Should I expect a visit from CPS? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yesterday, while I was bedridden with the flu and a migraine, my 19 month old managed to open the front door and escape. Some maintenance guys (two) found her at the bus stop 1 block away (within our apartments) and came to the door. They asked if my little one was missing- which is when I took off running (in jammies, dizzy from my fever) to grab her.

I still can't believe this happened! After she was back home, we cuddled while I cried Also, FWIW, she was only gone for about 5 min- my eight year old was watching her, but left her in the livingroom while she went to the bathroom.

So, do you think I should expect a visit/call from CPS? I didn't think so- and I figured if they did check on us they would've done it by now. My husband, on the other hand, thinks that they may still get involved and that this is possibly enough reason to take our kids (paired with the fact that the sink is full of dishes/laundry not done- even though those things are normally taken care of, and me being sick has made cleaning near impossible.)

Anyway, I'm kinda panicky about this, and just wanted some opinions (and maybe a few "oh, you wouldn't believe what MY little one did" stories ) to help me feel better (or worse?).

Thanks..

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#2 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 02:17 PM
 
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I don't think you need to worry about it. Most people don't go around calling CPS every time something like this happens - so chances are, no one reported you. If your DH is overly worried, I would suggest he clean the place up really well while you rest.

Hope you feel better soon and maybe get a lock up high on your door? Even when we lived in an apartment we were able to install a simple chain lock that makes it harder for LO's to escape.

eta: and yes, something similar has happened to me - when we lived in an apt complex and my 3rd child was a toddler - he got out almost all the way to the parking lot w/o us noticing our kid neighbor luckily saw him and brought him back. realllllly scared the poo out of me, but there was no point in beating myself up over it.

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#3 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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My guess would be that the maintenence guys didn't even contact any authorities- they got the baby home safely within a few minutes, and they would have had no reason to call the police (who would call CPS if they felt it was needed).

However, if this kind of thing happens repeatedly, and you take no steps to prevent the baby from getting out the front door, somebody just might call CPS (and CPS will be more likely to "do something" if this is the case.) You need to secure the front door somehow to keep your toddler from getting out by herself- a high lock is a good idea.

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#4 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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I agree with Drummer's Wife, I doubt they called. I also agree about putting a lock high up, we had to do that with our 2yo. who kept getting out to go to grandma's next door without asking.

OTOH, if they do happen to show up you DO NOT have to let them in without a warrant. The 4th amendment gives you legal protection against them just walking in and taking your child.
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#5 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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we actually have a high lock- but I was so out of it that I forgot to do the latch

Trust me though, it has been very secure since this happened, lol!

also, husband is in his first year of law school and isn't really available at all.. He leaves as the rest of us are waking up and we don't see him until bedtime- and then he stays up doing homework for 1-2 hours I wish I could ask him for some help.. especially when I'm feeling so sick..

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#6 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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I am sorry that that happened, and that you are sick.

I just wanted to add that a messy house that involves CPS is when the child is in danger ie) fecal matter, broken things... definately not dishes and laundry.

Hope you feel better soon,
-Melanie
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#7 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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Try not to dwell to much on it and make sure to keep your house super secure. Not just when you are sick, but whenever you have to turn your back. I am one of those super dooper freaky paranoid mamas that just imagines the WORST possible things happening, and try to avoid it at all costs. So when my Toddler started being able to not only turn the knob lock, but the DEADBOLT as well, I got one of those knob covers, and I got one for my moms house too. perhaps that could work too.

Although I work my arse off to prevent those sort of things from happening, I am also very aware that it happens to EVERYONE, and someday, I will be right here, posting about it and looking for words of comfort from mamas who have been there.

The fact that you were so sick over it shows what an awsome mama you are. I was bedridden with a debilitating migraine last weekend. I know that you couldnt even think about anything but the pain. I am surprised you had the energy to answer the door.
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#8 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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My youngest let himself out at my family's summer house when he was 2. DH had left to go to the coffee shop and I forgot to latch the high latch after him. I was doing the dishes, then remembered that DS had taken off his diaper (we were potty training and let him go au natural in the summer), and couldn't remember if I'd put a new one on him.

