lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
I talked about this on facebook, but I have longer thoughts, too.

Joseph and I go for walks after school most days, and sometimes on other days (like Sunday). Well, as I joke, they are more like "runs"; he will run whenever there are cars moving on the street, as if he's trying to keep up with them -- and a bit extra for things like buses or motorcycles or oddities. I usually jog as much as I'm willing, so it goes in bursts of speed-up and slow-down as the waves of traffic pass.

I also let him pick the route *most* of the time, although I may put my foot down on going home once we've been at it a while. My focus has been on teaching him street crossing, reminding him to look for cars, and to wait for lights. I sometimes make him go my chosen way, or make a stop, partly to train him for when I really need him to go with me in a particular direction (like, again, Sunday). But mostly he has his little routes; they almost all start almost always up the alley the same way, down the first street the same way. It varies afterwards, but I can make some pretty good guesses where we're going, and it loops back on itself; we sometimes go right past home, and sometimes come pretty close. He tends to stick to major streets for much of it, because more cars.

He's been, I think, also using it to get a mental map of the area and how it all links up. Some of the repetition is autistic routine, or bits he particularly enjoys (We often make extra repeats of ramps), and some is testing his map, especially when he unexpectedly varies his path.

I kind of enjoy the routine, even if I often come out of one tired and footsore. It's also pretty good exercise, trying to cooperate with a 4 year old's energy level.

I feel even more glad he mostly chooses the routes, and that this means I know his most likely choices.

This is what I posted on Facebook:

Anyone who also has Colin on their news feed knows Joseph ran out of the house earlier today. He was found by a young woman who took his hand and tried to get him to lead her home. He led her instead on one of his walking routes (exactly the wrong way from home, though it would have looped back eventually.) Colin, at home, called the cops while one of the people I (out searching) asked flagged down a pair of paramedics on bicycles, who found her and then let m know she was bringing him my way (meanwhile the police Colin called also ended up intercepting her and brought her and Joseph to me and then me and Joseph safe home.)

We owe thanks to so many people; the woman who took his hand and looked for where he belonged and who, most of all, meant he was travelling safely and not running into traffic, the people who talked to me at River and Osborne who loaned me cell phones (my phone? Are you kidding? I left the house without putting on shoes. Granted, if such an awful thing happens again, I'm taking the phone if I can, but still screw the shoes.) and/or walked/biked the neighbourhood to search, the woman who flagged the paramedics while my panicked mind was still thinking, "but that's the wrong emergency services", the paramedics and police themselves. Even the one person I talked to who remembered a blond boy with a woman going by.

I'm still shaken, though.

It's so easy to second-guess everything.

This has happened now two and a half times for real, and a couple of other close calls. (The half is when he made his escape after leaving the car, not out of the house). The other two involved us being close behind, even in sight, so not quite the same as not being sure exactly how long, how far.

We have a latch on the door to the back hall but we know he figured out what to climb onto to reach it. Should we have moved that thing, so he at least needed to drag a chair over? We have a different fastener on the outside door we know he CAN get at, again with something to climb onto, but again slows him and causes trouble. We even have a windchime set so that opening the door will make it ring, and it's audible on both floors, though probably not in the bathroom with the fan or shower on.

I was upstairs in the shower. Well, except after I finished the shower I sat upstairs alone for a long time, just reading a book. And I mean half an hour or more. (Colin was downstairs, and could speak to his own reasons for not catching on; I will say that while they weren't any better than mine, they weren't worse, either.) I went downstairs, past Colin and into the kitchen, thinking we were overdue to deal with lunch; and saw the door. I don't remember what I said, but enough to get him up and moving, and then I was off, shoeless and purseless, down the alley as I was.

Colin was a bit more active than I make it sound; he made sure Alex was safe, checked Joseph's route the opposite way, and the playground, then sat down at home to call the police and mind Alex (and the phone). I found most of this out afterwards, when I borrowed the phones, or even after I got home.

Do we need to have a more orderly plan in place? More than just "Next time I bring my cell"? Colin did exactly the right thing. I was keeping it together in most ways until Joseph was safe (I had a really obvious increase in panic and stress symptoms once I was told he was found, and more once I had him, but I was aware even as I was managing to think out plans while I walked that I wasn't thinking entirely clearly.)

Had I come downstairs sooner, would I have seen Joseph while he was still in the house? He starts working on getting outside when he's bored with indoor stuff; I could have started an activity with him. We need to do more of that; more things that aren't default habits. Might I have at least arrived soon enough to nab him in the first block? Did I hear a chime and assume Colin was in control? I don't remember doing so, so probably not, but the other escape out of the house happened when I heard the chime but had thought Colin (who was working on renos) was doing work that involved going outside as well as into and out of the basement.

There's the things I have done lackadaisically, like teaching Joseph to say his name (Which he can do -- but the officer said he never got a peep out of him, and the only thing Joseph said to me in the police car on the way home was "octagon stop sign" when we reached an intersection.) I've talked about making him an "all about me" book to teach him rote answers to "what's your name?" and "where do you live?" but haven't made it.

