|Kylie loving on the calf|
It is a glorious day.
I am clutching her precious baby hand tightly within my protective mommy hand. I love the feel of her soft skin and her little fingers spooning with mine. I often take a snapshot of these moments in my mind. I so treasure these seemingly insignificant little things.
We are at the State Fair and it is so crowded! People are jostling us and bumping into us. I squeeze my little girl's hand tight. I know she doesn't like crowds, or sound, or light, or noise... but it is the State Fair... there is so much to see! I don't want her to miss out!
In one hand I am balancing all of our "fair loot" piled precariously high and in the other, I hold my greatest treasure: The baby girl that I waited and prayed for longer than I care to remember.
The heat is stifling, people are cranky, babies are crying, papas are scolding. Someone bumps into me from the left and my pile shifts... it begins to tumble. I drop my girl's hand to catch the mementos of our day. When I reach for her again - just a split second later- she is... gone.
I frantically turn around - my head is whipping back and forth as my eyes search the crowd... she is gone!! Where is she? I catch a glimpse of her several feet away - scared - really scared. My heart catches in my throat- I literally cannot breathe- I try to scream- nothing comes out. I push against the crowd, but I can't get through fast enough. I see her turn in circles-disoriented- looking for me. I see her start to panic, jerk, the people are getting too close - she runs...
The crowd is so heavy! Why can't I break through? When did I become so weak? Kylie! I am here! Why can't you hear me? Baby just stand still... I am coming! "Please!" I hear myself scream (out loud)! "Let me through!"
And then... it happens... one of two things. It always happens... The things I dread the most... at this point, I see - literally see- a vehicle hit my baby or- even worse- I see someone grab her and take off with her!
It is always here that I wake up in a cold sweat, heart thumping, TERRIFIED of what I just lived through in my worst nightmare.
I know these anxious thoughts are unreasonable and way overboard, but even so, they still come to me. The other day I was reading aloud to my husband as he drove and I stopped mid sentence and said "Did you buckle her in?" He looked at me as though I had lost my mind and said "Yes"... the reason I asked is that as I was reading, I had this vision of her flying right by me in the front seat and going through the windshield. (I KNOW!! so crazy!! but this happens to me ALL the time!! Talk about mommy fears on overload!!)
I do not know how people go through the loss of a child. Having my daughter hit by a car would be a tragedy, but having her kidnapped- to me- is far worse. It would be everlasting torture wondering where she was, if she was alright, what was happening to her, Did she miss or want me? Were people hurting her? Did she think we abandoned her?
While having everyone - and I mean everyone - stop us and tell us how beautiful our daughter is (and we can take no credit - as she is adopted) is so much fun, it is also extremely scary as I know my girl is a target for predators. People are always watching her.
It was after one of these horrifying dreams that I began to put my thinking cap on and explore ways of keeping my daughter more safe. The "easiest" way was to utilize a safety harness, but with so much controversy surrounding these, I really didn't want to go that route.
I had even recently read an article that said that parents who used these were "lazy parents" - I wanted to jump through the pages of that magazine and throttle the author. They obviously have never parented a child who experiences special needs - let alone autism. "lazy parenting?" let me trade places with them for One single solitary day. They would change that description faster than they could sharpen their pencil.
I finally decided that I didn't care what other people thought, a safety harness was the best option for keeping my daughter safe. So, I began to dream up designs that would be more acceptable in public. Designs that would be more fashionable and less offensive to people who do not understand mental health issues or autism in general.
I shared my thoughts with my mother in law who is a wonderful seamstress and while she was, at first, intimidated, she quickly embraced the idea and began to experiment with ways to help me create the ideas that had been forming in my mind.
This is what we came up with. We basically used a jumper pattern and created the harness to look like the top of a jumper - or basically a sleeveless shirt/tank. We used cute, breathable, fabric that could be worn with or without a shirt underneath (we didn't want it to be uncomfortably hot or thick. We wanted it to be able to be worn underneath a jacket or coat if need be). We also used cute embellishments to enhance the design.
We decided to have it fasten up the back so Kylie could not easily undo it, and chose to have it snap so it was less noisy than Velcro would have been in public places.
We reinforced the side seems so they would not easily tear - even if Kylie were to pull against it in her eagerness to get somewhere or if she tried to make a run for it. We also had two connection points on each side so the force of the connection was distributed (again, protecting against tearing).
|Kylie experiencing her new freedom - she loved it!|
Below are the pics of the final product in use.
This worked fabulously! We found a tiny retractable cord with a pink handle that matched the harness. It was great to be able to give Kylie some run/breathing room while also having the capability of reeling her in/limiting the distance if the situation became crowded or dangerous.
|Kylie with the Iowa State Fair Queen|
2 Fashionable ladies
We received so many positive comments about the harness and had many people stop us and ask us where we found it.
|Kylie milking the cow at |
Little Hands on the Farm
Have you ever adapted a product to help keep your child safe - or even come up with your own design? I'd love to hear about it!
What are your thoughts about a safety harness? Have you ever used one? Did anyone ever approach you in public or judge you for using one? I'd love to hear your experiences, how you responded and how they processed your response.
|Having a snack|
|Loving on the pig|
Actually, she was obsessed with the numbers painted on each pig's back.
And....has anyone read this blog post about the Fake Family? It made me feel less crazy! Don't miss it! =0)