Earlier this week, Walsh got mad at me in the pool and told me he was going to run away. He got out of the pool and went inside to pack.
I couldn’t quite decide what to do: Do you not make a big deal about it and say OK see you later. Do you forbid them to go? Do you pull the Carol Brady and assist them in leaving and then tell them of course I’m going with you?
Lilina was swimming with Rose in the pool so I didn’t want her to drown while I was inside checking on his fake getaway but I also didn’t want him heading out the front door without me knowing it.
I gave him a few minutes to cool down, told Lilina to get on the steps and then I went in to check on him. He was coming down the stairs shirt on and with backpack strapped over his shoulders.
I went to the bottom of the stairs to try to stop him and then I looked down. He didn’t have any pants on. I started laughing and said “I think you’ll need pants if you’re going to run away.”
He said “I didn’t have any good shorts upstairs.”
So he goes to my room where the clean laundry is stacked in baskets ready to be put away, and he proceeds to start pulling out pants for his backpack. He grabbed a pair of underwear, and I said I think you’ll need more of those. He said, “Don’t you worry. I’ve got a bunch.” (Again, I started to laugh. He was just so cute packing his stuff. You always wonder what they would bring to care for themselves. I think next trip I am letting him pack for himself. He did a good job.)
Then he headed back upstairs. Again I gave him some cooling off time and then went up to check on him. This time he had a fleece blanket spread out of the floor and was folding it up. He said, “I’m going to need a blanket.” I said good choice. Then he decided he needed to repack the whole backpack. He dumped everything out to fit in the blanket.
At this point he still wasn’t cooled off and was packed, and I wasn’t sure how to keep him from trying to walk out the front door. So I told him that if he left, the police probably wouldn’t let him come back and live with us and they would put him in a home with strangers. He didn’t like that. He started to cry and gave up the plan. I didn’t know what else to say. (I tried to comfort the little guy after and move him on to other things.)
I think the runaway threat is fairly common. I posted on Facebook after it happened and a lot of folks sent me notes saying it happened to them too. What is the best way to handle it? What should you say or do to head it off?