But He’s Five!!! -or- Keep on Driving

So, the Pea decided not to come home from school yesterday.

He’s five.

Normally the Princess and the Pea ride their bikes home from school together and with a bunch of other kids. They normally arrive home together. Yesterday, the Princess showed up at home with a friend, and the friend’s sister. They asked for a snack, all the usual things. I was sitting on the couch watching my soaps and eating bon-bons (as I am wont to do) so I’m not sure why I didn’t notice that her brother wasn’t with her at first but I didn’t. It wasn’t until the Princess had been home for about ten minutes that I looked around (at my immaculately clean, sparkling kitchen) and asked where the Pea was.

“He went to Costco with his friend,” the Princess replied.

“What?”

“I told him he wasn’t allowed but he just went.”

Of course he’s not allowed, he’s five years old.

For the benefit of those who don’t know where I live I will tell you that there is a Costco at the end of our street. I can see it (well, the parking lot) from my house (well, the end of the driveway). This has been the source of much joy and felicitation on my part, but there are times (like when my children go there instead of coming home from school) that I wish there wasn’t a shopping center quite so close.

The Princess, who is almost eight, and the Pea, who’s five, had made the mistake of hitting Costco (the vending machines in the food court, specifically) on their way home from school before. I thought I had disabused them of the notion that that was acceptable. I thought I had disabused them of the notion that being on that side of the street was acceptable.

Apparently I didn’t hit them hard enough.

So, I told the friend, and her sister, that they would have to go home. I loaded Irish1 and Irish2 into the double stroller that my wonderful mother gave me (have to give mom her due now that I know), the Princess jumped on her bike and we headed to the end of the street.

There was no sign of the Pea or his bike at Costco.

Now I’m starting to worry. I know, I probably should have worried sooner but my children are VERY independent and this is not the first time the Pea has gone off somewhere on his own. This is the worst place he gone off on his own but it’s not the first time, back to my story.

Pushing the fantastic but enormous stroller we headed back across the parking lot so that I could go home and I could load the three children, whose whereabouts I had a handle on, into the van and we could drive the neighborhood looking for my five-year-old. Did I mention that the Pea is FIVE?

I was standing on the corner with the twins in the stroller and the Princess on the bike, waiting to cross the street and suddenly the Princess says, “there he is.”

Sure enough the Pea comes riding out of the parking lot.

I could have strangled him.

It was at this time that one of the cars driving by on the street between mine and Costco stopped for me. This is an ENOURMOUS pet-peeve of mine. If I am stupid enough to be in the middle of the street when you drive up, (I won’t be. EVER.) by all means, stop. But if I am waiting patiently on the sidewalk for a break in traffic KEEP DRIVING!!!!! I promise I will not step off the curb in front of your car. I will not run out into the road. I am perfectly capable of reading traffic patterns and crossing when the road is clear. And there is no need to inconvenience yourself as well as the people in the cars behind you by stopping and nearly getting hit. And I don’t want my children to think that the cars will just stop for them. (I am a jaywalker of the first order but I learned to jaywalk in Washington DC, I promise I won’t get hit as long as you don’t drive like an idiot.)

Sorry, I’m back. Anyway, this car stopped (nearly getting hit in the process) to let us cross and I who was still waiting for the Pea and in no mood to be civil, yelled at the people in the car. “JUST DRIVE, I’M A BIG GIRL AND I CAN CROSS THE STREET ALL BY MYSELF!” They drove on.

The Pea caught up with us and we crossed (incidentally, as we were crossing the people who had stopped for me, who had pulled into the Costco parking lot, got out of their car and yelled at me something about how that was no way to treat people who were just trying to be nice. They were right and I was ashamed of myself but the kids were half way across the street so I couldn’t go back and apologize. Besides I had a kid to kill.) Then the Pea and his sister took off on their bikes down the street to our house. When I got home he was on the swings in the backyard. As if all was well.

ALL WAS NOT WELL!

