He’s a Little Runaway

Regardless of the fact that the title of this post conjures up images of bad eighties Bon Jovi music, Ian is a little runaway.  He’s an eloper. He tends to “wander off”.  But only at home.

Don't let the cuteness fool you.

Ian has never, ever been content being boxed into one space for too long. He would leave his room at night as a toddler (learned to climb out of the crib and climb gates by fifteen months) and wander around the house. Or wander outside in forty degree weather – nekkid – in the pouring rain. At 2 a.m. I moved his bedroom closer to ours in an attempt to hear him open his door. He got sneakier. Then we had to start locking it when he fell asleep so that we’d hear him trying to get out. Then he started refusing to sleep in his room. That was six years ago. We JUST started getting him to fall asleep in his own room again. Fun times.

Ian’s escaping was purposeful. He wasn’t just running to run away. He would try to go someplace he liked. Like the softball field two blocks away to stim in the sandy dirt. Our our neighbors’ house to play in their sandbox. Or the house two doors down because their swings (though identical!) our better than ours. Each time he’d escape, we’d come up with a master plan. Padlocks on the gates!  Then he’d learn to climb them. Alarms!  He’d walk right through them. Dogs! Dogs will keep him in!  They’d bark to alert me, one even grabs his clothes every time he tries to climb the fence, but it’s too late. He looks out of the corner of his eye and makes sure the coast is clear. He’s a sneaky little bugger. Baby proofing is met for babies. Not for Bugaboos.

We’ve had alarms and double deadbolts and bars in windows and doors. He climbs out of windows. He pushes screens out so now we keep either the heat or air on at all times to give him less of a way to escape. And yet he still figures it out. The kid hasn’t met a door or a lock he can’t master. Get it?  MASTER? MASTER LOCK? HAHAHA!  But it’s no joke. He gets ’em all.

The funniest part? He only runs away this much in a situation he is comfortable in. Like, at home. In public? He RARELY escapes. He might run ahead but never, ever runs away. At the height of his escapism, we planned a family trip, driving from PA to Yellowstone to Utah to visit family. Why yes, we are insane!  And we were scared to death he’d run away. Like, in Illinois. Or in the plains. Or in Yellowstone, getting lost in a geyser. So we bought tattoos and stickers and an electronic security device that would alert us if he was 50 feet away. Not that I every take my eyes off of him but it made us feel better. And he didn’t even try. Not once, not for two seconds. He sat perfectly still in his jog stroller and didn’t move for two weeks. I almost felt annoyed. I mean, we wrote on him EVERY DAY with a sharpie!  With our cell phone numbers and his first name! We were ready for him to escape! And he didn’t. that’s good. Right?

He just likes to run away from home. So we got him a sandbox. He stopped escaping. Until he saw the neighbor two blocks away with a trampoline. So we got him a trampoline, until he saw the neighbors two doors down with a better swing. So I got him an identical swing. And he climbs the fence to next door because they have a bigger slide. At this point, it’s a losing battle. I give up.

I guess the grass IS always greener on the other side.

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