Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I (Briefly) Lost Ellie Today

A couple of months ago, we had trouble with Ellie running out into the street when she was supposed to be loading into the car. We coped with that using a variety of techniques, most effectively praising her for stopping at the end of the driveway to look both directions, which made her so happy that she'd come back when we asked her to do so.

I thought we were through with all that.

She did it again today, while I was bringing a load of library books and diaper bag out to the car. Moreover, she encouraged her little sister to come out into the street with her.

Naturally, I dropped the bags and snatched up Ada. We live on a very quiet street, and as there was no traffic anywhere around, I strapped Ada into her car seat before going after her Ellie, who had continued on down the block. She is 4-1/2, after all. She does know how to look for traffic and she was wearing a bright red shirt so she was hard to miss.

Before I started kindergarten, on the advice of her parenting books my mom had me walk to the grocery store, buy a gallon of milk, and carry it home (that was heavy!). But times are different now. And Ellie is . . . Ellie.

Less than a minute later, I was looking for her. Up the street: no Ellie. Down the street: no Ellie. Into the T-intersection 100 feet or so from our driveway: no Ellie in either direction.

She doesn't move very fast. Down the storm drains: no Ellie. I wasn't very concerned, honestly. I know our neighbors, no cars had come by, she had to be near.

She was. She had gone up to a neighbor's house and was peering through the front door, but she had not responded to my calls.

I considering not letting her go into the library as part of her punishment, but decided that would be more of a punishment for Ada and me. So she lost access to her dolls for the rest of the day (in addition to a 5-minute time out and NPR on the way to the library). Those who know Ellie know that this was a serious consequence, indeed. No dolls! All day!

We've been having some serious defiance issues lately. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.


Becca said...

Oh, goodness. That scares me so much now that Samantha is walking. She's getting quicker and quicker, and our street is very busy. Fortunately we're an apartment building and there's a large parking lot. I'm so glad Ellie was okay!

Nick McGivney said...

I'm obviously not the guy I used to be. I would've invented at least ten shady vehicles for potential abductees. We had a horribly media onslaught last year with Madeleine McCann's unresolved abduction case in Portugal. I had no bogeymen as a child in rural Ireland in the seventies, but I've since decided that I probably should have had. Times in truth were no more innocent then. But contrariwise I'm thankful for that more innocent era. If our six year old Chris is anything to go by, tomorrow will bring more defiance. I think your actions, ie not letting the matter go and issuing appropriate sanctions, is bang on the money. All I can suggest now is a No.1 buzzcut so that the eyes in the back of your head might have a chance. Meanwhile all is well.


Sarahlynn said...

Becca, yeah, I guess this is just a sneak preview of what it will be like when they start increasingly leaving the home without us, and, perhaps someday, gasp, dating! (The horrors. At least at this age, we could, theoretically, use those little child leashes.)

Nick, yeah, I had some shady moments in the early 80's, but my mom never acted like they were any big deal. (I'd tell you about them, but this blog might get one of those little warning flags.) As an adult I confronted her about that, and she said that she didn't want to make too big of a deal about it, thinking that would scar me worse. Hmm. But she still gave me a LOT more freedom to roam than I will ever give my children (though I appreciated it at the time!).

Jerre Heyer said...

Sarahlynn, Great job with the blog. Your writings are on the spot for what people with Downs children deal with every day on top of normal life ( wait I thought this was normal ). Have a 3.5 yr old angel named Jacob that had started to show a lot of defiance as well as not responding to calling him. We got to add autism to the DS mix. We got lucky and found it early for DS it's usually 8 - 10 yrs old. Keep up the great writing and remember every morning is started with a loving smiling face looking up to us.

Sarahlynn said...

Jerre, thank you! This is certainly normal life for us; and it's hard to imagine it any other way now, isn't it?

I'm glad that you got a relatively early dx, and wish you and Jacob much luck! I am fortunate to have a family full of therapists (and a school diagnostician/psychologist) who are always looking for signs of autism in both of my girls. (no hint in either of them, so far) It's a little freaky, actually, but at least I'm likely to be aware sooner, rather than later, if concerns develop.