Truth and Consequences


By 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Sweet Husband had already facetiously mumbled the word "tranquilizers" twice.  Then he was off to work, and I was down to even numbers with a manic Kid and some weekend errands.

I had intended to just swing though our local farm stand to quickly buy some pumpkins for the Kid's class Halloween party.  When we got there though, I had a split-second inspiration to let him run off some energy playing in the pumpkin patch.  We took a tractor ride out to the pumpkins and ran through the fields, then came back to hit up the tricycles and "corn bath".  It was a beautiful morning to spend a half hour outside.  I thought the day was turning around, and had just begin to congratulate myself on my brilliant mothering skills.

Truth:  That never ends well.

I finally fished the Kid out of the corn with promises that he could pick out some pumpkins for his classmates.  We walked back to the main store, and began selecting five little ones from a wheelbarrow.  Just as I had precariously balanced the fifth pumpkin in my arms, I looked down and the Kid was gone.

I quickly tossed the pumpkins back in the wheelbarrow and ran after him, but he had slipped out a different door and was heading towards the parking lot.  There were only a few cars there besides ours, but I was still, of course, terrified.  

Mustering my mean-mommy voice, I shouted his full name.   He turned, gave me an impish grin, and then--luckily--tripped over his own feet and started wailing as he hit the pavement.

I almost cried myself with relief, as I scooped him up and comforted him on a park bench.

Consequences:  Bad things happen when you run away from mama.

Back in the days when I worked with kids more, I remember a few veteran elementary school teachers talking about the horrors of "runners"--i.e. kids that get a kick out of running away from their grown-ups.

The only other two-year-old I've ever spent this much time with was Sweet Sister.  It could be that I've blocked it out, but I never remember her running away like the Kid does.  She could throw tantrums with the best of 'em, but--while that wasn't pleasant--it never brought on the heart-stopping, adrenaline rush that I get when the Kid darts off.  

As we went back inside to pay, the sales clerk suggested a "kid leash", and for a moment I seriously considered the idea.  Instead, I kept one hand tightly on his, and made two trips to collect pumpkins.

In general, I'm loving this stage of two-going-on-three.  The Kid is beginning to pretend and imagine and tell stories.  He can communicate so well.  Really, it's awesome.

But this "runner" bit needs to run away for good.  Right now, please.