I finally loaded the pictures from my camera on to the computer and realized that some of them have been sitting there since June. Whoops. I think I just assumed our life wasn't interesting anymore since we are living in Utah and not tropical Southeast Asia but I came upon this picture that reminded me of a terrifying/ridiculously funny story I never blogged about.
We had just moved back and the kids were adjusting to a lot of "new"...new climate, new clothes, new people, new food, new house...John even got a new bed. (Actually for the first few weeks he slept on a pad on the floor and thought it was awesome since we told him it was like camping. How long before he won't buy outright lies like that anymore?) But as soon as he got a new little bed we put the two kids into the same room to sleep and crossed our fingers that it would work. The first few nights were a little rough-- a lot of crying and wanting the other to be quiet and wanting/not wanting a light on, etc. Finally it seemed things were going smoothly. We'd put the kids to sleep in the basement and creep upstairs for reading, watching TV and general grown-up time.
So one night not very long after John had started sleeping in his bed, I was watching TV but losing consciousness fast, so I started closing things down and getting ready to crash for the night. Before going to sleep I always check on the kids, make sure they're asleep, cover them back up (they have inevitably worked their way out of the blankets), and give them final kisses goodnight. It was dark when I went into the kids room and John's bed looked...funny, somehow. I groped around in the dark to figure out what he'd done to the blankets and found that his body wasn't on the bed. Shoot, he's fallen out, was my first thought and I craned my head to the other side to look for him as the first wave of small panic hit. He wasn't there. He wasn't in bed. He wasn't on the floor. He wasn't in the room at all.
I quietly ran to the other room where he had slept on the pad and turned on a light. A quick glance around there showed no sign of a little boy anywhere. Still panicking slightly but trying to keep calm I ran upstairs to tell Michael. John's not in his bed. I can't find him. So now we're BOTH a little panicked. We start looking in some of his favorite hiding spots: the coat closet, behind the bathroom door...all the while calmly but deliberately calling his name. "John? John! Where are you buddy? You need to answer mommy RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I'M GETTING NERVOUS HERE, BIG GUY...(big breath)...ok, John? John!..." You get the picture. By this time Michael had gone back downstairs to do another basement search and I had discovered that we hadn't yet locked the front door for the night. A horrible thought hit me. I had heard kids playing outside at the neighbor's house about an hour previous and it occurred to me that the never-fail Pied Piper call for any kid is to hear other kids playing. What if he had snuck upstairs and outside to find the kids? It was pitch black out now. We were in a new neighborhood and he didn't know his way around. What if he was lost outside? When Michael came up empty-handed he could see horror on my face and as I told him my thought he immediately rushed out the front door and asked me to check out back.
I flipped on the outside lights and called out the back door. No luck. Not even a neighbor kid in sight. Shaking slightly, I went back to an armchair behind me in the living room and knelt down for an extremely quick but fervent prayer. Please let us find him. Please let him be safe. Not knowing what to do but wait for Michael I stayed on my knees, thinking. I had a flash of 2 memories simultaneously that lasted less than a tenth of a second.
The first memory was of my mother losing her retainer and gathering Jared & I around an armchair just like this in our old living room and praying to be able to find it. Immediately after the prayer, we lifted up the couch cushion and there it was. Flashes of inspiration.
The second memory was more recent. John had discovered he could fit his whole body underneath these armchairs where I was praying (there are 4 of them) with flaps on the sides running down to the floor so that he was completely covered. He hid under there a few times when playing Hide & Seek. Laying on my stomach and moving to each chair I pushed those flaps up and under the LAST one, this is what I found:
Well, this isn't EXACTLY what I found. I did find a little boy curled up under the armchair, sweating like crazy and fast asleep, but I actually opened it on the other side and found that not only had he curled up and gone to sleep, but he had taken off his pants and his pull-up so as I stuck my head down to peer under this last chair I was greeted with a naked bum in my face. It was such a shock/relief/hilarious event all in one that I let it out in short, shaky, hiccup-like giggles while the knots that had been wrapping themselves around my heart and lungs over the previous 15 minutes slid off like they'd been tapped with a magic wand and lay in a slithering pool in my stomach. I wanted to vomit a little bit but decided some deep breaths and "thank-yous" to the Almighty would suffice. I ran to the still open front door and called to Michael who thankfully had stayed in the area, looking in bushes and on front porches, and I tearfully told him John was just fine. We of COURSE had to document the experience with pictures and I took one of the BACK view that I initially received but decided against posting it online. I'm sure you understand.
He stayed asleep while we transported him, put his pull-up and pants back on and slipped him back into bed. And we learned our lesson to lock the doors immediately after bedtime. I also learned, just as I did when praying with my mom for her retainer, that the first place you always look is under the chair.