IT TAKES A VILLAGE

Monday, April 25, 2011

My little man, the Commander, is a big five year old now. Evidently, if you're five, you are qualified to explore uncharted, forbidden territories.

A couple of days ago the kids were playing outside with their cousins, as usual. I can peak out our living room window and see them play, which is quite convenient. As I checked on them I couldn't see the Commander and asked the hubby to go outside and see what he was up to. I wasn't worried at all because my kids never stray from our yard and when they do it's to one of our very trusted neighbors.

A few minutes later the hubby comes in with a guilty looking Commander and says, "We need to have a talk with our little man." "Uh Oh. What did he do?" I inquired.

To my horror, the Commander rode his cute little bike, training wheels and all, down the hill, out of our cul-de-sac, down a block, through a busy four way stop, and down three more blocks stopping at a really busy road.

On this fun little adventure, three cars stopped to ask him if he was okay and he talked to all of the people, none of whom he knew. A couple in one of the cars recognized him and slowly followed him as he pedaled his way home. At the corner of our street, my friend was outside and told the couple she would make sure he got home okay. My friend then relayed this scary tale to the hubby.

"What were you thinking?" we asked him. He explained that his cousin, who is his same age, said she was going to play at the park and he wanted to ride to the park and play with her. So, off he went while his cousin was actually safe inside the house. To his credit, he did know his way to the park.

"How far did you go?" we inquired. "All the way to the busy street with the stop light," he stated innocently as if his trek was no big deal. "And how many strangers did you talk to?" "Only three, but they were really nice." "Even mean strangers pretend to be nice," we warned him. "Oh!" he said as this new concept dawned on him.

After all the talks we've had with our kids about strangers, the rules we've set and warnings we've given about staying in our yard, he still ventured far from home. I was kind of in shock.

The thing that freaked me out the most about this whole event was his reply to the following question, "Weren't you scared?" He said, "No."

I could tell he hadn't been scared at all. He knew where he was going and how to get back. Maybe that should have reassured me, but it only worried me that he had no fear of disobeying, going far away, and talking to strangers.

After talking with the Commander I told him we would have to think about what his punishment would be. He said, "This is the worst thing I've ever done, isn't it?" "Definitely," we said somberly.

It's hard to punish a five year old, especially one who is normally sweet and obedient. We settled on grounding him from his bike (his mode of transportation for the above crime) and his scooter, and from all media (TV, computer, DS, etc.) for two days starting today. That basically covers all of his favorite sources of entertainment.

This morning he woke up and declared, "Today I am grounded huh mommy?" I think he is understanding that what he did was very wrong. But, I'm not sure anything is ever enough to emphasize how important it is to stay close to home and do what your parents say.

The scary reality is that anyone with a moderate amount of intelligence and a lot of evil intent can trick a child. Kids are eager to please and trust. That's why, in addition to educating my kids, I pray...a lot. And thankfully, some nice people were there to help the Commander find his way home. It takes a village.

So, how does my five year old criminal spend a day without TV?

He makes paper airplanes with pencils behind his ears (He says they make him look
like Max from "Where The Wild Things Are"). 
He draws a chalk "trail" to his friend's houses with his cousins.
He and his cousin also draw on their faces with chalk.

He played with his cousins, sister (not in picture), and neighbor friends.
And baby boss watched.


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2 comments:

  1. I'm so glad he's okay. He sure took his punishments well; mine wails like the world is going to end when technology is taken away from him.

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  2. In the picture with the pencils behind the ears...he looks just like Mark. Cute other pictures too.

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