I keep wondering if we should get him some jewellery that has his name and address, but teaching him to wear it, all the time, would be some doing; he doesn't like wristbands, and he's very good at figuring out fasteners (see again: everything we've done to our doors to slow him down)

I've also wondered about preemptively flyering the neighbourhood with his picture and home address and an explanation that he's a flight risk with poor verbal skills. The houses and apartments and condos, probably not; not only would it be a dauntingly huge undertaking, but it carries a lot of OTHER issues. But maybe the businesses, at least the ones that have a view out the window? I keep thinking this is a bad idea, but is it a worse idea than not doing it, if he vanishes again? And yet again, most of my samaritans were just people shopping or going about their day, although the woman who flagged the paramedics is one of the people who runs a street kiosk.

We're planning on building a fence around the yards this summer; that was part of the plan already.

The other bit I posted on facebook:
And for a super-fun follow-up: we were at a party at the house of one of Colin's old friends this afternoon, in their back yard. We'd figured out how to keep him from opening the gate right away. Then he followed the other kids inside once ... and inside, went instead to the front door, opened it and was off down the street. In Fort Richmond, which he doesn't know and where we would have no idea where to look after 5 minutes. One of the other parents caught on and chased him down, so he was brought back quickly (he leaves doors open behind him), but we had to spend half of the rest of the party minding all possible exits. It's that fast.
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
- Today is the day the second of Colin's best friends (And his roommate, another good friend if not quite as close) leaves town within the last half year. I wish Nathaniel (and P.) well, but I suspect that there are going to be some gaps ion our world in the next while. One or both of us did get to see them four out of the last five days, so we managed a lot of goodbyes. They're going to be living in BC, not too close to Colin's parents, but near enough that when we visit, we will be able to make a trip out to see them.

- We have a kitchen sink again! (Actually, we had it in working order yesterday) This after over a week of not having one. It would have been less but Colin was sick this last weekend. In other words, kitchen cupboard installations continue only slightly behind schedule, and it will look good when it's through. Naturally, on the days my father in law can't do quite as much because Colin is gone, he's found other side projects, or we've had other things break down, or in one case, the attempt to fix a minor issue lead to discovering it's a bit more intensive a repair than first thought (That would be the main floor toilet, alas.) So he's stayed busy. And the results are decidedly worthwhile, even if we ahve had to occasionally do interesting things like figure out how to wash dishes in a pair of pots and a bathroom sink, or sort the dishes from the tools.

- JoJo managed to be green again yesterday. I turned my back while getting his breakfast ready, even though he'd made it into the kitchen (Not a place he's usually allowed, and never unaccompanied, during the reno), turned back to him, and there it was around and in his mouth. I do NOT know for sure what he got into; I scoured the kitchen for every possible source (and most of the main floor for every possible greenish substance) and found nothing at all that could turn him green, never mind nothing poisonous. (Everything dangerous that was under the kitchen sink is in the bathroom he is NOT allowed into).

Right now my best theory is that he found some small fragment of his green crayon (Most of which is up here), and it's just that, like with his first encounter with it, the colour spreads amazingly once dissolved.

In any case, he didn't appear to suffer ill effects - after I'd cleaned his mouth as best I could, I fed him breakfast, on the reasoning that if it was dangerous, diluting it was a good first step, and watched him all day for anything out of the ordinary. He was fine, though his diapers got interesting later. He's been fine today, too. But wow, it really does take no time at all...

- One of the first things I did upon getting the e-reader was to look through my own book. It's ... an interesting experience. I did find three typos, only one of which (Free reign instead of free rein, because it's a personal peeve) did I manage to report to Raechel, so if you spot the other two, which are places two words run together, let her know!

BUt the part that interested me is seeing something I wrote in 2004 but have no chance to edit or amend. Normally, there's a difference between reading my prose and someone else's. When I spot something I would want to edit in someone else's work (This happened a lot reading Tamora Pierce recently - more than it did in Illusion of Steel, and no, I am not saying I am a better writer than someone so oft-published, though it does give me a kind of hope -- we're writing for different audiences with different expectations), I know it's hands-off. When it's my own, I can simply tap a few keys and voila. Fixed. So reading a work of my own that's about nine years old, knowing I can't tweak it, gives me a little bit of an itch.

It could have used the edit. I've improved as a writer. I can see a number of ways I would tidy the prose. Mostly, as ever, tightening it up. Shaking out some of the formalities in the dialogue, so that people sound a little more natural, (or at least if they don't it's obviously on purpose).

At the same time, I'm relieved that to my eye, the plot hangs together, and overall it works as a story (Someone else can of course disagree and pick it apart. I'd be curious.) I like the dealing with the souls in the sword, and the multi-generational complexities, and the past not being left behind. I like Kanna, and her wariness and her refusal to dwell on nasty stuff, and I hope it came across to others as it does to me that it's a character trait, not a failure on the writer's part to account for the traumatic nature of trauma. I was kind of sad I hadn't been able to flesh out Daemon a bit more, but there's no room. There's no saving it from the "He's evil, I say EVIL!" of the villain, it doesn't work if he's not.

It was, as one says, the best I could do at the time I did it. It's not bad, just not ideal. I'm not ashamed of its flaws. A little chagrined longing to take it back in and see what I could make of it now is reasonable, as long as I don't actually do so. It would be stupid to refuse to forgive my younger self for being younger.

I have other stories to tell in the now.
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