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Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I remove the last of the safety devices on the last drawer in the kitchen. I can’t recall how much that particular mistake cost, but I know that it was extravagant. The things I wanted to be secure such as the fridge and the oven, could not be secured.

Back then chaos ruled and nothing was secure, least of all my own brain. I knew that something was amiss but I was unable to pin down what it was, exactly or even partially. I suspected that I had made a serious error of judgment, that I was simply too old to have three young children. Their dad worked for a start up, which roughly translates to involuntary servitude. Guilt made him indulgent. “Of course, get someone in to install child locks on everything and damn the cost.” Ultimately, it was of no help, but at the time it seemed like a solid investment.

I can recall the man who came to the house quite vividly. We had lived in America for about 6 years. Although my memory is unreliable, I don’t remember meeting anyone during that time who was unfriendly. My knowledge of Americans was limited, but if he was Californian, then I was a chicken. He wandered around my house slowly with a casual air of disdain.

Usually, when someone came to fix something, the fixer would remain in one place fixing something whilst I charged around herding. This was different. I had to accompany him and give detailed instructions as to what was to be secured and what did not. He ran his finger over every surface and looked in every door and drawer with distaste and impatience. I had never met an unfriendly American, nor had I ever invited such a person into my home. I tried to hold an intelligent conversation with him, over the din of my very loud and wild children. I carried one or other of them alternately. If I was the sun, then my planets were in close orbit at all times. His disapproval was palpable.

As I hauled the children upstairs they wailed all the more loudly. My explanation "we don't tend to go upstairs during the day time," sounded ludicrous even to my own ears. "Whadaya want a gate for then?" he sneered.
"So that they can't escape at night time," seemed equally bizarre.

As he left, his passing shot was, “I’ll send the estimate in the mail, but nothing will secure your kids more than good parenting.”

I was mortified and chastised in one icy breath.

But that was then, and this is now. I put all the locks in a bag together with their screws and fitments, enough to secure Fort Knox, nearly all of them broken as my son approaches.

"What you are do?"
"Just taking off the old baby locks dear."
"We dun be needen em no more?"
"Nope, I think we're safe enough, just as we are."


Jeni said...

We've just begun adding locks and stuff around this old place now. There's a deadbolt lock now on the door to the basement, another on the door from the kitchen to the deck too. A slip lock thing on the inside of the cupboard under the sink and another contraption on the cupboard where the cereals are stored. And a little hook thing up high on the door to my room too! The bathroom door has to be closed tightly if Kurtis is on the loose but that doesn't stop Maya from going in there as she can open the door -strong enough to turn the knob ya know. Besides, with toilet training being something she's finally begun to pay attention to, it would be self-defeating to put a separate lock on that door, wouldn't it? Just need to find higher places in the bathroom to hide things though -like a shelf only the grownups can reach where we can put lotions and hair sprays and baby powders and such. I noticed tonight a very nice think film of baby powder on the floor in the bathroom after she'd been in there. LOL
I'd say you've really crossed into new turf on your end if you could remove those locks and especially if the one boy responded that way about them too. Gotta be a good positive feeling for ya, isn't it?

Anne said...

I've been out of town for a while and am now trying to catch up on your posts.

We remodeled our kitchen last summer and all the drawer stops and cabinet locks went out with the old stuff. We hadn't needed the locks for years, yet I never removed them. I still tend to open the cabinet with the medicinein in the kitchen with the same force I used when the lock was in place. Old habits...

LceeL said...

I have yet to see the parent of an ASD child who isn't head and shoulders above many parents I've know of 'normal' kids: parents who go through the whole thing on 'cruise control', who never get truly involved with their kids, who never get to know them on the level that ASD parents get to know THEIR kids. That guy needs a spanner shoved up his bum.

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