Changing of the knobs

I mentioned before that there used to be a lock on Colin’s bedroom door.  I was the one that pushed to have it removed.

I’m now the one that’s reinstalled it.

He’s never been one to sleep through the night.  I’ve known for a while now that he’s been sleeping on the couch most nights. I’ve begged, pleaded, bargained and threatened him to stop. 

Lately, he’s been doing more than just sleeping on the couch.  In fact, I’m not sure he’s sleeping much at all, despite our medication alterations and attempts at setting the mood before bedtime, etc.  He’s been scaling our entertainment center (a roughly 6’6″ shelving unit) and rearranging games and DVDs. He’s messed with my sewing machine (thankfully he hasn’t figured out how to turn it on yet – it’s an antique). He’s climbed around in the kitchen and played with the toaster (not sure what else, but I know he’s played with the toaster because the toast settings are almost always changed when I go to make the boys breakfast). 

I’m worried for his safety.  I’m worried for the safety of all of us.  He’s a big fan of electricity – what if he burnt himself?  What if that bookshelf came toppling over one day while he’s doing his Spiderman routine?  Even if we mount it to the wall, what if that big screen TV comes crashing down on him?

What if he starts a fire?  What if he gets it in his head to let the dogs out – or leave himself? 

I could go on for an hour with all the worst-case-scenarios I’ve dreamed up.  And these are all based on the few things I know are happening.  He’s getting quieter and sneakier.  He’s doing these things between 1-4am.  I can’t stay up all night.  He’s going to get hurt.  I don’t want him to get hurt.

After his most recent bookshelf-climbing adventure (Monday night), Rick and I decided enough was enough.  I re-installed the locking doorknob.

I told Colin I will only lock it when I go to bed and I will unlock it as soon as I wake up.  We’re talking roughly 7 hours.

I don’t know what else to do.  We’re talking about a boy who can literally climb a door jamb.  He’s 8 years old.  He’s strong and can be amazingly quiet when he’s doing something he knows he shouldn’t be doing. 

After I finished installing the knob, I sat down with Robbie and Ryan to explain what was happening.  I didn’t want them to think I’d lock them up if they tried to do something like use the bathroom at night.  I didn’t want them to think I was just doing this because I’m mean or that I don’t like Colin, etc.

I explained to them that it was for his own safety.  I told them about all the shenanigans that were being pulled during the night.  Robbie’s eyes went wide – these were things that had never occurred to either of them to try.  I told them that most of the not-so-fun things I do are to keep my boys safe.  I make them hold my hand in the street/parking lot, I make Colin and Robbie wear life jackets at the pool because they don’t know how to swim.  And now…now I’ve had to lock Colin’s door.

I hate this.  I hate the idea of locking a child up.  It goes against everything in my heart and my head, but I don’t know what else to do.  I can’t rubberize our house. I can’t put everything on the floor or lock everything up in the office.  I can’t stay awake all night long.

I just don’t know what else to do.

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4 responses to “Changing of the knobs

  1. All I can say is you are doing the responsible and right thing. Colin is not able to control his urges and compulsions and you need to keep him and everyone else safe. It’s the right thing to do.

  2. I was chatting with another mom at the spray park last weekend, and I remarked it was our first visit since I worried my son might run off. She told me that they had to put alarms on the doors because her son, when he was younger, was an escape artist. They put them on his bedroom door and on all outer doors. Mind you, her son had no diagnosis of anything, but just tended to wander off. I have no idea what the cost of that would be or how disruptive the sounds of alarms would be to the rest of the family.

    • We thought about alarms. The house alarm used to be solely to warn us if Colin was making a break for it. I’m worried an alarm on his door would do like you said – disturb the whole family. Even now with the door locked, he makes sure to wake everyone when he’s ready to get up. I’m afraid something that dinged/beeped/etc would just entertain him to no end and give us less rest.

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