I shaved about ten years off my life today. I was working with David and Jacob on their schoolwork. Bryan and Rand were playing upstairs. I hadn't heard from them in a while, but deciding whether to go check is a real dilemma. If they're playing constructively and well and then Rand sees me, it's all over. He'll be back downstairs trying to scribble in a spelling book, open the dry erase markers, tear up math pages,... So, I eventually went up to help Bryan in the bathroom and there was no toddler noise. I walked through all the rooms upstairs calling for him - no Rand. I ran downstairs and checked - no Rand. I told David and Jacob to run look outside and make sure he hadn't gotten out - no Rand. It took about a minute to confirm that he wasn't in any of the usual places. Now I'm really beginning to wonder if this is the new beginning of the rest of my life. Rand is not in any usual place and my house is without toddler noise, ergo, Rand is gone or unconscious somewhere in the house or backyard. I sent David out on his bike to look in the neighborhood. I sent Jacob next door to get my neighbor to go drive and look. Bryan decided on his own to make him a sippy cup of milk to try to lure him back home. I called 911. As soon as I started talking to adults, I freaked out. The 911 dispatcher tried to calm me down,
911: I really need you to calm down. This is our number one priority. We have units on the way. What is he wearing?
Me: (Holy shit, units. This is serious.) I can't remember. I think a gray shirt and red shorts, but that could be wrong. All I know for sure is that he's barefoot. (I was wrong - blue shirt, no pants. Epic fail as helpful eyewitness. The gray shirt/red shorts outfit is what I had planned to put on him but never got around to it.)
911: (Probably trying to ask me a question I know the answer to as she's already gotten his age) When is his birthday...
While they were transferring me to someone else, I found him. He was asleep on Jacob's top bunk with blankets on top of him. A policeman stopped by and talked me down. He said they already had seven cars on the way. I love that. An adult has to be missing for what - 48 hours or so. For a toddler, if you look for 60 seconds and can't find them, you can have seven policemen in route.
Chris and Rand are the only ones without emotional scars from this morning. Chris didn't get my first text message until he got the second saying I found him. It actually really worked out well for Rand. We doted on him for the rest of the morning. After we found him, David told me he was really scared while he was on his bike looking for Rand. He said he was worried Rand got lost because he's not a good enough big brother and hadn't protected him. (How's that for firstborn pressure?) He saw a red car drive by and was afraid it had hit Rand and had his blood all over it. Jacob was worried he got out where a car could bump into him. Bryan was scared that a robber stole him or someone killed him. After we found him, Bryan wanted to pretend we really lost him and he went to Virginia or China or Arctica (some cross between Antarctica and the Arctic, I think). We scrapped school for the rest of the day, ordered pizza (an absolute requirement in times of stress) and watched the Pink Panther.
When I meet new people who find out that we homeschool the boys, I very often hear:
What do you do with the younger kids while you're teaching the older ones?
Well, sometimes I lose them and have to call 911.
probably won't do a lot for my laid back, experienced mother of four image.