Well I think that all of you out there know that our second child, Seth, has Autism. It is something I have blogged quite a bit about. Last night, our darling little guy, decided that he would "get his mom some pretzels", and disappeared for 30 minutes.
I'm not sure if any of you have ever had a lost child, but the day and age in which we live is a very scary time for someone to have a lost child. Every day we are swamped with stories of missing and abused children and a lot was on my mind last night for those 30 minutes I can tell you. You are conditioned to believe that your child will be snapped up by a pedophile and abused and then murdered. And that happens to families every day. Terrible.
As I frantically searched parks and nearby rec centres for my son, these thoughts were on my mind. I know that they were on Rob's mind as well.
He was gone for about 30 minutes and was brought home by two very nice RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] officers. When I asked Seth where he had gotten the bag of pretzels that was in his hand, the officer told me that Seth had reported to the officer he had gone to the store to get them for me. Many people who have commented on my Facebook post on this have said that they thought it was very sweet that he was getting me pretzels. I guess it was really. However, he had gone to the store with no money with which to buy the pretzels. The officers thought it was humorous that he had shoplifted the pretzels and told me that they had recieved no calls about a child stealing pretzels from a store, so, Seth could keep them.
However, someone here did not think it was funny. Our son Jonah. He very quickly told me that the officers would not have laughed if HE had stolen the pretzels [true] and we would have taken him back to the store to return them and apologize [also true], and why weren't we doing anything to discipline Seth for these actions.
It is interesting when you are the parents of a special needs child. You make allowances for them that you would never make for your other children. Others do as well. Obviously.
We listened to our distressed 11 year old and Jonah and Rob went off to the store to return the pretzels and to apologize to the store manager for Seth having stolen them. The manager told Rob that no one had seen him enter the store alone, take the pretzels or leave the store alone either. That is scary to me. An unattended child entered the store, took something off a shelf and exited the store without paying for the item and no one noticed.
After this conversation with the manager, Jonah turned to his father and said, "Dad I had no idea it was SO easy to shoplift!" Wrong lesson learned I think. :0)