A few weeks ago the family went to REI specifically to buy CROC clogs for AJ. We needed to replace the pair of knock-offs that had finally fallen apart. The only ones in his size were orange. That was fine-so we purchased them. I laughed to myself because two of our friends who are 6 year-old boys with ASD also have and love their orange CROC’s. It was beginning to seem like this was some unspecified uniform for the tribe..
Mid morning today AJ went outside and I hurled after him, “Stay on the deck.” Of course 5 min later he was down by the lake throwing rocks in. I called him back up and reminded him to stay here. I then took a shower. When I got out Granny was in her room putting things away. I forget I need to be so concrete as to remind her to look out for the kids when I am in the shower. That logic doesn’t come to her spontaneously any longer. But most often she is obsessed about where they are if she can’t see them. So I hear, “Judy where is AJ and Ki?” all day. Even when all they have done is gone into the bathroom. So today I asked her to call for him from the deck. Which she did, and did and did again.
“Okay, that’s good Mom,” I snarked in a snitty tone.
“Well, he hasn’t answered.”
“Well, he rarely does. He is probably down at the lake. I just need a couple of more minutes to get my clothes on.”
“I’ll call him some more.”
No, Mom, don’t.” I was thinking, my God sound travels here and the hysterical screaming Grandma is not what the neighborhood needs. That and I am pissed that I have to invest energy, time and emotion into looking for him when he wanders. I know he can control the wondering better than he does. I hate feeling sucked into a panicked search mode by him.
So I finished dressing THEN I walked out on to the balcony scanned around, and bellowed
Now I am feeling concerned AND calling him bad names in my head. So I take Ki and we head down to the lake. Granny, who has multiple joint arthritis, COPD (emphysema) and a cold says she is going to head up the street. I walk along the lake and think if he was at the shallow edge, he may have fallen in and hit his head and drown. So I am scanning the waters edge. We get to the lakes dam and a Mom looks at me with concern. Obviously she has heard me calling him. So I ask her, “Have you seen a little boy in a green shirt?” She ponders, but maintains a vague look.
Shit, I thought to myself. Of course today he has on this non-descript green shirt with a couple stripes on it. I brought bright blue, neon green and orange shirts on the trip because I feel safer dressing him in bright shirts. But he is not wearing one of those.
“Does he have orange shoes on?”
‘Yes!” The recently purchased orange Crocs from REI.
“Oh, I saw him way up the road he was just walking along peacefully.”
I feel fine now because I know he is away from the water and I hear someone calling my name. Ki and I head up the road to the cabin.
Of course by then Granny and AJ had returned to the cabin and headed down to the lake. They catch up with us in a few minutes. I realize I need to figure out how I am going to handle this. Yuck. I hate discipline. So I tell Ki that I might make up a little story.
AJ,”Momma, I’m sorry, I got lost. I didn’t know which cabin was ours. “
Me, “And how did you feel when that happened?”
AJ, “I was sad.”
Me, “Were you scared?”
AJ, “Yeah, a little scared too.”
Me, “Well, I was really scared. I thought you had fallen into the lake and died.”
AJ, “No, I didn’t died.”
Me, “I know and I’m glad. But I was really worried. So I called the police.” (I didn’t)
AJ, “You called the police?”
Me, “Yeah and they were REALLY angry that you had wondered off.”
Me, “So now you have a 20 minute time out.”
Now I’ve put AJ in time-out before and usually just the mention of one yields verbal raging that then continues on with me just increasing the time. I told him to go into the room Daddy and I were sleeping in, to look at the clock and to come out at 10:46. I removed the 2 magazines. And the windows don’t provide a view. He readily walked in and lay on the bed. He was ready to put in the time he knew he’d earned, no raging here. And 20 minutes for a guy with ADD/ADHD is an eternity. Ki and I then went for a walk and left Granny at home as well. We returned at 10:45. I leaned in and AJ was still sitting on the bed.
“One more minute, then come out.”
10:46 am, “Hi Mama, can I have a root beer?”
“No, not now. We’re gonna walk to the lake in a minute.”
”Is Granny coming?”
“No. She’s had enough exercise this morning. Daddy will bring her when he drives over later.”
”Put your Croc’s on. It’s time to go”