Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Escape Artist

Have you seen me?

Take a good look at her. This is what an angel with a devil’s disposition looks like. While she looks sweet and innocent, she has a unique knack for sniffing out trouble, most recently letting herself out of the house and into the front yard or down the street.

It reminds me of one of my favorite movies ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’. I watch that movie whenever I am feeling overwhelmed and underwater about my chaotic home life. And I only have four kids. ‘C’mon,’ I tell myself , ‘I don’t have it THAT BAD!’. In the movie, the Baker’s new neighbors (who proudly only have one child – remember Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?) predict that one of the children will end up on a milk carton. It is the refrain that has been playing in my head the last week. I know people that tag their children with id bracelets – I’m thinking very seriously about getting one for Caroline.

I’ve been beating myself up and kicking myself in the booty about her escape antics. I know that God has stationed an angel over the intersection of Planters Woods and China Garden Drive these days because Caroline has been rescued twice from outdoor trouble in the last month by my neighbors. My disapproving neighbors. Now I have to move.

We are on lockdown at my house. Deadbolt, garage closed. When things get too quiet, I get mighty nervous. We have two stories at our house. The trouble areas are vast. Downstairs, she can figure out a way to get out. Upstairs, she turns on the water in the garden tub, colors on the computer screen, walls, floor (she is our budding artist), strangles our new kitty, Tiger. Well, he can take care of himself.

Unknowingly aiding and abetting in the escape antics is Sabrina, who will do anything to get her hands on the cat. I throw him outside or in the garage after he has taken the 20th bite or swipe at the girls, securing tightly the deadbolt and testing the soundness of the lock. As soon as I leave the room, Sabrina will unlock the door, grab the cat and run off. Caroline then jumps on these opportunities to make a break for it.

It’s almost worse than having a newly mobile one-year-old. They usually have the innocent desire to explore new places but not the means to cause too much damage (assuming, of course, all poisons have been locked safely away which they HAVE been at my house). Caroline has the means now to get herself into a multitude of messes. She can move chairs to climb, open the refrigerator (I’ve learned my lesson and moved anything in a glass container to the top shelves), and let herself into the garage. She can even open the garage doors.

I know this is no laughing matter and all joking aside, whenever Tom and I are out anywhere in public with Caroline, we decide who is ‘it’ to tail her. For being such a mommy’s girl who will cling to me when I leave the room, as soon as we are out she turns to me, waves and says ‘Buh Bye’ and never looks back. I just erroneously assumed she would not need to be under constant supervision under the confines of our own four walls and roof.

The only positive thing about this new worry is finding out how many other mothers and fathers have had to deal with exactly the same situation. Living with an escape artist. Every third person I confess my dilemma to will proclaim ‘Oh! My son or daughter used to escape too! He would walk to the park or the neighbors would bring him home or we had to install latches at the tops of all the doors to thwart his plans’. I’m in very good company indeed and - how does that old saying go? Misery does love company, I’m proof of that. With four children, we were bound to have one meet this statistically proven phenomenon. I am harvesting the best practices of those that have walked this path before me and have hope that we will get through this latest ordeal and prepare for what is inevitably coming next.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

so i guess i will have to be extra, super-vigilant this november. I still look forward to seeing all of you!