When I went to look for him, he was just gone. I ran all over the house, shouting for him, and then looked out the back door at the ocean and my stomach lurched. I called 911 immediately. ODS kept looking inside and I ran down to the shore to look there.

As DH and the police showed up, here comes DS, trotting down the (small, private) road in nothing but a diaper and rain boots, happy as a clam. No idea where he had been. It had been about 10 minutes since I noticed him gone and I was steely-eyed fine until I saw him again and then I got absolutely hysterical with relief.....cop suggested a stiff whiskey...it was before 10AM!

If I didn't get a CPS call, you certainly won't!

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#9 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you so much for the replies.. I can't even imagine how scared you must have been, Mamma G! I mean- I know the feeling but to know that there is WATER nearby and that you are in a somewhat unfamiliar place, terrifying..

Soren actually crossed the street to get to the bus stop and she was sitting happily waiting when I showed up

The bus happened by about 45 seconds later too- can't even imagine what would have happened if I didn't snag her- I'm sure she would've tried to get on

Seriously though- I WILL look back and LMAO someday.. (as long as CPS stays away!)

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#10 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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I have heard two sayings:

1.) there is a seperate God for Children.

2.) God watches out for those who aren't being watched at the moment.

I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier! DS1 was about 21 months old. I was at an aunts house with my mom and cousins. She lives kinda out there, but on a road that people FLY on. My mother, Cousin2, DS2 and DS1 and I are in the house while Aunt and Cousin1 are outside on the deck working on something. DS1 goes out the front door. Now, knowing Aunt and cousin1 are out there, I do the "I am sure they saw him come out" thing in my head. About a minute goes by, and I just get this sudden feeling that I should check to make sure they saw him come out. I go outside, THEY HAD NO IDEA HE CAME OUTSIDE! There I am, SPRINTING towards the road with my infant in my arms SCREAMING "CHARLIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Lord I havent been more terrified in my life. When I tell you people travel on that road at 50 EASY, right past her house. Thankfully, he was on the other side of the house, trying to get up the stairs of her other porch.

MammaG's post made me suddenly remember this story.
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#11 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 04:56 PM
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I really can't imagine. How awful.
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#12 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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Since your husband is newly in law school, he's probably having a similar syndrome happen that happens to people in school for healthcare related fields. What you learn about, you think you have (always fun in the STD classes! terrifying in the cancer classes). So he sees everything in terms of authority etc right now, just b/c of what he's learning. (my SIL is a lawyer and went through law school several years after college, I saw it happen with her, too)


I wouldn't worry.
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#13 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 05:36 PM
 
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I doubt you'll have any trouble with CPS.

Also, didn't you just move there? I think these kind of things are common when you move, because everything is so new and your brain is just so overstimulated that you miss things here and there.

We moved when my 3rd was about 5 months old and I let him fall of the couch twice in one day. Fortunately, he was tough, but I don't know why I kept setting him down on there. My brain was just on the fritz!

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#14 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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The only time I've ever seen CPS called for a runaway toddler was with my sister. My nephew got out (he was napping, got up and dragged a stool to the door, undid the deadbolt and slipped out...my sister was in the kitchen, doing dishes, and didn't hear anything over running water) and a woman saw him in the street. He ran back inside and she followed him. My sister answered the door in a tank top - and my sister has about half a "vest" of tattoos. Apparently, her appearance rubbed the woman (as my sister describes her, she was one of those really self-righteous, holier-than-thou types) the wrong way, and she didn't like my sister's "attitude". So, she called CPS. The house was a mess (my nephew was a one child wrecking crew when he was little...books torn off the shelves, movies everywhere, etc.), but they asked about the incident, looked around, and that was that.

