Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Not a Bad Mother!!!!

NOTE:  This blog was started yesterday and finished today as if it were still yesterday, so keep that in mind. And on a happy note, the police had to report the incident to CAS, but CAS called this morning to tell us they aren't opening a file on us. Yay! No one's taking my Bear away. (That got your attention, didn't it?)

I'm not even sure how to describe my day. How's's not even 5:00 p.m. and someone has already asked me if I've started drinking yet. I'm out of wine, but I may just have to send Hubby out for some when he gets home.

My day started off fine, until we missed the school bus. It wasn't anybody's fault, it just happened. This is the second week of school and I think things probably went a little smoother on the bus route than last week, so the bus was a few minutes early. It biggie. There was still lots of time to get to school, so back home we headed to get in the van. That was fine, until out of nowhere Bear decided he didn't want to take the bus home today. Huh? This is the same boy who was really disappointed that he had missed the bus. OK, whatever. But my insisting that the bus was his only ride home triggered a meltdown, which led to my chasing him around the outside of the house, catching him, and then carrying 40lbs of struggling six-year-old to the van. Not a good start, but we've had worse.

We get to school and he promptly bursts into tears, begging me not to make him go in. So again...huh? So he's sitting in his car seat, sobbing, telling me that he's tired and yawning and that the teacher will say something to him if he yawns. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but when you have a child with a generalized anxiety disorder, strange statements like this aren't unusual. Last time we went to a doctor Bear didn't want to go into the waiting room because people might look at him, so we stood in the hall for an hour while we waited for our appointment. The good news is it helped the doctor diagnose the anxiety disorder! (If your child is going to go nuts on you while you're out, it's always nice when it's at the doctor.)

Anyway...back to my morning. I tried to talk him through it and even offered to go in with him to talk to his teacher, but he wasn't having it. I could tell by the way he recoiled every time I reached for his seat belt that he was not going to go willingly. I considered forcing him to go in, but that would have required carrying him in, most likely kicking and screaming. I may have done it if I hadn't had Stitch with me, but I did. And anyway, he was sobbing...didn't that mean it was real? Is forcing the issue the best thing? I have no idea. In the end I caved and took him home. Right thing? Wrong thing? Again, no idea.

Having a child with mental health issues is exhausting, so by 10 a.m. I was ready to nap with the baby. Bear was happily occupied, so I lay down for a while. I guess I was a little more tired than I thought, because I passed out. In comes Bear...could he go and play in the backyard, pretty, pretty, pretty please? Yes, fine, I agreed, but stay in the backyard. He's always been good about these things, so I didn't give it another thought.

Fast forward about an hour, and I get up. I look out the Bear. Running shoes by the door, so he must be downstairs. Bear??? No answer. Go out Bear. Then I notice his scooter on the lawn and his sandals carelessly lying in the grass. Where is Bear??? WHERE IS BEAR??? He only has two pairs of shoes, so I knew that wherever he was, he didn't have his shoes on. I stood there, frozen, for what seemed like hours, as I tried to process what I was seeing. The logical side of my brain knew that he was most likely at a neighbour's, but the other side of my brain flashed through every episode of "Without a Trace" I've ever seen and I knew that if he had been abducted, we needed to find him soon. Don't they always say something about the first few hours being the most critical?

Flash forward again probably 30-45 minutes, while I scour the neighbourhood on foot with Stitch in a stroller and six neighbours are out in four cars going in increasingly larger circles. By this point there have been Bear sightings on his bicycle, but about 1/2 an hour before. He's not even allowed to go to the corner by himself, so how is it that we can't find any trace of him???? Then a brain wave hits...the only place he might go by himself is to my parents', who live about 10 blocks away. We go there all the time, so he would know exactly how to get there. But surely he wouldn', he couldn't...please God...let him have...

The conversation went something like this:

"Hi Dad. Don't panic, but Bear's missing."

"But...he's here."

<insert really bitchy tone here>"What do you mean he's there? How long has he been there???"

"I don't know. I guess about half-an-hour."

"And it took you this long to realize I wasn't there???"

Apparently Bear had simply walked into the house and told Grandpa that Mommy had dropped him off and gone home. That seemed strange to my dad, but then he thought maybe I had been having a bad ODD day with Bear and needed a break. I've done that before, although never without calling first, so Dad just figured I had spoken to my mother, who was napping. I swear...a comedy of errors. Or would that be a comedy of terrors?

Back home, I'm standing in the driveway, phone in hand, having just hung up, when the police car shows up. One of the neighbours helping with the search is a paramedic, so he called his buddies at the police station to tell them what was going on. Nothing makes you feel more like a bad mother than having to explain to a police officer that your son disappeared while you were napping, but no worries, he's shown up 10 blocks away at your parents, wearing no helmet or shoes (no shoes???), having crossed a number of busy streets. Sigh...

So out I trotted the explanation. He has ADHD and ODD (I'm not a bad mother), kids with ADHD have very little impulse control (I'm not a bad mother), he's never done anything like this before (I'm not a bad mother), he's not even allowed to go to the corner (I'm not a bad mother), we're working with Child & Youth Wellness to develop his skills (I'm not a bad mother)...he promised he wouldn't leave the backyard (I'm not a bad mother...please believe me...I'm not a bad mother...). OK, I may have left out all the "I'm not a bad mother" stuff, but I'm sure it was written all over my face.

When my little chat with the nice policeman was over and he now knew everything about us and our family, I asked if he would mind going to over to my parents to scare the pants off Bear. No problem...he'd be happy to. He actually went pretty easy on him, so not exactly the pants-scaring-off lesson I was hoping for, but Bear's pretty cute and I think the officer felt bad for him. I didn't actually see Bear's face when the officer stepped into the room at my parents', but I did hear Bear say "Am I going to jail?"

So has he learned his lesson? Who knows. Have we? Yup. We have an appointment with the vet next week to get him microchipped, just like the dog. (kidding...sheesh...but it really did cross my mind!)


  1. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. As well as many similar stories I could recite about wandering kiddos, you can take comfort in the fact that you acted effectively after the fact; I loved the part "And it took you this long to realize I wasn't there???" classic! Ah Bear, you are indeed a most blog-worthy boy.

  2. Bear is most blog-worthy indeed! Just wait til his little brother catches up! I'll have twice the fun! And for the record, my poor dad feels really bad about not having called me, but who ever would have guessed that Bear would go all that way on his own.

  3. Holy crap! That would scare the **** out of me!

    I have no idea what it's like to raise a child with mental health issues, but I know what it's like to grow up with a brother who has a major brain injury. The stigma is awful and people assume without knowing anything. I have spent many, many hours explaining my brother's mental problems to strangers, mental health professionals, and the police. The police knew our family well when we were growing up. You aren't alone.

  4. I can laugh about it now (and by the time I sat down to write my blog), but it was absolutely terrifying at the time.

    I'm sorry to hear about your brother. That must have been really difficult for you. I hope things have turned out OK for him.

    Thanks for the kind words.


  5. Sounds all to familiar. Glad everything turned out ok.
    Bradley Cozens.

  6. Are you sure you're not talking about my ODD boy? WOW! Sounds identical to several situations I've been through. By the way, has Bear ever burned anything down (backyard playset to be exact) or thrown a rock at your beautiful front door shattering the lovely beveled glass? , told you that he wanted to kill you in your sleep so that he can be free to play video games all day and bring the dog in the house(logical reasoning of course)......just wondering. My boy has done all of this and more.