Catch That Kid!

Yesterday afternoon was lovely, which is why I decided it would be a great day for an early springtime walk to the park with the boys and Marissa when I got home from work. We gathered our tennis shoes and jackets and headed out to greet the semi-warm weather with enthusiasm. Jordan, of course, also had to tote along his sippy cup and and extra pair of socks (not sure what these were for, but he was adamant that we definitely needed to take them).

Our neighborhood play area is a small playground about ½ mile from our house, not a huge trek, but if you’ve been planted on the sofa for most of the winter adding to your winter warming layer, then it’s a fairly decent hike. Time to stretch out the old muscles and consider coming out of hibernation.

So, off we went, a 3-year-old, an almost-3-year-old, an 8-year-old excellent helper, and one very out-of-shape mommy. We arrived at the playground in a respectable amount of time—you have to consider that a couple of our group have midget legs, and mommy has recently pried her winter butt off the recliner—and as soon as the boys saw the playground, they lurched forward in their excited toddler way, anxious to begin stomping in the mud and throwing wood chips at innocent passers by.

Have I mentioned the lovely time we were having? The boys climbed and slid and ran—a much-needed release of energy, since they have been cooped up for far too long waiting for winter to get the heck out of Dodge.

I had my trusty cell phone, (I have been told I am a pitiful excuse for a woman with a cell phone because I never keep it on my person, or for that matter anywhere near my person, so I’m trying to do better.) so we decided to call Daddy on his way home so that he could stop and enjoy some outdoors time with us. Great! The boys were thrilled that he was stopping to play, and they eagerly gathered a small mountain of wet wood chips to throw at him in some sort of odd toddler welcoming ritual.

And so we played. Daddy arrived, and all was right with the world. Birds were chirping, bees were buzzing…not really, but this was our first day outside in a while, so it was pretty good. After a leisurely half hour or so of playing, I announced that it was time to begin the hike back home. After all, I was pretty sure the good fairies had not snuck into our house to prepare dinner while we were out.

Now remember, Jason stopped by in his car, so as logic would dictate, he got back into his car when it was time to go. I got to be the lucky herder of muddy boys as we squished and sloshed our way back home. (Marissa, of course, is a wonderful herder in training and helped a lot by keeping tabs on their whereabouts.)

All was still wonderful as we waved at Daddy. He slowly pulled his car away from the curb, waved, and he was off. And that’s when the fun began. Jordan turned into some sort of Forrest Gump on crack, yelled ‘Daddy!’ and took off at a full-speed run behind the car.

And let me tell you, this was no leisurely Sunday afternoon jog. We are talking full-out, elbows pumping, knees raised SPRINT. Before I even knew what was happening, he was nearly a half a block in front of me, still following Daddy’s tail lights like a hyper puppy. In the meantime, I had to gather Jadon, who clearly thinks that the second half of the walk sucks because there is no play equipment at the end, so he moving at about the pace of a slug after a huge dinner.

So I had two ends of the spectrum—Speedy Gonzalez and Eeyore. And for the record, I feel quite comfortable with the Eeyore speed, thank you very much. However, being the nice mommy that I am (sometimes), I left Marissa to hold Jadon’s hand so that she did not have to run ahead to tame the wild roadrunner.

Let me digress to say that before our walk, we had all changed into comfortable clothes—non-work clothes. Which is to say that Mommy had put on her comfortable bra, the one with no elastic and only one working hook. In retrospect, this was a bad plan—had I known I would be sprinting all the way home, I would have pulled out the super rebar-reinforced support system to wear underneath my baggy t-shirt. But oh no, instead, in my haste to catch Jordan, I’m fairly certain I ended up traumatizing several neighbors and small children.

Any-hoo, we ended up running all the way home. All. The. Way. Home. I know, I know, it’s only about a ½ mile, but remember the whole couch/winter hibernation thing? Yeah, and do you think I thought to carry my inhaler with me? Nope, because I was too busy remembering to take my phone.

About ¾ of the way back, Jadon decided he could walk no further. He was dying. His little legs could not take another step. He planted himself in front of me, arms in the air in the universal kid-sign for ‘Pick me up, Stupid.’ So I did, because I figured, hey, I’m not making enough of a spectacle of myself, so I should plant a kid on top of my head.

Having Jadon securely perched on my shoulders, his little arms wrapped around my head, fingers poking into both my eyes, I took off again. Jordan was still in the lead and still yelling ‘Daddy’ all the way even though daddy’s car was long gone.

We rounded the corner in a final burst of speed. Nearing the finish line, our house in sight, Daddy’s car parked safely in the driveway, Jordan also went into overdrive, his final burst of speed. With visions of cars squishing my precious youngster, I ran even faster. Jadon was bouncing on top of my head, I’m pretty sure the last strand of elastic on my ghetto bra had finally snapped, and I was wheezing like a 30-year-smoker, but I was determined to catch that kid.

And catch him I did. I caught up to him just as he ran into our open garage. The object of Jordan’s obsession must have heard us arrive because the door to the house opened, and out stepped a calm, cool, and collected Daddy who clearly had not had to sprint all the way home from the park. And you know what? Jordan was pretty darned proud of himself for having finally caught him.

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