Saturday, December 1, 2007

Remedial Safety Lessons

For a little while now, The Kid has been running ahead of us when we take him to school (we park about a block away). He runs down the sidewalk and then waits at the crosswalk, while we catch up. He does a similar version of this when I pick him up in the afternoon. He runs down back down the sidewalk, and since we are parked right there and don't need to cross, he stops at the crosswalk, turns around and waits for me, while impatiently tapping his foot. It's cute. On Friday I told Lefty this was probably the precursor to his wanting us to say goodbye at the crosswalk in the morning, and meeting me at the crosswalk in the afternoon - natural progression as he grows more independent.

Friday afternoon he ran ahead as usual, and since a friend of his was right there at the crosswalk when he arrived, The Kid crossed the street with him and then waited for me. I got to the crosswalk and looked across the street at The Kid just as he looked up and ran into the street. He did not look both ways. He didn't look at all. He completely ignored the crossing guards, fifth graders who looked on in shock as my son bolted across the street. I was stunned. Almost speechless. Thank God Thank God Thank God there were no cars coming.

When he got to my side of the street, I grabbed him. I tried to remember he was surrounded by his peers and not scream my head off. I chastised him in a shaking, low voice and saved the yelling for when we got to the car. I yelled until he was crying and I was crying. In retrospect, I honestly think it scared him as much as it scared me. I believed he understood all about the crosswalks and the crossing guards. We talked about it a lot at the beginning of school. Obviously, his impulses just got the best of him, or he just forgot. He's six (almost seven). He thinks he's invincible.

We talked, when we got home, about basic safety rules and I told him no more running ahead until we are sure he has the impulse control to follow the rules and can remember the rules every time. Back to remedial safety lessons.

I don't know if it's because I'm a mother or just a personality disorder that's unique to me but I could not shake the images of what might have happened. Even now, they nag at the corners of whatever I'm doing. Saying goodnight last night, I hugged him and did not want to let him go. But I did, that's what moms do.

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