Monday Mayhem

(Okay, yes, I realize it’s Wedsday, but this post is about Monday. Not confusing at all.)
The other night, two of my children decided to run away. And we let them. 
Left arrow: Eli, 5. Right arrow: Isaiah, 6.
Now, don’t freak out, they’re home. We didn’t leave them unattended, either, though they didn’t know that. 

I honestly have no idea what triggered their decision, as the day had been filled with arguments and fights, and by 7pm I was no longer paying any attention to the whiny voices bombarding my ears. 
One minute we were telling everyone to get ready for bed, and the next minute my six year old was running through the yard toward Main Street. In his underwear. I turned around, laughing, to tell his dad what was happening, and out goes the 5 year old as well. Luckily, he had on some clothes. We watched them through the windows for a while, but when they were out of sight, Alex got in the car to find them. 
Now, the town we live in is all of a block and a half long and about 2 blocks wide. There are no major roadways, and everyone’s got kids, so people know to drive pretty slowly. So normally it wouldn’t be a big deal for a kid who’s old enough to cross the street. But we do have a few registered sex offenders living in our tiny piece of the world, and my son was in his underwear! (I wish I had had the presence of mind to snap a picture – it was hilarious!)
Alex found the boys, followed just under their radar for a few minutes, then drove home when it looked like they were on their way inside. 
Our “low profile” covert operations vehicle.
But they weren’t.
They had come back to the yard just to get a bike and a scooter. I guess walking barefoot down the sidewalk in 92 degree weather just wasn’t working as well as they’d hoped. 
We watched covertly some more. But when they went to a neighbor’s house to play, we thought Isaiah’s tighty-whities might not be appreciated by the 8 year old girl’s parents. So Alex went over and explained to the boys the difference between running away and visiting friends without permission. They left her yard, stood under a stop sign that joins two lanes (that are really more like alleys) and tried to hash out a plan as Alex walked home carrying their bike and scooter.
By this time, I was getting annoyed. It was way past bedtime on a school night, I was still cluster-feeding the baby (as I do every night between dinner an 9-11pm ), and I wanted to go to bed knowing that everyone was safe. I was maybe probably definitely a little harder on Alex than I should have been when I asked him, “Why did you come home alone?” He took the hint.
He sneaked up on the boys, grabbed Eli, and ran home. Well, he tried to run, but Eli’s a big boy, and he was flailing wildly, so it was really more of a hobble. Isaiah followed closely behind.
We discussed how easily Eli had been “kidnapped” and how little Isaiah had done to try and stop it from happening. We talked about how much easier it would have been for someone with a car to take them both wherever he wanted. We told the boys about the bad guys who live in town and are known for hurting children. Isaiah said that if Eli had been taken by a bad guy, he would have called the police. We asked him, “Let’s say Dad had the car when he got Eli. If the police asked you what the car looked like, what would you tell them?” Then we explained that calling our car “oval” and “kind of brownish” wouldn’t help the police very much. We tried to convince them that the only safe place for a little boy to be is at home with the people who love him.
Isaiah seemed to understand. Eli cried and accused Alex of choking him. (Don’t worry, we were trained on how to hold/restrain a tantruming mental patient when or oldest was in the hospital last year; Alex did just fine.) And then we all went to bed.

What would you do if your kindergarten-age child/children ran away? 


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