The same nephew got out a year or two later, when we were all sharing a house. He was spotted by some city workers down the street, and boogied back home fast (he was happy to wander around by himself, but not when strange people were calling him!). He was 3 then. They knocked on the door, and asked if "a little boy with one boot and a diaper" had come in. My sister talked to them, and they left. No incident report. Most people do understand that little kids can get past even vigilant parents. Plus, if you're running a fever, it may even be visible (you know, that flushed, shiny-eyed, weird look people get sometimes). I can't imagine these guys calling CPS because a sick mom lost track of her child for a couple minutes.

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#15 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 06:02 PM
 
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They could show up but I am sure if the workers who found your child could see you were sick they would not call on you. Just to be safe you might want to do your best to pick up the house. If you can not get to washing the dishes right away stash them in the oven until you can. Make sure whatever can be seen from the entry is clean and neat. All a social worker has to do is write "sinkful of dirty dishes and full trashcan" or something like that on a report and that can be changed easily into "filthy house". I have dealth with them before and I am sorry to say they are a dirty organization (sorry no offense to anyone who disagrees) and they will do what they can to get more cases so their job is secure! If they do come do not let them in. Step outside alone (be sure you can see your kids so they can't hold that against you) and speak with them. Explain that you were sick and you have taken measures to ensure your child will NEVER get out again. Try not to mention you were sleeping and your 8yo was watching. Give as little info as possible!

My son got out once and I did not know it. He almost was hit by a truck and would have been if a kind stranger had not stopped and flagged down the truck so it slowed down and had time to swerve around my son. My boy walked away with only a scratch on his hand where he reached his hand out toward the truck!!! Let me tell you my husband and I cried and cried. We called and got relatives to come out and install locks and a fenced in area. Our house was like a fortress! I am lucky no one reported us. But what could we do, we were sitting right there and he just slipped out! Kids can be sneaky and quiet.

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#16 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 06:11 PM
 
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Did you mention to the workers that you're sick? I'm sure most people in that situation would not report you. It happens to a lot of people!

My younger brother was a little houdini and used to sneak outside when he was 3 or 4, grab his tricycle, and head off down the street on an adventure. I still remember my mom panicking and racing off after him when we realized he was gone--it happened more than once, and each time he was an entire block away before someone stopped him and we found him. My parents installed a lock at the top of the door and used it all the time during the day, so she knew he couldn't reach it and get out the door alone. My house has one, and when I'm sick or dozing off on the couch, I fasten that upper lock. Just in case. Maybe it will make you feel better if you get one of those or start using it if you already have one. Hope you're feeling better, mama!
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#17 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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Read your first post and skimmed the replies, sorry if any of this is repetitive:

I know a lot about CPS and yes, that is the kind of incident that if anyone did call it in, they would usually investigate. And, honestly, they should, because even though it's understandable how it happened in your case, a 19 month old out on the street alone is not ok. But that said, given what happened in your case, I doubt they'd get involved much beyond that, unless they felt like you were overwhelmed or something and even then it would not at ALL rise to the level of removing your kids if that's all that was going on.

Mainly though, if you haven't heard from them by now, they're probably not coming. And it sounds like you've rectified the situation and you will probably never let your older child leave the baby alone again (does your older child understand that if she's watching the baby in an emergency she should take the baby wherever she goes?, like the bathroom?), and will always lock the lock, so you probably don't need to worry.

But I was also concerned that it sounds like you feel like you have little to no support in general. Did you talk to your husband about you two having a plan for next time you're sick? I'm a lawyer so I've been through law school and I know that no matter how stressful and all-encompassing it is, you can find time for emergencies and a sick partner and kids is an emergency that you can plan around. Have you talked to him about what you guys can do differently next time you're sick? Do you have have family/friends who you can BOTH call on to help you at least for a few hours next time?

And help with the house - even the busiest med student or law student can commit to a weekend day or a half weekday to help you clean the house. Do laundry or he can watch the kids while you clean, maybe take them out of the house so you can realyl get to work.

