The Museum of Natural History

After the terrible morning of Ammon’s escape, we went to the Natural History Museum to decompress. Truth be told, I was still keyed up, but the kids all had a great time.

There were lots of amazing displays, my favorite being one which debuted in Paris in 1867. It featured an Arab traveling on camel getting attacked by lions. I had never conceived of such a scenario, but after seeing the display, I can’t conceive how I never thoroughly thought through the danger of camel travel before. Of course lions would be a threat. The Arab looked how I felt during my run-in with the police.

Bea. She was my friend and so interested in Clarissa!

Mary was on the brink of tantrum the whole outing. She wanted Lydia to play with her, but Lydia was busy with her cousins. Finally we directed Lydia to play with Mary, and here she complied.

After the museum, we went to Five Guys. We tried to go to a local Pittsburgh restaurant, but it was packed. Five Guys had space for our large crowd.

In the evening Clark and Swathi were brave and put down tarp for a play-doh party. The kids all had a blast.

Ammon tries to find a new foster family

On Friday morning the police banged on the door. When I opened it, the policeman flashed me a picture of Ammon and said, “Do you know this child?”

“That’s my son!” I exclaimed.

“Do you know he’s been missing for two hours? He’s down in the lobby.”

I had no idea. It turns out that during the five minute window when there happened to be no adults in the living room, Ammon had climbed out of the pack’n play and let himself out of the bedroom and into the apartment hall. This would have been at 5:30am Utah time, so I didn’t even think to check on him. At the time the policemen knocked, Mary was still sound asleep in the room where Ammon had been and the doors were closed.

The next twenty minutes were some of the worst in my life. The policeman yelled at me like I was a criminal for not checking on my son and kept interrupting me whenever I tried to explain. At home we have doorknobs, not pull-down handles, and Ammon never opens the doors. It never occurred to me that Ammon would wake up that early and let himself out, and since the door to his room was closed I had no reason to believe he wasn’t sleeping in his crib next to his (still) sleeping sister.

The policeman informed me that he was very close to writing me up and having child protective services investigate the situation, and that if more time had elapsed they would have taken Ammon into foster care and I would have had to go to court to get him back.

At that point I started crying. CPS is one of my absolute worst nightmares. Ever since I gave birth to Lydia, I have been terrified of this organization. I have heard so many horror stories about good parents who have had their kids taken away, and it seems that a lot of kids in terrible situations grow up in those without anyone ever intervening. I think the organization does a terrible job and hate that it exists.

And the thought that my worst nightmare almost happened practically gave me a heart attack. Also, the police officer was a total jerk. I am sorry to have to write that about anyone, and I know he is a child of God, but nevertheless, that’s what he was to me. If most policeman are like him, I can totally see why people fear and hate the police. I definitely don’t see them as friends after what happened on Friday. Stay away from me and my family, jerks.

On the other hand, I am infinitely grateful that there were people who found Ammon and cared about him enough to knock on doors and find his parents. These people also happened to be police officers, so I guess at the end of the day, the most important thing is that we have Ammon back and that he’s not going into foster care.

That night Clark set up his monitors and we barricaded the doors so that Ammon couldn’t leave. We watched him fall asleep on the big screen. I think it’s common for people to watch football this time of year, but we were busy watching Ammon try to climb out of his crib. Abe would go into the room every time we saw Ammon swing his foot over the side, and Ammon’s face would crumple and he would let out a disappointed wail every time he saw Abe.

Sorry, buddy, but we’re not sharing you with CPS anytime soon.