Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Child? Lost? Lost child? Scary Moments

Today I lost Boy Child. Or rather he wasn't where he was supposed to be. For those who don’t want to to read a long winded, angst ridden post feel free to run away now knowing that the story has a happy ending.

Now lets set the scene:

Boy Child is 11.  He is quite responsible and so he has been allowed to walk, scoot or ride his bike  to school for quite a while.  But he is 11 and he also is a diagnosed Aspie (see this post for some more info). Girl Child goes to the same school so normally he waits near her class to discuss whether he goes home by himself or with us.  If he is going home and we are not he MUST call me on my mobile once he is home.

To some our routine may seem over protective or perhaps too permissive (each family is different) but that’s what has worked for us. And it had actually worked quite well. He gets to school early enough to play while I wrangle Girl Child and attempt to get to school on time.

Today was no different until Girl Child complained of sore tummy after Boy Child had left for school.  Given they had had a long dance rehearsal and I had had a meeting and was tired and feeling a little off myself she stayed home.  I rang school to let them know Girl Child was with me but forgot to ask them to let Boy Child know that he was to just walk straight home.  First mistake.

Remembered about 1 to call school and ask them to pass the message on.  Briefly thought about calling friend T with children in both Girl Child’s and Boy Childs classes to let Boy child know but thought school will let him know as they have in the past.  Mistake 2.

Now Mistake 3 the Perfect Parent Brigade will probably hound me for.  I lay down and fell asleep.  Yes I left my poor not so sick (“Mum I think maybe I should have gone to school”) 6 year old alone in the house and fell asleep.  Now she was supposed to be asleep / resting as well but it was about 2.30 and Boy Child was going to be home between 3.20 and 3.30.  Besides the house is already trashed what damage could she do? LOL.

If I’m asleep and Girl Child is wandering around regardless of who is home she will always come to me. So she came to a few times to chat.  Then she comes in and says “Mum the clock has 3, 4, 7 and Boy child isn't home”. Uh, oh.

Up I get and grab the phone.  Rang T. No Boy child there and no recollection of seeing him.  Then one of the children suggested they saw Boy Child leaving school the way he normally does. Okay, then he has probably walked home with a friend and stopped to chat at the friends house.  Boy child has no real concept of time so that’s not beyond the realm of possibility. T says “Call if you need any help.”

Girl child gets shoes and we start to walk in the general direction of that friends house.  He is new to the school and I don't know his surname but I know someone who walks that way too.  Call directory assistance and get put through.  Boy Child was last seen at school waiting for us.

Okay.  Now the School’s number goes to answering machine at 3.30. Start walking to school and make the phone call to Mr E.

“Hi. Have you got the Principals Mobile number?”

“I think so, why?”

“I’ve lost Boy Child.  He hasn't come home. I was asleep and Girl Child said Mum it’s 3, 4, 7 and No Boy Child.”

“Oh ‘insert expletive here’. Do you want me to come home?”

“No it’s fine we will just walk to school and check but I might need her number. See you.”

Continue walking and then remember I have a fellow dance mum / teacher at schools mobile number.

“ Hi K, it’s me are you at school?”

“No, sorry at dance.  Why?”

Run through the saga and she offers to come ad help look.  I thank her but say it’s fine.

Ring home just in case we have missed him in our travels.  No Boy Child. Leave a message in case he gets home while we are looking. Get to school and Boy child waves at me.  He is waiting near Girl Child’s classroom and talking to kids he knows at after school care.

First thing out of his mouth was “What took you so long?” Apparently he didn’t get the message to walk home and had no clue what time it was.  He seemed surprised when I told him it was after 4.  As I said earlier no concept of time.

So he’s happy and fine and I send texts to people saying he is fine, just been waiting at school. Everyone is relieved. Boy child is concerned that I might not let him walk to home tomorrow.  He did hear the message I left at home.  He said “Were you crying? Why were you crying?” I explained I was worried.

I seriously don’t know how I feel.  I’m relieved he is okay.  Actually, given there were a spate of attempted child abductions near schools in our city earlier this year, I think maybe relieved is a major understatement. Plus I saw a movie about teenager with Aspergers yesterday Ben X and in one scene he didn't come home from school either.

But I am wondering what would have happened if Girl Child fell asleep when I did? Or why no one noticed him and wondered why he was still there? Or how long he would have waited before he would have worried? I know the teachers have meetings on Tuesdays at 3.15. And there are sometimes kids still milling around then so it wouldn’t have been odd that the hadn’t noticed him when they went.  But a spare kid hanging around outside Afterschool are and no one asking him why he was still there over an hour after school finished?

I have talked to him before about going to the Front office if I haven’t come to get him but I guess that hadn’t sunk in.  I think we will need to have that talk again.

So I have eaten chocolate, thought about alcohol and pondered a few of the possible scenarios.  I’m not sure if he needs a watch or a mobile phone or both.  Or will those things just give me a false sense of security?


My life, My Ramblings said...

Oh E how frightening. But you are right why do teachers/aftercare not notice a child hanging around for over an hour. We live across the road from the school and sometimes it takes K 15 mins to come home and I worry and we are only accross the road

shtickless2 said...

This has already started happening and Pascal isn't even at school yet (next year). We've got a lot of kids in the area and things can get a bit, shall we say, relaxed (usually in a very good way.

But, yeah, happy for that happy ending. I bet the relief at seeing his little face was immense

Finding Me said...

It is terrible that the school didn't pass the message to the boy child (this is what I call my boys too - even though they are 16 and 19!). Maybe a mobile phone he can keep (with sound turned off during the day) that you can send messages to would work?
The whole responsible freedom vs protection is a very difficult issue, as both are so necessary for the wellbeing and development of our children!


Copyright 2011 Whining at the World | Powered by Blogger | Designed by Carly Lloyd Designs