Have you talked to him about things like that, so it doesn't all fall on you?
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#18 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Even though your stories are making me tear up, I'm glad I'm not the only one who has 'let' a lo break free..

I did do the dishes yesterday (while I was burning up) and again this morning, and I did all of our general cleaning (putting toys where they go, making beds, putting clothes in baskets, et cetera..). I took the garbage out too, mostly because I stress if isn't out at aleast 1x/day

I think our house is pretty good- I'm not one for having diapers lying around and old cups under the futon (I find sippys under all kinds of things, but I do regular walk thoughs to pick up- for ants and my sanity..).

I think that milkybean is onto something too.. DH was actually briefing cases reguarding social security and child welfare, so yeah..

And I definetely look(ed) sick I had sweat dripping down my head and I was crazy pale yesterday.. I probably looked kinda like a crackhead too (but don't tell them I said that).

btw, I love the babies in boot(s) stories! Soren had a sposie on- 8 yr old found a pullup - no shoes and a yellow, musical bus... guessing that's what gave her the idea to go catch a bus.. more about it now, as time goes by..

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#19 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LROM View Post
Read your first post and skimmed the replies, sorry if any of this is repetitive:

I know a lot about CPS and yes, that is the kind of incident that if anyone did call it in, they would usually investigate. And, honestly, they should, because even though it's understandable how it happened in your case, a 19 month old out on the street alone is not ok. But that said, given what happened in your case, I doubt they'd get involved much beyond that, unless they felt like you were overwhelmed or something and even then it would not at ALL rise to the level of removing your kids if that's all that was going on.

Mainly though, if you haven't heard from them by now, they're probably not coming. And it sounds like you've rectified the situation and you will probably never let your older child leave the baby alone again (does your older child understand that if she's watching the baby in an emergency she should take the baby wherever she goes?, like the bathroom?), and will always lock the lock, so you probably don't need to worry.

But I was also concerned that it sounds like you feel like you have little to no support in general. Did you talk to your husband about you two having a plan for next time you're sick? I'm a lawyer so I've been through law school and I know that no matter how stressful and all-encompassing it is, you can find time for emergencies and a sick partner and kids is an emergency that you can plan around. Have you talked to him about what you guys can do differently next time you're sick? Do you have have family/friends who you can BOTH call on to help you at least for a few hours next time?

And help with the house - even the busiest med student or law student can commit to a weekend day or a half weekday to help you clean the house. Do laundry or he can watch the kids while you clean, maybe take them out of the house so you can realyl get to work.

Have you talked to him about things like that, so it doesn't all fall on you?
you know, I think that they should investigate things like this too, I'm just hoping I wasn't reported since I don't really have the time to worry about this (though- I've enjoyed being sick enough to ignore my 'projects', but not too sick to be typing.. first 'break' I've had in a long time).

which brings me to your concern about me not having support.. which I don't have. We just moved here, many states away from our family/friends, and we really don't have anyone to call. I would love for my partner to be here more but he says that he has NO time.. The free time that he does have, he has spent with other law students (which is going to be saved for another thread down the road ). I do manage to get things done (we homeschool too) but I can see how I look overwhelmed

I usually do well with everything on my plate, but def not during the 1x/year that I get sick.. (I most likely have H1N1, since it's all over our area right now).

My oldest usually is in charge of 'playing' when I'm cleaning- and still able to 'see' them, so this is prolly the first time I've had her actually watch the baby. She sees me go to the bathroom without dd3 often, so I don't think she did anything wrong. Neither of us had any idea that Soren could actually open the door (I'll have them in the room with me next time I need a nap though...).

So, I doubt they're coming at this point- but at least I learned a couple of really good lessons out of this... Soren's CRAFTY! and latches only work if they're latched

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#20 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 06:52 PM
 
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It's pretty unlikely they'd take the kids and IMO- it's unlikely that the maintenance guys will even call. They aren't mandated anyway and they're men- if I had to guess, I'd say men calling about stuff like that is rare.
Plus, stuff like this has happened to quite a few parents, maybe even to them. There was a thread like this a while back
Good luck- and get better soon!

