaming his name as I run; my heart pounding. Praying I don’t find his body on the bottom of the pool. I reach the top of the hill and see him running towards me.
Relief surges through me and I start crying. I drop to my knees and hold him close. He’s smiling ear to ear and giggling.
I carry him back down the hill. Thanking God for watching over him.
Later that day we went to the pool to swim, and I see his FAVOITE blanket on the bottom of the pool. He never goes anywhere without that blanket. All I can think is if I hadn’t found him at that exact moment… if I had waited 5 more minute to “get him up”… would he have been down there with his blanket too by the time I found him?
We fixed his window so that he could never push it back out (even if we had to drill holes)… and my need to have my kids learn how to swim was even stronger than before.
Wandering, elopement, bolting and being drawn to water with no understanding of danger is still a real threat to our family and many other Autism families.
For us, we try to teach our kids the safe way to do things rather than keeping them away from the threats… because that one time that we may not be there to keep them from it, we’ll be thankful that they know how to be safe, even if they don’t understand the danger.