I referred briefly in yesterday's post about Noah's first experience with "running away". I don't really know if that was his thought or if it was an imaginary adventure. Noah is a VERY imaginative kid, usually with fact to support his thoughts. Here's what happened and you tell me...
Sunday morning the weather was beautiful and we headed outside to get ready to go to the zoo. While we were outside, Noah wanted to help me pull a few weeds. This turned into pulling weeds along the sidewalk, which led to trimming the entire sidewalk area, which throughout the day, led to trimming the driveway and sidewalk up to our house. It actually ended up being pretty much an all day affair (for Steve, actually)
A few days ago, I rented the movie; "Everybody's Hero" about a boy with a talking baseball that is in search of Babe Ruth's stolen bat. A very cute movie, by the way.
So, mid afternoon while Steve and I were going at the driveway with a vengeance, Noah comes about stating that he is going to Chicago to see if Babe Ruth is real. I told him that Babe Ruth was indeed real a long time ago and not alive anymore.
Noah was determined he needed to go to Chicago. I told him that maybe we would go to Chicago again soon, thinking that he wanted to go see our family that lives south of there.
About fifteen minutes later, Noah came outside with the blue case from his K'Nex, filled to the brim with underwear from his room and a few shirts. He had packed for his trip. I thought it was absolutely adorable that his imagination was so vivid. This kid meant business. He started heading down the sidewalk. Noah is allowed to ride his bike down to the second fire hydrant on our street...about 12 houses or so and has always been very good about that boundary. I have felt it was necessary to start giving him a little room to teach him about me trusting him. So I didn't think much of it. I tool a few pictures because I just thought he was so cute. As he was walking, I DID remind him about the boundary rule several times.
About a minute later, Aaron starts heading down to meet him. Somewhere along the way, Noah starts running back and Aaron is sitting on the sidewalk a little ways down crying. I looked away to see if he would run back, and sure enough he did. Noah stated that Aaron needed "toys" for their trip and headed inside to pack a small backpack for him as well.
At this point, I was so proud of him for including his brother in his "game". I kept asking him why he wanted to go to Chicago, but he insisted that he NEEDED to go. So off they went again.
While I was telling Steve about how adorable I thought the whole scene was, Steve was saying to me, "Are you sure you should be letting them go walking by themselves?" I assured him that Noah knew the rules very well and I trusted him to not violate that trust.
I WAS SO WRONG! A few minutes later, I looked and they were BOTH past the second hydrant and almost to the end of the street.
At this point, I pretty much lost it, yelled at them to come back, brought them inside, put them into the bath and straight to bed.
I was so angry for so many reasons, but I was also hurt that I couldn't trust Noah as I thought I could.
I don't think Noah was trying to "run away" or he probably would have used those words. I don't know if he thought he was going for real, or was testing to see how far he could get before I called him back. He told me several times during the preparations "Mommy, you can come too" so maybe he was just trying to get our attention because we were busy with the yard.
I don't really know...and I'm not sure if he does either.
There were several issues at stake here:
1. First and foremost...did he really want to run away from home or was he actually curious about Babe Ruth. Most kids I wouldn't think much of the biographical question, but this is the kid who of all the books in the library last week, picked out an encyclopedia and reads it every day (at six years old, mind you)
2. He passed the fire hydrant that has ALWAYS been our landmark
3. He led Aaron astray by encouraging him to break the rules too...we have been A LOT of trouble reminding Aaron to stay in our backyard and not run over to the neighbor's house if she is outside
4. He wasn't protective of Aaron when Aaron started going off the sidewalk
For now I have pretty much let the issue go. I went up a few hours later when Noah was still awake in his bed and had a talk with him about being responsible for Aaron when the two of them are away from us. I had to pick which issue to deal with instead of slamming him with everything.
What do you think? Should I have punished more? Less? Any guesses on motivation here? Have your kids had any similar "adventures?"
This may be the most incoherent post I have ever written but so much is circling in my mind about the whole incident.
Thanks for listening.