Several years ago, when we first moved into our current house, we undertook some major renovation projects right away. My two brothers-in-law gutted bathrooms and started remodeling them before we even moved in, and then just a few months later we started on the kitchen. Our children were all young (D-boy was only three) so it's no exaggeration to say that it was chaotic around here for a while. But we managed to keep track of everyone...well usually.
One warm spring day we couldn't find D-boy. At first it didn't seem too alarming. I thought he was with his siblings or BadDad, and everyone else assumed he was with me. When it finally occurred to us that he wasn't with anyone, we searched the house, and sent the kids to look in the backyard. There are lots of good hiding spots for a small child around our property, so we felt sure he had to be here somewhere.
D-boy! D-boy! The calls rang out. Nothing.
That was about the time panic started to set in. Every parent knows that cold, clawing feeling that grips your heart at the thought of your child being in danger. It didn't help me to look at BadDad and see my own fears reflected on his face. Though we live on a quiet cul-de-sac, we're not far from a busy road. What if he wandered off? What if someone took him?!
My hubby had another thought. He went out to check the pool.
The minutes ticked by and still we couldn't find him.
Then for some reason, I still don't know why, I opened the door to the coat closet. There was D-boy, curled up, fast asleep. When I lifted him out, he was sweating, and red faced. A closer look inside the closet revealed D-boy's favorite blanket and pillow, and a small bag of toys.
He woke up and groggily informed me that K-boy had helped him move in there.
Under questioning, K-boy admitted that he had told D-boy that the coat closet was his new room...thus leaving K-boy with a room of his own. Somehow it hadn't occurred to him that his brother might be in there during our panicked search.
Once we convinced D-boy that he really couldn't move into a stuffy, windowless closet, we had a long talk with K-boy about using his influence over his younger siblings for good, not evil.
Three years later, we're much more settled in our home. The boys share their large room more or less amiably, and we laugh about the incident that was so terrifying at the time. It just proved once more, parenting is certainly not for the faint hearted!
linking to: Pour Your Heart Out