I feel like I need to call Lifetime Movie Network about our morning this morning. Only, the movie they would make about our experience would not have the happy ending that ours did. I can honestly say I have not been so scared in a while, and will need to do everything possible so that this does not happen again. Nothing even remotely like it (this is the point where more seasoned parents are flicking ashes into their ashtrays, leaning back and groaning, “YYyyyeaapp, you’re just gettin started.”)
I got great sleep last night — just a combo of (I’m sure) needing the rest and meds and a new mattress (finally! A queen-size!). Recognizing the great sleep I was getting, Shaun let me stay in slumber this morning and got up early to shower. Ruby was asleep with her little fan going just next door.
The first thing I was conscious of this morning is Shaun’s voice, filled with fear, screaming Ruby’s name. I shot up and immediately grabbed my robe and lumbered into the hall and down the stairs.
Ruby the Explorer? She was OUTSIDE. Our front door. On a busy Washington, DC street. In her pajamas, pacifier and all. Going, apparently, for a walk.
I shot past Shaun (well, shlubbed) and got Ruby’s little hand (by this time she was headed back to the house having heard her father) and brought her back inside. The next ten minutes are a blur of trying to scare the shit out of her without scaring the shit out of her — wondering WHAT HAPPENED? and trying not to throw up.
I can’t even let myself (all day!) think about even the next one minute of this morning if we had not gotten down there.
There are lots of factors that led to the “security breakdown.” Shaun needed a towel, or had to go downstairs for something, and when he came back up, he didn’t shut the baby gate. In order to let me sleep, he had shut my door (normally it’s open and Ruby makes a beeline for it when she wakes up). We still don’t know why she didn’t poke her head into the bathroom, or why she didn’t come and get me. I guess the open baby gate (and ROAD) were just too inviting.
If you google mapped our house? You would see MAJOR THOROUGHFARES through our capital city. Tour buses and police cars and buses from the DC jail and commuters coming in from Maryland go whizzing down our street starting in the wee hours.
See, I can’t even type about it. I’ve been pacing all day getting the image of her little flowery pajama leg being the only thing we can see of her as we run down the street towards a crowd of people. I feel like I could just lie down and wail for the rest of the afternoon.
Alas, I am on my way to Frager’s Hardware to get about twenty of these suggested items. Or maybe just a roll of this to keep her in bed.
Sweet Heaven, what a morning.
Note: We do have a deadbolt on the door, which is up higher than I would have thought her little hands can reach. We also have a security gate on the door, which is hard for a lot of adults to open. She opened both. We checked both before bed. Kids? They watch everything.
Be careful with your wiley little ones. And hug ‘em. Hard.
Kate Bush, Running Up That Hill