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#21 of 57 Old 09-18-2009, 06:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MammaG View Post
My youngest let himself out at my family's summer house when he was 2. DH had left to go to the coffee shop and I forgot to latch the high latch after him. I was doing the dishes, then remembered that DS had taken off his diaper (we were potty training and let him go au natural in the summer), and couldn't remember if I'd put a new one on him.

When I went to look for him, he was just gone. I ran all over the house, shouting for him, and then looked out the back door at the ocean and my stomach lurched. I called 911 immediately. ODS kept looking inside and I ran down to the shore to look there.

As DH and the police showed up, here comes DS, trotting down the (small, private) road in nothing but a diaper and rain boots, happy as a clam. No idea where he had been. It had been about 10 minutes since I noticed him gone and I was steely-eyed fine until I saw him again and then I got absolutely hysterical with relief.....cop suggested a stiff whiskey...it was before 10AM!

If I didn't get a CPS call, you certainly won't!

LMAO. The same thing (almost) happened to us when DD was a tot. We were at my brother's, I was sleeping (it was like 5am) and she got out, in the winter, wearing a diaper and a neighbor came and knocked on the door holding her. This was also on a dirt road and my brother has a lakefront home. Yikes!
The nieghbor (a mother herself) didn't call anyone. But I sure am glad she was outside!

Monther of Riley (11), Andrew (4) and Victoria (7 months)
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#22 of 57 Old 09-19-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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They aren't mandated anyway
BTW,there is actually no way to know that. They might not be mandated as a result of their type of work, but in some locales, all residents are mandated reporters...or they could, for example, be foster parents or otherwise be mandated reporters for non-occupational reasons.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#23 of 57 Old 09-19-2009, 12:54 AM
 
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I wouldn't worry. I am sure these guys are parents and most parents try to extend compasion towards one another.

Here is my story:
About a month ago DH was out of town on business. My two dogs needed a potty break so I stepped onto the back porch with them (no fenced in yard) and closed the door behind me to keep bugs out and DS in (he was naked since we just ate dinner and were on our way to a bath). The door is all glass and DS (21 mo) was playing right inside with his cars. I turn my back to the door and a second or two later I hear "click". I turned aound in horror to see DS had locked me out!

I tried to encourage him to play with the lock more and let Mommy in, but he could see panic in my eyes and started sobbing. I ran all over the house and every stinking window was locked. I tried every garden tool I could to wedge open the door and even tried breaking a window.

Finally I ran next door to ask the gentleman who lived there to help me (we never met). He comes to my back porch to see a sweaty, barefoot woman pressed up to a glass door trying to calm her sobbing, NAKED child. He tried to break pen the door (no luck) and finally calls the fire department. At that point my son just laid down on the floor, curled up and sobed. I could not stand the site of him like that, grabbed a shovel, jammed it into the door frame and slammed with all 120lbs of me and broke through the door.

The neighboor just said "Wow!" and called the fire department to cancel.

CPS was never called although I am certain he thinks I am crazy.

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Joyful mother to DS born 11/07 and DD born 04/10 (an unexpected HB)
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#24 of 57 Old 09-19-2009, 01:04 AM
 
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Finally I ran next door to ask the gentleman who lived there to help me (we never met). He comes to my back porch to see a sweaty, barefoot woman pressed up to a glass door trying to calm her sobbing, NAKED child. He tried to break pen the door (no luck) and finally calls the fire department. At that point my son just laid down on the floor, curled up and sobed. I could not stand the site of him like that, grabbed a shovel, jammed it into the door frame and slammed with all 120lbs of me and broke through the door.

The neighboor just said "Wow!" and called the fire department to cancel.

