The Safety Dance

Well, our little Houdini is at it again.

We try to keep it safe and locked down around here, but the truth is he is getting older and bigger and smarter and he’s figuring it all out. See, most devices and locks and whatnot are for BABY PROOFING. Not IAN PROOFING. Even autism-specific products.

We have padlocks on our front and side door. We have a safety bar in the slider. We have alarms so that we can hear the doors open. Magnet locks on all cabinets. Keyed locks on every door in the house.

He figures it out. Every single time we’ve added another safety measure to our humble abode? He figures out a way around it. He can spin combo locks and sometimes gets it right. No matter, he can hop the fences and gates now (a six foot stockade fence doesn’t stop him. What do we do now? Barbed wire?).We put double keyed deadbolts on our door? He climbs out the window. We bought a locator device. It has to be attached to clothing. He takes his clothes and shoes off. We bought tattoos. He scrapes them off. friend of mine uses sharpie on her kid. I’m doing that next. At least if he gets out, I’ll get a phone call. I hope.

This past weekend, my husband and I discussed getting a GPS or some sort of monitoring system for him. If he’ll wear it. But we’ll try anything. He hadn’t run away in a long, long time. Like, over a year. I mean, we haven’t had to call the cops in two years! Awesome! And, since we got him his OWN trampoline, he hasn’t run to the neighbors around the corner to jump on theirs. WIN! He occasionally still hops the fence to our next-door neighbor’s house to play in their sand, but we can see him and ask him to come back and he climbs back over and that’s that. Last week, he went two houses over and stole a patio chair to bring on his trampoline (because our nine patio chairs aren’t enough, I guess). So we decided, this weekend, that we would look into more safety measures. We realize that he needs to learn NOT TO RUN AWAY. But with spring happening fast and more time outside, we also know we need to keep him safe in the meanwhile. Especially with many of my neighbors having pools. OY.

That was Sunday night. Monday afternoon? He was home for TEN MINUTES. We were outside, I was scooping up dog stuff (because he is never looking where he walks, always at the sky) and I heard the gate SLAM. I jumped up, ran over, POOF! Gone. Couldn’t even see him. I ran in to grab the babysitter and my other son to look for him and we went in different directions. My brother’s neighbor, who lives in the next town over just happened to be driving down my street and said, “Are you looking for Ian? I think he went towards the park!” I made it to the park, he looked up and saw me and took off running towards the other end to the playground. DUDE! I didn’t need to work out today! I caught up with him and he looked defeated, shrugged his shoulders and sighed. Then he took my hand and we went home.

I only caught him because that end of the park is a DEAD END.

Next time, he might run further away. Next time, it’s likely no one will see him and know where he belongs.

I don’t want there to be a next time. So we’re looking into services that are in conjunction with local law enforcement. If you have issues with wandering or even if you DO NOT and want to get more safety information, I suggest you start here at AWAARE. Consider it insurance. Hopefully you won’t  need it.

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