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Out of Arms Way

I’m sure that by now you’ve all seen the video clip of the mom dragging her child through a store on a baby leash.  And I’m sure you’ve all formed your opinions.

The first thing I thought of was, I know that feeling.  I’ve never acted on it, but I know that feeling.

When we had our first baby, we bought one of those cute little hot pink baby harnesses when our baby began walking in earnest.  We got it for our first trip to Disney World with her as a walker.  We weren’t afraid she’d run away, because that just wasn’t in her nature.  We were afraid she’d be taken from us, if our eyes left her for just a moment.

Remember now.  We’re older parents.  And this was our first child.  Novices, and all.

Anyway, she looked adorable scampering around at the end of her rope, and we looked young and fresh, because we had no idea what lay ahead.

I didn’t have the good sense to realize how good we had it, and that Emme was a model child.  Then we had Cailey.  No child harness could have held her.  Even if we tried.

And then there was Jensen.  Who would have fashioned any child harness thrust upon him into a weapon, and then tied his poor unsuspecting parents up with the business end of it.

I’ve written ad nauseum about our public adventures with Jensen.  Especially at the library.  I wanted to share yet another incident that just may surprise you.

A couple of days ago, we all piled out of the van for our biweekly pilgrimage to the library.  The girls usually dart ahead of me on the sidewalk, while I maintain a death grip on Jensen.  Because in days past, if I had let go, he would have ended up in the water reservoir on the library property, wrestling with the resident alligator.

I wish I were kidding.

Somehow Jensen slipped past me and was keeping stride with his sisters.  I hollered for him to come and hold my hand, while praying to God to save me from yelling in public, breaking into a run, and being forced to save a perfectly innocent alligator’s scaly life.

Jensen looked back at me over his shoulder, “MOM, I know where I’m going!” And with that, he pulled out in front of his sisters, and led the way into the library.

And then the strangest thing happened.

He stood in line quietly with his siblings.  He didn’t fall to the floor.  Or scream.  Or curse. Or disrobe.

When our turn came at the circulation desk, he stepped up quietly and (except for a well placed elbow jab to Cailey) stood next to me while I picked up our books.

Then with no meltdown whatsoever, he walked beside us, of his own accord, and climbed back into the van.

I told his how proud I was of his behavior in the library.  And he just smiled and said, “I wuv you mommy.”  And then in all caps he added, “ NOW CAN I HAVE MY GO-GURT?”

I’m pretty sure that the circulation desk clerk phoned into the police that someone had just used a stolen library card.  Because there’s no way they would have believed it was really me and my entourage.

There is hope on the horizon.  Now if I can just remind myself to let him have wings.


12 Responses to Out of Arms Way

  • Here’s hoping his behavior continues!

  • That is just AWESOME! I love Jensen stories and this is the best one yet:)

  • Yea for Jensen! Back in the day, we had the velcro bracelets joined by a wire resembling a curly telephone chord for our kids in the mall. Worked for baby #1 (who is now married and turned out just fine) but baby #2 learned to wrap it around things when I wasn’t looking and effectively tie me to benches and railings. He is a college senior who still marches to his own drummer!

  • Amazing, isn’t it? I am always surprised at what Fox can do on his own when I step back for a bit. Like last month, when I watched him use a non-sippy cup to drink juice at church. I had NO IDEA he could do that!
    I think it has a lot to do with our expectations.

  • Everyone once in a while they do amazing things, don’t they?

    Here’s to light at the end of that proverbial tunnel!

  • 🙂 🙂 YEAH, Jensen! And YEAH for you!!

  • That little rugrat will grow up into a wonderful man 🙂 Have enjoyed following your ‘trials and travails with Jensen’ and enjoyed more than a few chuckles. My son was pretty mild by comparison but I did want to share one story that is rather Jensen-esque 🙂 I’d gotten a kid leash because my son was faster-than-a-speeding-bullet and loved to explore. This was pre-harness days when you were just supposed to put that wimpy little leash around their wrist. Ha! Worthless piece of leather is what is was. Anyway, we’d gone into a Sears and I was looking at shirts on one of those round racks. The son darted underneath and I started trying to cajole him into coming back out but without success. So I gently tugged at the leash but he was a hefty 30 lbs. at that point so a mere tug wasn’t gonna do it. So I pulled a little harder and the rack moved slightly. “Little stinker is holding onto the pole” I thought. I hissed “Let go of the pole and get out here right now.” And tugged a little harder. The rack moved several inches towards me. I could see myself having to get down on hands and knees and go after him when I realized women on the other side of the rack were giggling and pointing. My son had taken the leash off his wrist, affixed it to the center pole and crawled out the other side. He was literally rolling on the floor laughing! I didn’t even bother to unhook the leash from the pole (wasn’t worth the trouble!); just dropped my end, grabbed my son and hightailed it outta there!

  • That is great! It could be the beginning of a beautiful thing.

  • Darn.

    I was really hoping to hear how you saved the scaly child, I mean, from the scaly child, I mean – well. Darn.

    I wanted there to be a frog.

    You make me so happy.

    You know, between Jensen’s apparent turnaround and the lack of frogs (too freakin’ hot for them) I may have absolutely nothing to say soon. 🙂


  • I root for Jensen like a super hero.

    I love his joy for life, and his canine tendencies. I guess I am glad for you he had a good trip to the library.

    Careful, he may just be letting you drop your guard down…

  • Oh, my goodness, this is so encouraging. My toddler is 20 mos & not as challenging as Jensen, but some days like today after he threw my cantaloupe on the ground in the checkout line while yelling, “Ball!”, I wonder if he’ll ever learn to listen and obey!!! Thanks for sharing your great moment!

    Also, as far as the leash mom goes…you always have another option. I also understand the frustration, but you have to pick the child up.

  • i know exactly how that is. my son is the same way. after two girls who never left my side, he’s been an eye opener. i always thought i was just a superior parent until i had a son.