CPS was never called although I am certain he thinks I am crazy.
Supermama! You go, girl ... show that blinkin' locked door who's boss!
Your story pulled my heartstrings (sobbing baby) and made me laugh (you breaking the door in) ...

dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#25 of 57 Old 09-19-2009, 02:30 AM
 
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Can I just say the thing that I think I shouldnt be saying????????? I am totally stereotyping here, but this is the gist I get from my hubby and how he reacts and all the things I have read here.

They were men right? I dont think men even know there is a CPS. I think they are easier on the whole screw up thing than women are.

K, I said it. I think it is the pink elephant.
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#26 of 57 Old 09-19-2009, 02:32 AM
 
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I think your dh needs to STFU when you're sick. If he's really freaked out he can do the dishes, etc, himself.

My dh is the same way when he gets freaked out. Starts complaining to me about stuff I can't change and starts getting me freaked out. And you know what? He's been wrong nearly every time and the few times he was right it was only about a tenth as bad as he said it'd be.

If he started in on something like that while I had the flu, I'd tell him to shove it.
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#27 of 57 Old 09-19-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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at the bus toy and going to go see the bus. (also
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#28 of 57 Old 09-19-2009, 02:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cutiekitties View Post
Can I just say the thing that I think I shouldnt be saying????????? I am totally stereotyping here, but this is the gist I get from my hubby and how he reacts and all the things I have read here.

They were men right? I dont think men even know there is a CPS. I think they are easier on the whole screw up thing than women are.

K, I said it. I think it is the pink elephant.
LOL. You're probably right.

I personally do NOT think CPS should be called if a kid gets out of the house one single time. It's one of those things that happens to anybody. Tons of people in this country leave a child with one thirteen-year-old while they are at work! Three-year-olds have go-cart races on gravel roads! I mean sheesh. If CPS has time to investigate that... but not repeated reports of children looking emaciated, starving to death, then I think people who call in every naked toddler should think about the resources they are using up. I mean really.

OP, I hope they don't call CPS. I also hope you can get some support, although frankly, an eight-year-old watching a toddler in a family room with a lock while sick mom rests and dad is in law school doesn't sound like an end-of-the-world situation to me. I mean hard for you but kids have been through hella worse.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#29 of 57 Old 09-19-2009, 03:28 AM
 
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That must have been scary, but I'm very glad that everyone is OK and that nothing happened!

As for BTDT stories, um, I did it. Took myself off out the front door when my grandpa and dad were watching me (and Dad has not heard the end of that one and it's been more than 20 years). I wanted to go to the shops, because Mum was at the shops, and no one would take me so I took myself!

I got halfway there before realising that I was lost and then I got upset and apparently sat on the side of the road crying. Luckily a neighbour walked by then and found me and took me home, where everyone was in a state of panic searching for me (Mum had just arrived home).
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#30 of 57 Old 09-19-2009, 03:52 AM
 
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OMG! i bet your heart was in your stomach!

ok so here is my story...

my Aunt, my cousin and i were at the mall. my cousin was 2ish and he use to always hide under the racks and such. well my aunt and i were looking around we turned to find him NO WHERE!!!! i started to look under ALL the racks and she is running around frantic!!!! as we dart over to the nearest cash register to report him missing we hear the "if a mother has lost a small boy please report to the customer service center" announcement over the loud speaker.

we go to customer service to find him wrapped in a mens dress coat. a women working in the mens suit department found him. he had managed to get naked (so like him at 2 he LOVED to be nakkie as he would say!!!!) and she had to wrap him in a coat to take him to customer service. i remember my aunt sobbing and all my cousin said is " look mommy i am nakkie" "I's took my's cloths off all by myself are you proud" is was soooo not cute right there and then, but now i look back and LMAO!!!!

but my poor aunt was the same way... i could tell she was heart broken!!! but it all worked out and now we have a funny butt story to tell!!!!

Your life doesnât change by the man whos elected. If your loved by someone you can't be rejected... decide what to be and go be it! If your a caged bird brake in and demand that somebody free it.
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