Thursday, 8 December 2016

A terrifying reminder that all my children are vulnerable

Holding a child's hand

I used to think some of the parents collecting their kids from the school were insane. They'd be stood chatting away with a selection of small children milling and running around them. What are they doing? The road is right there, I thought.

You see despite having three kids myself I couldn't ever let them all loose like that. Both Anthony and David are autistic. Along with having little awareness of danger, neither of them would follow instructions. David was in a buggy until he was five years old as he wasn't safe otherwise. They are vulnerable kids. Vulnerable to bullying, vulnerable to being taken advantage of, and vulnerable to danger.

Fast forward a couple of year and we had Jane. The complete opposite of the boys in a lot of ways. Before she was three years old she'd already got an understanding of some complicated concepts. I was surprised when she understood that Nemo's mum had died in Finding Nemo. She's struggles with the reality of this and has recently declared that only pretend people die. I think as a way of coping with the idea. She follows most instructions with delight and asks questions to understand things. Suddenly I got those parents at the school gate. Jane was like one of those kids. She understood things.  She didn't just run off.  Mostly she was safe.

But mostly is the point. Mostly she puts the toys away and mostly she'll put on her shoes when asked. And mostly she will stop at a road.

Today Jane and I went to a friends house for a play date. Something of a rarity for us as it wasn't something that ever happened with the boys. When our boys don't play like everyone else's, play dates are a bit pointless.

After the play date it was time for preschool. The girls ran a little way ahead, I chatted with the other mum then a moment later the girls were much further ahead. By the road.

"STOP," we shouted.

And the girls did. Jane stood to attention at the end of the kerb. Like she does ..nearly all of the time. But nearly all of the time is not good enough is it.

street with cars

Suddenly Jane looked over the road. A second later a car came past us and another second later, Jane had turned towards the road and disappeared behind a parked SUV.

I saw it all in slow motion. Despite having immediately started running up the path, the car was getting closer to my daughter and she towards it. I knew I couldn't get there to stop anything, the distance was too great. I wasn't even nearly close enough.

"JANE!" I screamed in a desperate attempt to prevent what almost looked like the inevitable. Car and child blindly hurtled towards each other on a collision course.

I thought it was going to be the worst day of my life.

Then, the car slowed as it approached the junction and Jane popped back out from behind the parked vehicle. I stopped still on the pavement. The relief poured through my shaking body.  The girls seemed to be frozen for a second. The fear on my face hit Jane pretty quickly.

"I'm sorry mummy. I was having a race," she mumbled through a panicked look.

After dropping the girls at preschool I jumped in the car to the supermarket. I have rarely driven more slowly. The scene replayed in my head over and over. I parked in the supermarket car park and sat there for a moment. I thought I was going to be sick.

Later after I picked Jane up from preschool we talked about how sad I was. We talked about how to stay safe. The whole family has just taken part in a 'how to stay safe' competition. A prize for every correct suggestion on how to stay safe. With the help of her older brother, Jane can now recite:
  • Staying near mummy 
  • Holding mummy's hand 
  • Staying on the pavement 
  • Do as mummy asks 
And probably the best one for Jane today
  • Stop AND wait
Mostly Jane follows instructions, and indeed she did stop. I'd been given a false sense of security I never had with the boys.  This would never have happened with them, because they were so obviously unsafe.  Today was a terrifying reminder that my most capable child is still a child and so vulnerable by extension. I know this may all have sounded a bit over the top - nothing happened. My daughter just stepped out into a road. But trust me, it's not something I'm going to forget, I don't ever want to replay that scene again.

27 comments:

  1. That must have been awful, thank goodness she is ok. I think it is easy to become complacent, when your child generally listens to your instructions, but your post is a good reminder that this isn't always the case. #brillblogposts

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  2. How scary, thank goodness she was OK x

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  3. sounds awful and I'm glad she's OK. Please don't beat yourself up over this though, all of us are guilty of complacency from time to time. Every child is different, but that "split second" of taking our eyes away can happen at any time. #bestandworst

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  4. Oh God, I relived that with you. Moments like these are simply terrifying. I think it's brilliant that you shared it, because it serves as a reminder to all of us. I still talk to my teens about road safety, as this age are very vulnerable too. Alison x #Brilliantblogposts

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  5. So scary!! Sometimes we can take for granted that they always do what they're supposed do, and I can totally see how any of us could get caught unaware. So glad she's OK :) #DreamTeam

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  6. Blooming heck heart in mouth reading this. I'm the same as you; I often think too much of my 3 year old. She has always been a fab speaker so often I think she gets more than she does. You have to step back and think "she's only 3" sometimes. I get you. Thank goodness all ok and thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

