Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Great Escape, part II

I never wrote part one of this story. That was before Oliver was diagnosed and other mothers all seemed to have similar stories so I figured it was just my initiation into one of the more frightening parts of motherhood: the lost child. When Oliver was just shy of three years old he decided to play in the puddle on the side of the road at the intersection at the end of our block. We're not sure how long he was gone, probably less than 10 minutes, but someone found him before we did and thankfully called the police. Nik found Oliver sitting on the curb with the man just before the police arrived. Oliver couldn't tell anyone his name or where he lived and that man could have been less benign. It was a wake up call and we have been much more careful since.

Even with the extra care, we've had our share of scares since then but usually it turned out that he was just sitting quitely in an overlooked spot. But last Thursday was different. Nik came home from work and found me in front of the stove cooking dinner. We exchanged "how was your day" and then he looked at me and asked: "Where's Oliver?" It had probably been two or three mintues since I last saw him but the front door was open from Nik's arrival. I bolted out to the sidewalk while Nik checked upstairs. No sign of him. I ran up the street, my heart in my throat. Then, my neighbor, on his front porch waving to me: "He's here. He just walked right in and sat down." I took one look at Oliver, buried my face in my hands and burst into tears. Thank God he was OK. Thank God he went that way instead of towards the intersection. Thank God he went into that house and not the one with the lunatics and pit bull or the crazy old lady who calls the police because she thinks someone is stealing her lightbulbs.

When I got Oliver back home I promptly sent Nik out for a bottle of beer. My day warrented it. Before Oliver escaped I had caught him twice sliding down the bannister -- which from the top is probably about a 12 foot drop. And once I found him with his feet on the ceiling. Yes, the ceiling. He had climbed to the top of his closet and laid down on the top shelf with his feet on the ceiling. Then, when Nik was out getting the beer and I was cooking dinner I glanced out into the backyard to check on Oliver who had been swinging. He wasn't swinging. He wasn't in the sandbox. I went outside and gasped to discover he wasn't in the backyard. All the gates were closed so I started to go back inside to check when I spoted a flash of white out of the corner of my eye. He had just rounded the corner of the neighbors house and come back into veiw. What the heck? He climbed the fence!!!

I would have sat down to cry again but Nik arrived just in time with the Corona. If this keeps up I may need to keep a six-pack in the fridge!


  1. Oliver is a clever boy indeed!
    My experiences with Littleman being "lost" are always in a store, when he wants to be out of sight and is enjoying the game of hiding.
    Are higher fences and gates an option??

  2. You have just described a day with Roo. This morning I caught him with the scooter over by the fence. He had one foot on the handle bar of the scooter and the other on the top of the fence ready to climb over to reach the weeds growing on the other side of the fence. This is the first he has attempted this, but I have had my heart in my throat plenty of times with this kid of mine. I prefer a margarita, but a nice cold beer can do the trick too.

  3. This happened to us last year---I ran inside to grab my keys so we could go for a walk to meet JIm at the train and Charlie made his way (ran I'm sure) two houses down---they have a most tempting playset and had left the gate open. He responded to none of my calls and I got into the car, drove around in circles, was just on the verge of calling the police when I saw him holding my neighbor's hand, on the front lawn. Heart attack! He also used to climb the windowsills.....

    Can you work on a "stay in the front yard" program? We did this and Charlie does (not that we don't watch him).

    Put up your feet, too.

  4. oh my! FEET ON THE CEILING? has oliver sprung from the pages of dr. suess??!! i read the more recent post first and now i'm jumping up and down for a whole other reason! those momentary 'missings' are heart stoppers, heart STOPPERS, i tell you. usually, in our case, i am white as a ghost and staring at my heart on the pavement and fluffy is simply behind me. oh. oliver is one smart guy--not only to climb the fence, but to hone in on the best neighbors! have a corona on me!