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Wherein Magoo is Kidnapped

Dan Thompson

I was sitting on the toilet this afternoon (best post beginning ever) when I heard a knock at the door.  I then heard the door open.  I readied myself to greet someone at the door but by the time I reached it, no one was there.  No one.  Laylee was at school.  Wanda was taking a nap but Magoo had been playing in the front room.  He was gone.

The door was cracked a tiny bit and his shoes were missing.  I ran to the front door, my heart racing, and out onto the porch in time to see an SUV pulling out of our long driveway.  Someone was taking my boy.

I waved my arms frantically and when the driver turned, I noticed it was one of my friends… whom I have a carpool with… whose turn it was to pick Magoo up for music  class.  Slowly the adrenalin rush passed, followed by the realization that I am a bit of a spaztard.  He has music class at the same time every week and I always forget.  Always.  Unless it’s my turn to drive.  If it’s my turn to drive I remember and pick up all the kids but when I’m off the hook, I accuse my friends of kidnapping.

Can you imagine if I’d come to the door a minute later and found him missing, if I’d been so panicked that I’d called the police?  I can.  Vividly.  Something tells me that my friend Katie with her SUV of music lovers would not be the mom the police determined to be insane or a risk to children.  That would be someone else.

Now it’s not totally my fault.  The five-year-old has some culpability in this.  First of all, it’s his music class.  If anyone should remember when it is, it’s him.  I’m adding “clock” and “franklin planner” to his Christmas wish list.  Secondly and most importantly, he broke one of our major rules when he sauntered off to class while I was in the loo.   

We have very few rules in our house.  Okay we have lots of rules.  Don’t eat marshmallows out of the toilet.  Don’t put marshmallows in the toilet.  Don’t get into the marshmallows.  Stop. It.  But we only have a few really important life-preserving rules.  One of them is – Don’t Get Kidnapped.

Don’t Get Kidnapped has several parts.  Don’t talk to people you don’t know without a parent present.  If you get separated from your parents in a crowded place, look for another mommy with kids and ask her to help you.  Don’t go anywhere except to bed without permission.  Don’t answer the door without a parent present.  You get the idea.

I have drilled into Laylee and Magoo, “Even if you know the person, do you answer the door if Mom’s not there?  No.  Even if it’s your best friend in the world and he's brought you a new puppy, do you answer the door if Mom’s in the shower?  No.  Who are the only people you can answer the door to if you’re alone in the living room?  Mom and Dad.”

There have been weird cases in our neighborhood in the last year where people have knocked on doors in the middle of the day and then walked in and stolen things.  I don’t want anyone stealing a laptop or a DVD player or say, an adorable highly-marketable cute boy who sometimes dresses as a flying monkey.

So we had a serious talk about how he was never ever ever to leave the house without asking even if it was a scheduled activity, a talk in which I tried very hard not to refer to Mrs. Carpool Mom as “the assailant.”  And he only cried a little and I think I only a little bit made him think everyone around him is a kidnapper just waiting to offer him a piece of candy before stuffing him in the trunk of their car.

It’s hard to decide how much information to give your kids.  You want to put the fear of God into them without making them afraid all the time.  Today I erred on the side of too much info because today my son was kidnapped for one minute and I did not like that feeling, not one little bit.

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