Baby, we were born to run

David has been exercising his freedom lately.

Our neighbor has a little boy 2 years older than David. David is completely enamored with Patrick. Reason is, he’s older (6), and he therefore hangs with older kids.

Now let me explain. David acts like an 18 year old in a four year old body. He doesn’t want to hang out with the little kids. Little kids bore him. He is an explorer. An independent. I don’t know where he got that trait from, certainly not from me or S.

BIG kids can go all the way around the block. They can ride a bike. They can go farther than the ‘two house limit’. (David knows he is supposed to stay on the sidewalk, and in a two house radius on either side.) He knows this rule, but as most four year olds do, he challenges the rule every chance he gets.

So last night, he was playing with Patrick while I was watering my flowers. I walk in the house to fill up the watering can. TWO minutes after I told him ‘stay where I can see you’ he disappears down the street following the big kids, of course.

I walk out to the sidewalk. I look both ways.

He is nowhere in sight.

I see a little girl on a bike (whose name I forgot), and asked her if she saw David and Patrick.

“Yeah, he’s with Patrick on the other side of the block”.

The other side?????

Immediately I go into search and punish mode. My heart is pounding. I called for S., and we took off around the block (our block is pretty big, we call it a block but it’s really like 3-4 blocks in a loop). Along the way we were asking the little/big kids,where David is. Each one responding…. up the street! That way!

How did he get that far so fast?

We circle the entire block, and just as we turn the corner to see our house in sight….we spot David and his two friends sitting on the sidewalk in front of our house. Safe. While we were walking one way, he had already ran around the whole loop and came back the opposite way.

After thanking Patrick for watching David and staying with him, I ask David why he broke the rules. “But I was with the big kids, they were watching me”… and I lecture him about the fact that big kids are not adults, and they don’t have responsibility to watch him.

To which he says, “well, Mommy, you can come with me when we play” and his two friends (6 year olds) look at me with that “OMG, she’s a MOM!!!! I can’t believe you said that!!” look..

S. sends David in the house. He’s pissed.

Just as soon as I walked away from the kids I felt bad for embarrassing him in front of his friends. What is the protocol for this? I don’t want to look like maniac Mom, but I don’t make the rules for fun.

And as S. and I stand in the house we quickly realize that this is just the beginning….

….of letting him go.

We can’t keep him under our wings 24/7, nor should we. We are unprepared for the first step beyond our house, daycare, Grandma and Pop Pop’s house… the “ultra-supervised environment” we are used to, and I am feeling a bit uneasy.

The world out there is a big place.

I wish he was still little, like this.

When the flowers grew bigger than him and and the world was too big to even think of walking down the driveway.

When the block seemed like a million miles from Mommy.

p.s. I am still enforcing the two house rule punk.

3 thoughts on “Baby, we were born to run

  1. This is a tough one. When we lived in town, X couldn’t wait to go outside and play with his friends. His comfort zone kept getting bigger and bigger, even though he was supposed to stay within our block. He was crossing the streets the moment our backs were turned. How did we correct this? We moved to the country. Yeah, I know, that doesn’t help you much…

  2. Oh, this post hit so close to home. My 3 year old thinks she is practically a teenager and also seems to believe that our neighborhood has some sort of protective bubble around it that keeps her out of harm’s way at all times. I have to say that I laughed out loud at your “search and punish” phrase. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. Much the same as when I come around the corner in the kitchen to see a giant puddle of water on the floor and uncooked pasta turning soggy in the middle of it…Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, I really appreciate the support!

  3. It’s scary, letting go, isn’t it? I just began allowing W. to walk to school. I walk to the corner with him and he walks down the street to the school. I am an ass, I know, because I will watch until he turns into the parking lot. But, you know, I’d rather be an ass and have him around.

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