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  7. Oh wow this is so frightening! I had goosebumps reading it and can only imagine what you went through. But don't beat yourself up; all children are different and we are all guilty of forgetting that they are children still from time to time. I'm glad she was safe. Thanks for linking to #DreamTeam with this heartfelt post xxx

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  8. Not over the top at all! I felt the exact fear you must have as I read this, I can't imagine how you didn't fall to the floor with the relief! Am so pleased that Jane is OK, it sounds like she has also learnt a lot from the experience xxx #brilliantblogposts

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  9. That is a beyond nauseating feeling....can't even imagine. This was very possibly one of those "meant to be" moments that will stick with your daughter and help her to make less impulsive choices when she is outside. Glad to hear that she felt the panic also.

    I have an approach to this topic which is likely not very popular among other moms of young kids. When I would tell the Cinderella story to my twins, I would explain that Cinderella went to live with her evil stepmom because her dad died....after not looking all around and being hit by a car. Horror tactics, true. But has been effective thus far!

    Thank you for sharing this as it is a most important topic. I plan to bring it up with my children today. #bestandworst

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  10. Oh gosh! What a close call...It must have been so worrying.
    It doesn't sound over the top at all....I think I would be the same too x

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  11. Gosh I can completely understand how you feel. My monkey is really good and always stops, but they do stand so close to the curb. Yesterday after school he ran off with his friend and he didn't realise I had got stuck with a stubborn LM and went round a corner without me. I shouted but he couldn't hear. He and his friend had stopped at the road and all was fine but he had gone too far so we had to have the chat. If you can't see me then you have gone too far and you come back. All it would take when they are at the curb is a car going slightly fast and one of them to slip or trip into the road and like you say, terrifying. Hugs and glad all turned out OK with Jane! Xxx

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  12. I have been there and it is utterly terrifying. They do follow instructions most of the time, as you say, but that doesn't mean every time, and that one time can count. I'm so glad all was well, and it's not over the top at all, perfectly understandable x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

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  13. I don't think it changes. I still need to remind my younger two and maybe that is it. Like everything, it is repetition of the message. Scary moment for you, but Jane must now be on the path(not meant as a pun)to understanding roads and their dangers. #wotw

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  14. aw goodness - scary. I really like your message of repetition and although my boy understands to some extent, its still maybe here - its def too easy to become complacent. #KCACOLS

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  15. I had an exact same moment last week.My son is always racing ahead with his friends walking back from school and I think the other Mum's think I'm bonkers keeping him close but it only takes a second!But I do know I can be too anxious,and I don't want him to become anxious himself!It's a fine line isn't it x#ThePinkLink

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  16. Goodness what a terrifying experience. What a relief your daughter was OK. Your stay safe competition tips are rally handy. I'll be using them too x #coolmumclub

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  17. That must have been scary, it sounds like you handled the follow up very well. x #bigpinklink

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  18. How terrifying! I think we all sometimes get too relaxed and trusting of our kids. Glad all was OK, except you being shaken. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday X

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  19. Oh my God, how scary! You poor thing! I think I would have been sick there and then. I this never happens again to you. We have the same 'Stay Safe Rules' in our family.
    #KCACOLS

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  20. That was a a close call - it's happened to me before too and nothing can describe that fear it puts into you can it? Glad she is safe and well and understands how to stay safe. My boys generally are very good too but you just never know do you?

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday

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  21. Not over the top at all, I can totally relate to this as something very similar happened with my 3 year old not that long ago. I love those 'how to stay safe' points, I'm going to be running through them with my daughter now. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

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  22. Oh my, how scary and what a heart stopping moment. But phew. Have a lovely Christmas, stopping by with a very late visit from #wotw

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  23. Arrgh how awful for you. I hate those sickness moments. I worry that I am so overprotective of both of mine and that I will give them extra anxiety (when Biggest is already so anxious) It's so hard to strike the right balance with everything but we can only do our best. #SpectrumSunday

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  24. I can image how scary that must have been for you, and it sounds like Jane got quite a fright too! Am happy it turned out for the best and that you're able to share this as a reminder to all parents out there. #PostsFromTheHeart

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  25. I can totally get this and how scary it must have been. My son is the same he usually stops and waits, until one day he didn't. There was nothing nearby so it was all fine but it's scary and reminds you how little and vulnerable they all are. #postsfromtheheart

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  26. My 4 yr old did this at the zoo today. He knows the place like the back of his hand and off he ran. I had to scoop up his 1 yr old sister , abandon the buggy and sprint after him screaming ' stop ' which he did 300m's later. #postsfromtheheart

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