The other day I let my two kids and the two friends they had over walk down the block over to our elementary school, around the school, and back home. I gave them a watch and thirty minutes to adventure on their own before they had to come home and get ready for baseball.
Parked on the side of our house was a car full of teenage boys. One was standing on the street, leaning against the trunk of the car looking in our direction for quite some time.
Two doors down was a crew of guys roofing a house.
It was the time of day when traffic picks up on our street during the evening commute.
My main concern? The two friends were not very familiar with our neighborhood.The two big sisters are usually trouble when together and if the two big sisters got mad at the two younger siblings I didn’t want someone getting left behind and then lost.
So I gave them very specific instructions:
1. The big girls were in charge. They were to keep the group together, make smart decisions together, and return together. Never leave a man behind.
2. The littlest girl was put in charge of reporting back to me how everything went once they were home.
The littlest girl gave the group a smile that let everyone know there would be no abuse of power happening this afternoon. They set off, each big girl holding the hand of their little sibling.
And then it happened. I should have known better.
In this day and age…..With a neighborhood FULL of strangers and I let my kids roam free…..
My son knew none of them would know who he was or who his mom was, so his six year old brain advised him that trying to moon the crew of roofers while singing the “Fart Fart Butt” song would be a great idea. After all, not mooning the roofers and not singing the “Fart Fart Butt” song had not been on my list of rules.
Problem is, when you are six years old and trying to run away from a crew of roofers and your pants are still down and your little white butt is still hanging out, you can’t actually run very well.
And as soon as I heard my daughter yell “Man Down!” from down the block I knew, as any parent would, that the most predictable thing that could happen when kids adventure alone out into the world had happened: One of them came home needing a Band Aid.