We've also had to make adjustments in the home to keep her inside and safe. I always keep the garage doors down (she isn't tall enough yet to reach the garage door openers). We have a lock on the top of our front door that she can't reach. And we have gates in the backyard that she can't open. This makes life doable for us. She likes to wander around the house and play by herself. She will play for hours in the basement playroom. Listen to music and dance in her room upstairs. Play on the swing set and trampoline in the backyard. She doesn't need me by her side every minute and this way I know she is in the house somewhere. This system usually works unless there are friends over. Then the boys go outside to play basketball and leave the garage door open or run out the front door to play football and leave the front door unlocked. That's what happened yesterday afternoon.
I assumed Morgan and Mia were downstairs playing and had to go pick up Hadley from gymnastics. I started looking for them. Couldn't find them in the house. Not in the backyard. The front door was unlocked. The garage door was up. The gate in the backyard was open. I'm not one to worry. That's Gavin's job. But he wasn't here and wasn't answering his phone at work. Morgan usually only goes a few houses down and is found either knocking on their front door or trying to open it. I ran down the street both ways and couldn't see her on anyone's front porch. I got Jack and Ryan and their friends to help look for them in the neighborhood, after yelling at them about the garage door and front door being left open (something about never getting to have friends over again). I got in my car and started driving through the neighborhood. Asking neighbors if they had seen them. No one had. I didn't think they could go far. Neither of them had their shoes on in the house. I drove almost to the school and didn't see them walking down that sidewalk. I drove the other way to the school and didn't see them on those sidewalks or in the big church parking lot that has a short cut to the school. I was beginning to panic. My mind was racing about all of the possibilities. Hit by a car. Abducted. Wandered into a neighbor's yard and drowned in their pool.
Just then my friend called and said she had found them. They were at the school playground. She had them in her car and was bringing them home. Morgan was wearing Jack's friends tennis shoes. 8 sizes too big. Mia was barefoot. Both had red, flushed, sweaty faces and big smiles. I asked them where they had been. Morgan just kept saying, "Stop it mom!" She knew she had done something naughty. Mia kept saying, "Faster! Faster!" I tried to get her to say more but all I got was "Morgan do!" I guess I'll never know the full story but if I had to guess I'd say Morgan knew this was their chance at freedom and must have grabbed on to Mia's little hand and ran as fast as she could. And she encouraged Mia to keep up with her by repeating the words, "Faster! Faster!"
I wish I would've gotten a picture of those naughty faces. All hot and sweaty from their big escape. Running at least 1/4 of a mile. Morgan in shoes way too big for her feet. And through all of my fear and worry was a little pride. Proud of Morgan. Finding her school playground all by herself. And grateful that her school is in our neighborhood and not across a busy street.
Maybe 9 years old will be the magic year . . .