Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Bid For Freedom - When Mom And Dad Become Complacent

Joseph has a way of throwing us for a loop whenever we become too complacent about enforcing rules and boundaries. We have multiple supports in place to ensure his safety, and our sanity, and when we remember to implement those supports we don;t have as many melt downs. The trouble is, there are umpteen things to remember. Things like, sensory issue's, dysmaturity, trauma trigger's, and the list goes on. To complicate things even further, there are times when certain supports aren't needed and we forget about implementing them, until something happens and we suddenly realize we haven't been doing _______ for awhile.

One of Joseph's supports is his door alarm, a simple magnetic door alarm that Dean fastened to the top of his bed room door. We have a remote in the hallway that rings loud enough to catch our attention anywhere in the house. We installed the alarm when Joseph began wandering the house at night and eating whatever struck his fancy. As his brain doesn't tell him when he has had enough to eat, we quickly ran into problems. We put the alarm on his door and didn't say much about it. He assumed it was placed there to keep bad guys out of his room and no, we didn't plant that idea in his mind he came up with it on his own.

At first we faithfully made sure the alarm was plugged in and in working order, but eventually as he was no longer testing his alarm to be sure it was working, we got sloppy. Then we would find an empty food bag, a stash of wrappers behind his bed or stuffed into a hole in his wall, and we knew we had better keep an eye on that alarm again.

The other night, something woke me out of a sound sleep. I still don't know what it was, but I suspect it was Joseph's bedroom door squeaking as he cracked it open to check if the alarm was working. A few seconds later his alarm went and I assumed he was coming to tell me that he wasn't feeling well. He has been dealing with some health issue's and I told him he must come get me when he doesn't feel well. When he didn't come to our room, I decided I had better go check on things. I went to look what was going on and found him lying on his bed, hugging his stuffed puppy, Sport, and looking ever so guilty. After questioning him, he said, "I wasn't tired so I was going to look for free tractors." He has a fascination for tractors and recently found a tractor magazine he spends hours poring over. Since I was tired, I decided to accept his explanation and go to bed.

The next day Dean and I asked him a few more questions, and found out that this wasn't the first time he was out of his room in recent days. One of Joseph's chores is too sweep the hallway, making it easy for him to loosen the alarm, then all he had to do was unplug it on his way to bed at night. Turns out that the other night he sneaked out of his room, crept down the basement stairs and crawled out the window. He chose the window because he didn't want us to hear the outside door squeak, he then went to the shop and rode his bike for awhile before coming back to bed...and we were none the wiser. This folks, is why parenting a child with FASD is so challenging - you never know what they will do! At first we were a bit skeptical about his story, but he stuck to it and the details never changed, so we had to conclude he really had gone out and ridden his bike, while we slept totally unaware. Doesn't give one a very good feeling to know your 10 year old can get out of the house  at night without your knowing it! My mind made a few frantic loops, thinking of all the things that could have happened...he was in the shop, a place he is not allowed to be without supervision due to all the tools. He could have brought anything back into the house with him and done all kinds of damage, he could have wandered off into the woods, he could have hurt himself and we wouldn't have known he needs help...Thankfully he simply went for a bike ride and made it safely back to bed!

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