Yesterday J came inside and told me that some of Sacagawea's clothes and blankets were in the bike shed. What? Her church clothes and shoes, even. I asked him to tell her to bring them all back inside, and that I wished to speak to her also. She has taken things like that outside to play dress-up with before, but I had asked her not to use her nice clothes to play outside.
She came inside, her arms full of blankets and a bag of clothes. She dragged her feet as she brought them to the living room. "Why did you have all these things outside?" I questioned.
"I don't know...."
At that point I called all the children in for an "I don't know" lecture. That's not an answer I accept, but a few of the boys have been trying it lately, and now Sacagawea had picked up on it. During a talk about how they are each responsible for their actions, they need to figure out why they are doing things, and be willing to tell me why, I got a good look at all the things Sacagawea had outside: A dress, tights, two pairs of dress shoes, her favorite outfits, her favorite blankets, some dolls..."Were you planning on running away?" The boys started giggling at the absurdity of my question, but Sacagawea nodded her head and burst into tears. I sent the boys on their way as I gave Sacagawea a hug, partly to comfort her and partly to hide my face which I was trying so hard to keep composed. This wasn't a laughing matter.
I called The Man over, briefly explained what was going on, and I tried once again to compose myself. I could tell she was perplexed as to how Mommy knew she was going to run away, so I shared a bit of information about myself. When I was her age I got a bag and filled it will all my favorite games so that when I ran away I could take them with me. She thought it was funny that I only packed games and no clothes or blankets. Of course, I wasn't really going to run away. My older brother tried it once, and I was crying hysterically that my parents actually let him walk out the door. They waved good-bye! Of course he only made it to the corner of our yard before the neighbor's dogs started barking, and back home he ran. While I was telling her my story, The Man went and got the camera and started snapping pictures.
Pajamas and some of her favorite outfits.
That tiger backpack contained two of her smallest dolls and six pairs of clean underwear (at least I've taught her that correctly).
Her blankets, dress, tights, and socks wouldn't fit in a bag so those were just out there in the shed. We need to wash them before they are returned to her room.
She had smuggled all those clothes out of the house and into the bike shed 2 days previous. The day before she was actually planning on leaving, but J came outside and foiled her plans. I had sent J outside, and I was soon to follow. When I went outside she was trying to tell J to go back inside, because she didn't want him out there. I told her we had over 50 acres, there was plenty of room for both of them. Now I know why she was so upset!
Where was she planning on going? To the B home, about 5 miles down our road. She was going to ride her bike. Between our 1/4 mile driveway and the amount of stuff she was planning on taking, I highly doubt she would have made it to the open road. Even so, The Man says we're moving to somewhere with a longer driveway. I think I aged about 5 years (at least) yesterday at the thought of my baby girl riding her bike down the road without us.
So, we finally answered the who, what, when, where, and how questions. I told her that if she ever really needed to go somewhere, please let Mommy or Daddy drive her. It really isn't safe for her to be by herself out on the road. We have mountain lions and such around here (and other dangers which I didn't see the need to bring up at the time). She agreed. I asked if she would stay home until her birthday (next Saturday). Again, she agreed. Then she decided she would stay until J's birthday in June. After consulting a calendar, she said it would be after the new moon in October. Of course, that is so close to November, maybe she should wait until after S's birthday. After all of that, she announced that she would postpone the event until she was 16 so she could drive herself. Whew. That gives us about 10 years to prepare her and us.
Why? She doesn't like feeding the Dog. She's always had an aversion to strong smells, and I can't say that I blame her on that one. M readily announced that he would love to feed the Dog again if she could help him feed the chickens. Done. We needed to redistribute pet responsibilities anyway since the lizard's demise. S will assist J with feeding the horse in the morning, and now everyone is happy.
"Is feeding the Dog the only thing you don't like about our house?"
"No," she said, "I don't like taking naps.* Also, I only have brothers here. The Bs have sisters, too."
I later asked the boys if any of them ever had plans to run away. They all admitted to wondering what it would be like, but they had never seriously considered it. The Man said when he was a boy he had some food set aside, but his brother talked him out of it. Did you ever have plans to run away? Did you follow through with any of it?
*Sacagawea gave up naps long ago. We did have the kids lie down for some naps/rest on Saturday afternoon since we were planning on being out late that night and getting up early the next morning for the dog sled rides. Other than that, I really don't remember when her last nap was. AND I happen to know that the B mother still makes all of her children utilize a nap/rest period in the afternoon.