I had just finished changing Mack’s diaper and I was nursing him.
Micah and Moxie had been watching a show on Netflix. There was a…stillness in the air. Since I am deaf, it’s the stillness that I rely on with Moxie – not the sounds per se. It’s the vibration in the air, and trust me, with Moxie, there is a lot of vibration in the air!
So, I was sitting on the ground, holding Mack and felt that stillness. I asked Micah to go and check and see where she was. He got up, walked around the apartment, couldn’t see her, came back, eager to resume his show, “no Moxie”.
The air was really still. So I stopped nursing Mack and got up, walked around, couldn’t see her. I wasn’t terribly alarmed. The back door was closed, after all. To be on the safe side, I still went outside to the yard, walked all over, calling and checking. My biggest concern was that she had fallen asleep somewhere (she hadn’t had a nap and I knew she was exhausted).
I went back upstairs, did another sweep. I was really nervous now.
Where had she gone? WHERE?
I went back to the room and was looking under the loft bed (was she asleep down there?), my palms were sweating by then, I couldn’t see her and I had no idea – none – where she might be – it was like she disappeared in thin air.
Micah came to me, ‘Mommy, someone is knocking at the door.”
Oh my God.
I went to the door. At the base of the stairs were two women that seemed familiar. I think I’ve seen them walking around our block. One of them was holding Moxie. I rushed down.
One of the ladies said that they saw Moxie TRYING TO CROSS THE STREET.
THE BIG STREET.
She said she had collected her at the curb corner and they had been trying to find who she belonged to, where she lived, when our neighbour’s “friend” saw her and told her where we lived.
SHE WAS TRYING TO CROSS THE BIG STREET.
I thought I was going to fall over right then and the hysterics were bubbling up.
And HOW, I wondered, HOW DID SHE GET OUT???
This was a mystery until long after I had shut the door after thanking the kind women. Long after I had collapsed on the floor in big huge ugly crying. Long after my shaking had somewhat subsided.
Because Moxie tried to make a break for it again – and I saw how she did it. She took Micah’s step stool that he uses on his chair like a booster seat. She took it and placed it at the back door and slid the lock open and opened the door handle.
Frankly, I don’t give a shit how great her fine motor skills are or how clever this child is. Because when I think of any or all of this, I start shaking and the tears flood my eyes and I think my heart has stopped again.
This is the thing: I had just read my friend’s blog post on her son doing something very similar! It wasn’t that I didn’t think it could happen to us – I knew it could – it’s that I didn’t think Moxie would figure out how to get out if the door was locked.
So far, this is hands-down the scariest thing I have ever experienced that seems to relate directly to Down syndrome. This bolting, fearlessness thing. For those of you that are not familiar with this, it seems like a lot of kids with that extra chromosome have a lack of fear as well as a propensity to just…go. Bolt. Lead with their desire first .
Moxie definitely has this and I spent the rest of last night thinking through what we could do about it, in light of my deafness, in light of the Pan Am, in light of the fact that we still live on the second floor and will for a few more months.
I bought over $100 worth of baby gates. They are going to effectively seal off one room, the room in which she will need to play in when I am nursing/feeding Mack. We can bring them with us, along with the longer retractable yard gates. She will wear squeeky shoes AT ALL TIMES (- I can hear the squeek). I think a high pitched bell attached to her by way of a bracelet might also be good.
All windows will have stops (I bought those too); we are looking for a retractable tension-type of window guard. Know of any? Something we can put up to make windows safer (I realize now that she can pull that stool up to any window and climb out – and fall down).
Please. If you know of anything, any way to help us through this bolting, running thing, please tell me.
I can’t have that happen again.