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Sunday, May 27, 2007

No beating around the bush

["Ben Ownby" Found Alive]

I print off the email from the school and march into the family room for a serious discussion. It has arrived minutes after I have read about a "safety" programme in what is clearly becoming "the State" that is ahead of the hunt.

I give them the pertinent facts gleaned from the warning notice from the school, once I have commanded their attention. [translation = no mean feat! Perhaps I should have done this one-on-one instead?] I quickly find that I have taken on the role of game show host.


'Silver Sedan car, white male with dark hair, 'help me find my dog' to one of the children at their school.'

A near miss for that child, who beat a hasty retreat to an adult. We cannot be as confident of a similar response.

“No a dog!” protests the superhero of felines. A group discussion ensues as the merits of saving various types of pets, but rapidly descends into a debate about species of animals. I corral them all in – back on topic. What would each of them do if faced with a similar situation?

Junior pipes up to declare that he would consider getting in the car if it were "golden" rather than silver. I suppress a sigh and sit on my hands to prevent myself from tearing my hair out.

Further talk assesses skin and hair colour. The colour combinations bear no resemblance to reality or racism, more Todd Parr. I am ready to lie down and die, because we are so far off track and nowhere near the real nub of the dilemma, indeed it would appear that no-one is even aware that there is a dilemma. As usual I have failed to take the time to think through the ramifications of such a topic.

My son back tracks to the make of the car, what exactly is a sedan? I am suddenly aware that I am not at all sure what a sedan is? Knowledge of cars is probably my weakest suit. I operate on a line of elimination – not a mini, not a lorry, not a minivan, not an estate. I know that I’m being cross continental, or maybe just cross, that my delivery only serves to further muddy the waters.

Junior is unconcerned with the type of car, but is keen to examine the potential make or brand of the "tyres" that any erstwhile pedophile might utilize. Grouchiness begins to overwhelm me as Junior quizzes us, as to whether or not ‘see dan’ is a compound word? When ‘sedan’ is broken into it’s phonetic parts. This gives cause for his brother to point out that it is merely two separate words, the verb ‘see’ and the man’s name, ‘Dan,’ providing further evidence of his aural processing skills and attention to his work sheets, where the character ‘Dan,’ features all too frequently for my liking.

I am ready to weep, but instead call for order in the house. Enough. Cease and desist! Attend to the matter at hand, namely abduction, which I refer to as theft. [of the person] I seem to be the only one flustered and frustrated.

Not for the first time, I have cause to recall that I often both mis-read and underestimate their abilities. Such an incident occurred when most of my children were permanently naked. [translation = no ‘dressing’ skills coupled with tactile defensiveness which made the texture of clothing abhorrent] I worried that they were unduly vulnerable, as they had no sense of ‘modesty.’ I was proved wrong during a visit to the ER, where my semi conscience non-verbal son, had a complete meltdown when a kindly female nurse attempted to "unbutton" his flies.

How come 'stranger danger' is so much more complicated these days? If they lured with candy, that would ensure that junior would be safe. [translation = the "neophobic" one] If the stranger sported an attractive bear T-shirt, that would mean my other son would be safe. [translation = "ursaphobia"] My daughter. I look at her giggling enjoying the fun with her brothers. Would "lizards" be her undoing?

I look at my rabble whilst my mind travels through the options of library books, "social stories" and modeling. If the cats have microchips why not the children? Isn't it enough that we have to worry about the "Houdini" issue without enduring further angst from abductors?
“What am I going to do?” I mutter under my breath. My daughter stops giggling to tell me, “it’s o.k. mum, they’re not stupid you know!”
We look one to another, and "another," and "another."

I know she’s "right."

7 comments:

KEYNOTER said...

Stranger danger is something very important to me because when I was six years old a man took me and my cousin by the hand outside my grandmothers house and walked us away. He began to try all the car handles to see if he could find one open. I pretended a nearby house was mine and pulled away from him with my cousin holding my hand. We went into a house garden and shut the gate and he went away.
I don't want to freak my girls out by making them overly anxious about stranger danger but I always tell them to be aware of any situation in which they find themselves not feeling SAFE. When that UNSAFE feeling comes, it's a signal that what they're doing is not right for
them.

mumkeepingsane said...

It scares me that Patrick, at this point, cannot even distiguish between a stranger and a friend. I mean, he might ask "who's that" if we run into someone he's never met, but he does not grasp the concept that not all people are "friends".

The unpredictability is hard too. One day he might climb into a car with a perfect stranger, the next day he might run out into traffic rather than be reigned in by anybody. It's enough to give me chest pains.

farmwifetwo said...

My youngest would never have gone near him. The eldest would have struck up a conversation and looked at the car.

Tough one.

I was followed home from school in h/s.

Fingers crossed it never becomes an issue.

S.

Frogs' mom said...

Oh so scary! Little Frog is still so young and unpredictable that he is really never out of some sort of supervisor's sight. The non-verbal issue also makes me anxious - he really can't tell me what is going on - I hope that his new AAC voice output device will eliminate this worry soon. I'm sure if someone he didn't know tried to get too close to him in a way that made him feel uncomfortable he would scream, bite, pinch and run - but since this is not unusual behavior for him, it is a little like the boy who cried wolf and I wonder how long it would be before someone came to his aid. It is another reason the home schooling option is becoming so appealing to us.

Stomper Girl said...

I'm convinced that my 6-year-old would walk off with anyone who offered him sweets. And even without the complication of autism, it's difficult to know what to say to them because they are both very friendly children who assume that everyone is their friend. And in a lot of ways I don't want to disabuse them of this notion.

Good luck getting through with your message!

VAB said...

Hilarious. I've never had that exact conversation, but I've had many similar ones.

Our guy, at the tender age of four [translation= still functionally non-verbal] wandered away from his daycare and walked 10 blocks through Brooklyn, crossing two four-lane streets, before arriving home where, being too short to reach the doorbell, he sat on the stoop until a passerby, who had probably made a futile attempt to extract information from him, was good enough to call the police.

angelmeg said...

Blessedly these guys are resiliant and perceptive. You would be amazed at what they retain when you don't think anything is getting through.

I know that our son never seemed to be listening to any of those messages when we were trying to warn him off of strangers. By the grace of God and his being pretty level headed he never got into a situation that was unsafe.

He is much more protective of his younger sister though, (as an almost adult, she being ten,) so I suppose those messages got through to him.

 
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