He spent the evening in his room (or he was supposed to but he is incapable of staying in his room, or anywhere else, or still) and he’s grounded, and he lost some points on our good behavior chart…

It turns out that he and “his friend” I boy that I only sort of know (and what I know I don’t particularly like) who is only about 7 or 8, didn’t go to Costco, they went to the mall behind the Costco to “get some stuff.”

“What stuff? You don’t have money,” I said. “And you don’t go to the mall without an adult and a purpose and you come right home from school and you don’t …”

Long story short (too late), the Pea should never be allowed to leave the house again. But he will. And things like this should never happen again. But they will. And I just don’t know what to do about it. So if you see me by the side of the road and you feel like you want to help me out, to give me a break, just keep on driving.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. diana banana
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 07:38:00

    did dad hack into your blog and go off on a tangent about cars stopping for pedestrians? i could’ve sworn…

    “to get some stuff”….yikes

  2. Jabe
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 15:14:30

    That is one of my biggest pet peeves, too. Are you sure you didn’t get that from me? Not only do I totally agree with you, but I usually word it almost exactly that way. Maybe I got it from you.

    Since you’re only the second person to comment on my lame blog, I have to respond to your comment. Unfortunately, my only comment is actually a question: Why am I funny? Which is to say, what did I do that made you say that I’m funny?

  3. Jennifer
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 20:30:53

    Oh man, that is what I have to look forward to? At least its a long drive to Costco for us, or anything the kids would find interesting.

  4. Brillig
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 22:41:42

    1. Holy crap.

    2. I would have died.

    3. You yelled at the people in the car and you are now officially my hero. Hahahahahaha.

    4. Holy crap.

    5. I’m buying locks for my 5-year-old’s door after this story.

  5. bythelbs
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 15:58:44

    Wow. I guess I should be grateful that I don’t have the convenience of living down the street from Costco.

    Don’t worry about those people in the car—if they were really nice, they wouldn’t have felt the need to yell at you after they parked. Really nice people don’t yell like that. Um, except you. I’m sure you are very, very nice.

    The fact that your son is still alive is just a testament to what a great mother you must be! And nice.

  6. Becky T.
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 10:52:16

    Allison, I love your writing.

    I’ve known that you were a talented, wonderful woman, but I didn’t know you could write like this! Wow!

    I’ll be reading more.

    BTW – Your pea, is a little spitfire. He’s cute, but could be the death of you.

  7. Novembrance
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 12:10:45

    Holy cow. I would still be in a PTSD coma if I were you. Well handled and well written.

  8. sallygirl
    May 01, 2008 @ 11:08:52

    Ha ha, I found you!!!

    All I can say is, I would never leave Costco if there were one that close to me. Instead of telling my children to come home after school, I would be like: “Meet me at Costco for the free samples! afternoon snack!!

  9. sallygirl
    May 01, 2008 @ 11:16:00

  10. Natalie
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 12:42:11

    Okay, you don’t know me but I HAD to comment. This absolutely cracks me up because I could so picture my kids doing it. We had 4 kids within 5 years and so by the time we had the last one we had a sort of unfortunate notoriety as the people who were constantly searching for a missing toddler / preschooler. Church was tough. Grocery shopping was tough… you get the picture. I enjoyed your blog.

  11. suburbancorrespondent
    Jun 30, 2008 @ 20:18:27

    My Rachel would do that. Well, maybe not. She’d take my van to get there instead.

  12. Wendy
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 16:12:02

    You don’t know me, but I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. I am very sympathetic on the missing child part, as I have experienced this myself. (My own son, at age six or seven, decided to go to the movie theater by himself. I was out with a girlfriend and his father was in charge, but not paying much attention. Son took off, on foot, towards the theater, couldn’t find it, went to the grocery store instead. He bought an apple, a pear and yogurt and then headed home. By this time I was home and panic-stricken. Dad was only mildly concerned. Son arrived home shortly and could not understand why I was so upset……”I bought healthy stuff, Mommy!”) However, I really don’t get the crosswalk part! I always stop if I see someone looking like they want to cross…..thought that was the law. Now I’ll live in fear of being yelled at for doing it. I’ll definitely have to keep going if its a woman with a double stroller! thanks for the laugh, Wendy

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