Street sense

My son has no street sense.

I used to think that given how smart he is, he would fare well in the world. I thought he understood that cars are dangerous or that you have to listen to your parents. I was wrong. He’s a child, and like all other children, he does not understand the consequence of his actions.

Our first big fright was earlier this summer when we were in Kelowna. My mother-in-law had parked the car in front of the house to help her mother in, then she returned to the car. My son, who was playing in the yard, went towards the car right behind his grandmother. I thought she had seen him and that he would help her carry things in as he often did. I was taking care of his sister. Then I looked up again, and my eyes took in this vision in a fraction of a second: my son was on the street, crouched behind the back of the car (invisible to the driver), and my mother-in-law was behind the wheel. I though she was about to back up into the parking lot. I yelled at my son. He refused to move. I yelled again. He came back to safety.

Turns out my mother-in-law was only grabbing something, but I didn’t know that and neither did he. Their car was silent, but it’s a hybrid so it didn’t mean it wasn’t on. We spent a lot of time that night trying to explain to our son that if his grandma had killed him by backing up the car, everyone would have been devastated (and he would have been dead). There was a lot of crying involved. But we thought he understood.

Then three days ago, I came outside after popping in to change the baby and another mother came to tell me she had found my son (and two other kids his age) on the street. Well, on the sidewalk, but outside the courtyard’s gate. It’s a very busy street. He was fine, but it scared the crap out of me. Again. Because we told him again and again not to go out of the courtyard, yet he did it. They had been watering the front steps and followed the water out of the gate to see how far it went. That means if his ball had gotten out of an open gate, he might have followed it all the way into the street.

I don’t want to stop letting him play unsupervised, or loosely supervised. I can’t be with him at all time. But I am realizing that he is a lot less street smart than I would have though. He claims he didn’t come up with the idea but followed a friend. Of course, peer pressure! At 4! What’s a mother to do?

I punished him by not allowing him to go out by himself for a few days. We tried to drill street sense into him. But I trust him a lot less than I did before. And I watch more closely…

One Response to “Street sense”

  1. Mireille Says:

    Et oui, un enfant reste un enfant – aussi brillant soit-il! Même lorsqu’on pense lui avoir fait comprendre, même lorsqu’on lui a tout expliqué les conséquences, même s’il sait qu’il n’a pas le droit de faire quelque chose, il va le faire quand même… Jusqu’à ce qu’il vieillisse et que le gros bon sens prenne le dessus, ou jusqu’à ce qu’il y ait un accident! Touchons du bois et faisons tout de même un peu confiance à ton fils, il va finir par le comprendre par lui-même. Quelle frousse tout de même!