The Escape Artist

When my son was born, he came out angry, two weeks early and mad as hell.

“He looks like a prosecutor,” the nurses said.

Fast forward two years. He wouldn’t hold my hand while walking to and from the car. He wouldn’t hold my hand in parking lots. He was always running away inside of stores. I had to carry him to keep him safe. No wonder I have back problems in my old age.

Fast forward to preschool. He was impossible to take along on errands. I used to park him at an illegal daycare place until one day the woman (who couldn’t say no) had so many kids that she lost one. A two-year-old wandered away from her unfenced yard and was found walking along the sidewalk. After that, I stopped dropping him off there for errand day.

In first grade, he was an early bird. His sister was a late bird. That meant I had to drive the kids each day at 8:30, 9:30, 2:00 and 3:00. I told him he’d be spending an hour every afternoon at Kids’ Country (next to the school) to save myself one trip.

“I don’t want to,” he said.

“It’s just an hour,” I said. “It will be fun.”

On the first day, I pulled into the parking lot of Kids’ Country. My six-year-old son was sitting on the curb. He had escaped and was waiting for me. The supervisors were embarrassed and gave me a full refund, including the yearly deposit.

No more Kids’ Country. After that, I picked him up at 2:00 with the two-year-old along. We sat in the parking lot for an hour until Big Sister came out.

Once I had a conflict, soccer practice for one kid with a piano lesson for another kid at the same time.  I dropped off my son early for piano and then high-tailed it to soccer practice to drop off his big sister. When I returned down the four-lane road on the way to the piano house, I saw a boy walking on the sidewalk, a familiar-looking kid.

“He looks like Nick,” I said to the four-year-old. “OMG, it IS Nick!”

I did a U-turn and picked up my son. The piano teacher had forgotten to unlock the screen door. Instead of knocking, my son decided to walk himself the three miles home. He had no house key. Thank God I got to him before he reached the intersection where he had to cross the street. The crossing guard was long gone by that time.

The piano teacher apologized, but still. My son should’ve knocked. I should’ve waited until he was in the door.

In 8th grade, he didn’t want to do the piano recital. I told him after he performed his piece, he could drop out of piano lessons forever. He really didn’t want to be there. He pounded out his song and stomped off the stage.

In high school, we told him he needed to do at least one extracurricular activity – sports, chess club, or guitar lessons. He chose guitar lessons but never practiced. He learned two songs that year.

As you can see, my son is a strong-willed person and has been from birth. If he doesn’t want to do it, he doesn’t do it.

The End


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