Was it Preventable?

“Was it Preventable?”

That phrase is probably the most common phrase used in our home between me and Vincent. When the kids get into the snacks in the pantry, we ask that question. When Harrison dumps out the sugar bowl or takes the butter off the counter and sits on the couch to indulge in it, we ask that question. When William takes out all the cleaning supplies from underneath the sink and there is suddenly Bon ami powder all over the kitchen floor, we ask that question. When Brooks is in his investigating mood and unscrews all the caps to lotions and bath wash then proceeds to pour them out, we ask that question. And, now that we have our "sweet" puppy, when Rosie chews up the kids’ library books, we ask that question. 

You may not see it immediately when you enter our home, but, if you spend some time there, you’ll quickly see how we have set it up in order to be preventative of things happening. You may try to open the kitchen cabinets and realize you can’t because there are now brand new locks on there that you can only open with a magnet. You’ll see the butter and sugar bowl pushed farrrr back against the counter and you'll realize that you must also place them and other foods back just like that or they will get knocked down or eaten. You’ll see the lotions put high up on a dresser and you’ll notice a slide lock on the pantry door that you most likely will forget to lock (don’t worry… you’ll immediately regret your forgetfulness). You’ll see the garage door always closed and bungee cords on the gates in attempt to keep Harrison from bolting off down the street.

While we do our best to prevent messes and accidents from happening, messes and accidents STILL happen. 
For some reason, a few months ago, I was majorly underestimating Harrison’s abilities. He must have grown two inches taller because there were a few days in a row where messes and accidents happened left and right. (These times are exciting and stressful for a special needs parent- while it's amazing Harrison is learning new things, it's also extremely stressful because he has no sense of danger or impulse control!)

One instance in particular that stands out in my mind is when Brooks announced he had to pee (a huge accomplishment for him). I knew I couldn’t leave Harrison around to wander by himself while I helped Brooks and I also knew he couldn’t come into the bathroom with us since he turns on all the water and gets into the bath tub forcing me to then have to change his sopping wet clothes. Because of this knowledge and since I was in a pee time crunch, I decided to put him in his room and close the door knowing he was safe there since he hadn't figured out the door knob yet. As I was helping Brooks go potty, I suddenly heard the familiar clanking of glass. My heart sank while I screamed and ran into the dining room where I found Harrison standing on the table knocking the hanging lights together. And, yes, he had broken two of them. And, yes, he had figured out the door knob that day. I yanked him off the table and hurriedly searched for where the broken pieces of glass were. Guess who was holding one of them in his hand? Baby William! 
During this fiasco, Brooks was still on the toddler potty and I was yelling for him to stay on there so he wouldn’t attempt to dump the contents out (while he is pretty good at dumping them in the big toilet, some of the contents end up elsewhere). Poor Vincent was trying to sleep after getting off an overnight call yet out he came running from his room to help me. 

While I felt guilty that the chaos had caused Vincent to wake up, it was helpful to hear his words of encouragement and reassurance as he helped me clean things up. He knew I was doing my best at preventing accidents to happen.

Another instance was when William got stuck underneath the coffee table while I was folding a mountain of laundry. Like legit stuck. His thunder thighs had gone through the slats and I could. not. get. them. out. After many attempts, I finally shimmied one leg out but Vincent’s wonderful doctor friend had to drive over to help me get the other leg out. After he left, I forgot to close the garage door behind him; it dawned on me shortly after the incident that I didn't hear Harrison making his usual ruckus. I ran to the door. Yup. It was wide open; my brain went into panic mode as I heard Harrison’s gleeful giggle while he did his super-fast-Harrison-run down the street. Normally I sprint after him and grab him in a matter of seconds. However, I had broken my toe just four days before this incident and it was still fairly sore; I resorted to hobbling after him but he kept getting further and further away. A lady driving by saw me screaming for Harrison to “freeze,” stopped the car, and chased Harrison down for me. 

I felt horrible for "letting" these two particulate instances happen (trust me, if you watch my stories on Instagram, you’ll know many more “instances” occur). My mind went into a negative mode both these times; thoughts of guilt, frustration, self focus and annoyance crept into my mind. I slowly began to realize that, while accidents with the kids are going to happen regardless of how preventative we are in our home, I needed to also be preventative of the thoughts that enter into my mind.

Filling my mind with Scripture daily. Going to church every Sunday to hear God’s Word and to be a part of corporate worship (even when it's really hard to bring all the kids by myself when Vincent is working.) Thanking God for these three blessings He has entrusted me with even when messes cause the day to turn opposite of MY plan. Singing praises unto the Lord. Surrounding myself with a community that speaks God's truth into my life. Taking the focus off of myself and turning that focus to Christ. Choosing joy instead of darkness during frustrating situations.

 All of these areas are ways I can guard my mind from guilty and ungodly thoughts. Instances where I see God’s goodness, grace, and love are things I’m going to choose my mind to reflect upon when preventative steps we take to protect our kids sometimes get overturned by our kids.

P.S. I was reminded of God’s goodness the evening of the William-getting-stuck-and-Harrison-running-off day when I was giving the kids a bath because Brooks had just peed all over the floor and I knew the bath contained them in one spot for at least 20 minutes. I heard the cell phone ‘ding.’ I was hoping it would be a text from Vincent saying he was miraculously getting off work early; he was on a rough rotation where he only had four days off the entire month so I could definitely use his help getting home early. Instead, it was our respite care provider saying she was running about five minutes behind. I was confused. I did not have her on the schedule. Or did I? I looked through the calendar once the kids were in their pjs and couldn’t find her anywhere on the schedule. When she arrived, I told her I wasn’t expecting her but she was MORE than welcome to stay and help. She looked at her schedule again,  noticed that she also didn’t have us on her schedule but took one glance at the state of me and my house and said she’d gladly stay. 

I texted Vincent, who wasn’t going to arrive until after the kids were in bed, telling him to pick a place to grab dinner because we were going out! I jumped into “look presentable” mode while quickly throwing on a dress and attempting to tame my hair that had majorly frizzed up from the stress of the day and chasing Harrison. I know that it was God’s goodness that night with our respite care provider showing up so we could have a much needed night out. I called her an angel that night. What a neat memory to reflect on and know the Lord our God is an awesome God and takes care of His flock in the most mysterious ways!


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