Surviving Adventures in the Life of Jack

fire pit

Way back when, I needed a blog name for Jack.  Nursery rhymes were the source I was using for inspiration, but which one?  Then the day happened and I knew very clearly what it was.  Jack!

The nursery rhyme of Jack Be Nimble always confused me. Why would one jump over a candle, burn themselves, then say they wanted to do it again?  Then I became the mom of one such little boy and it made perfect sense – because it was there and he could. (Okay, that is not the historical reason, but it now seems like a valid explanation to the boy of this mom.)

Here are some adventures to give you insight:

My husband and I were looking to go out one evening for a few hours.  We have tried several babysitters, but yet to alight upon one we really thought would work well at this time of day/night.  I called a friend I knew who had a daughter with several younger brothers.  “Perfect.  Maybe she will be able to handle the boys even though they will be really tired.”  Three hours later we get back, 1.5 hours past their bedtime, and they are all watching a movie.  No problem as I told her she did not need to even try doing bedtimes.  Here is her quote, “They ate supper, played inside for a bit, then we went outside to play.  We ran around for quite a while playing X game and Y game.  We came back in to watch a movie. …. They weren’t even tired. They have a lot of energy!”  Glad to know that it isn’t because I am getting ‘old’, even the teenager was worn out by them.

They have a LOT of energy

While carpet shopping for the house, I spaced out the trips so it would not be a long day.  Instead, my goal was to make it a few shorter mornings in Big Town, thereby hopefully avoid the following scenario:

I had gathered up prices and determined where I wanted to go.  Jack and I went to the store first thing after dropping George off at school.  Mornings are Jack’s best time, so I was trying to utilize this knowledge to my benefit.  My phone is charged and his favorite app game is loaded.  We get to the store and he sees a table, with some kids toys, sitting in the middle of the carpet selection area.  With some hesitation I agree to let him play there instead of on my phone right by me.

All was going well till toward the end.  As I was narrowing down the choices with the salesman, who had left to get another sample board, I realized Jack was not at the table.  A quick search revealed that he was hiding on the other side of the show room, among some other samples.  I brought him back, reminding him of “expected and unexpected behaviors in a store.” The sales man came back, we went to his desk to get finish some paperwork.  Jack was playing nicely at the table full of toys.

Someone walked up beside me and politely said, “Ma’am, your son is in the back room behind rolls of carpet and won’t come out.  He is not supposed to be back there, it is dangerous. He needs to come out.”  I had to bite my tongue on that last part to keep from being too sarcastic. I would have thought it was pretty obvious after the first sentence.  But, I know this was definitely unexpected behavior and something none of the adults in the room would have even considered another kid doing.

Sure enough, I found him (finally) hiding under rolls of padding, in a space about 1.5 feet high.

bike meets deck steps child

Do not ride bikes down steps…

Amazingly, we have only been to the ER once with our Lover of Life.  I was so proud of myself, keeping the kids entertained in the sand box on the deck while I cleaned out the shed.  It was a sunny afternoon and we were all in the backyard together.

Obviously my eyes did not catch everything.  I heard a thump and a cry.  Turning I found Jack face down on the ground, his bike (with training wheels) at his feet, at the bottom of the stairs to the deck.  My first concern was that his nose was broken or pushed up into his head.  Once I felt everything and found nothing broken, I carried him inside to address the gushing of blood.

We have had bloody noses before, the kids would get them by crying too hard as smaller kids, so this was not exactly a new thing for us.  George was a great help in getting door opened and toilet paper to wipe off the blood in between splashes of water.

My husband? Well, not such a big help.  At least at first.  I yelled for him to come help, as I was not sure if teeth had been knocked out, or if I needed to leave George at the house and leave with Jack.  When he walked in and saw Jack’s face covered with blood and George and I standing around the sink, his first reaction was to get mad. “What were you thinking?!”  Granted, it was out of being scared and concerned for Jack, but it was not helpful.  I told him to leave the bathroom, then closed the door.  Once the shock was gone he was much better and held and cuddled Jack on the way to the ER.

The result of this stunt was a very swollen upper lip for almost a week and a detailed report to our foster care agency.  No teeth knocked out.  No broken nose.  No black eye.  He had missed the wood border of the landing by about 2 feet.  If he had hit that, the outcome would have been very different.

But I wanted Daddy

In the time before learning how to swim well, which was any time before this summer season, the kids were required to wear life vests in the pool when swimming.  The only times they were allowed to be without them was if they were in our arms.

Even after being shown over and over how they would sink if we let go of them, how they could not walk on water (sorry, you are not Jesus), and how they had yet to learn to swim, they still did not fully believe us.

George had a healthy fear of the water.  Well, maybe a bit too much fear, but it served him well enough.

Jack, though, thought we were being mean and restrictive.  “By Golly, I want to be in the water and they are keeping me from what I want! How dare they!”  Yup, pool day was fun, full of holding Mom’s hand until she properly suited you up.

It was the end of swimming time, we were all getting out of the community pool to head home.  As it was late afternoon, my husband was also there.  I had gotten out and was ready to help the kids dry off.  Jack had been put out of the pool, I removed his vest and dried him off.  We were walking around to the other end, to get George out, when I realized Jack had turned back.  He wanted Daddy. Who was still in the pool.  Looking the other way.

In one swift move, he walked up to the edge and stepped right off into the water.  Then promptly sunk to the bottom.

I could not get there fast enough, though I tried, and yelled at my husband.  Thankfully, he turned around, scooped Jack up and sat him back on the edge.  We had one scared child. Well, at least for about 5 minutes.  He was not any worse for the wear, though it could have been a whole lot worse.

And this is why I did not take them at the busiest times of the day, even now.