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     My son is going to run away. Don't be fooled by his 7-year-old frame and poorly thought out plan. He is going to run away. Nevermind that he is in his boxer shorts and only has a bag packed with t-shirts.... I think we should take this threat seriously. Afterall, if we neglected to believe every child that threatened to run away, there would be at least 4, maybe even 5 kids that would just be lost in the wilderness, never to be heard from again. So I think it necessary to inform him of what he's going to face out in the wild, on his own (in only his boxer shorts).
     But to back up for a minute, let me tell you that my son got in trouble at school today (hey, this is an improvement from last year.... he made it 3.5 days without a hitch this time!). He and another boy decided to spit loogies on the cafeteria floor during lunch time. 1) This is gross. 2) This is a slipping hazard. 3) This is unhealthy. 4) This is my son. However, I did not flip my lid. Nor did I dole out a ridiculous punishment. I did, however, inform him that I was going swimming at our friend's home this evening, and that if he wanted to join us, he would first need to clean my floors.... all of them. His ADHD little self sped through the house like a man on fire (stopping briefly to stare at nothing, ask a totally unrelated question, or to touch something shiny). Finally, the floors were clean (ish) and we hopped in the car to head to the pool.
     Not only did we have a fabulous time in the cool water after a miserably roasty-toasty day, but Cameron LEARNED HOW TO SWIM!!! I'm pretty sure he drank a few quarts of pool water, but bloatedness aside, it was fun and super exciting for him. I was thrilled and praised the trunks off him the entire way home. As we pulled into the driveway, I gave very clear instructions: "Cameron. You MUST change your wet clothes and then clean your room before going downstairs to play with your sister. I will inspect your room before you play. Do you understand me?" He affirmed that he understood. Yet, knowing this child's attention span, I repeated the instructions, at which time he huffed and said "I KNOW!" Ok then. No problem....
     I jumped in the shower to wash the chlorine off and popped out 5 minutes later. It was eerily quiet upstairs and I called to my children. No answer. Hmmm. Never a good sign. I dressed and headed to Cameron's room. Lo and behold, Cameron was nowhere to be found, yet his room was exactly as he had left it the day before.... filthy. I calmly (it has to be noted that I was calm) went downstairs to find him playing, at which time he told me he was "just helping Taylor find.... um.... something..." I patiently asked him to repeat the directions he was given in the car.
     "You said to change my clothes, and I did!"
     "What else did I tell you to do, Cameron? Here's a hint. It's the same thing you were told to do yesterday, which you didn't do, AND it's the same thing you were told to do right when you came home from school, which you didn't do."
     "Um, I don't know?"
     "Perhaps some time in your room will help jog your memory. Here's another hint.... YOUR ROOM."
     Twenty minutes later, I called the kids for dinner, at which time Cameron came down looking very grumpy. The kind of grumpy that makes you say to yourself, Ugh, here we go.... He sulked through the first part of his meal and then tried to pretend that he had been nothing but peaches and rainbows, and asked (in his sweetest voice) which story I was reading them tonight. I asked Cameron if he remembered what the instructions were for when he came home from swimming. He amazingly enough remembered that it was to clean his room... but that he DID clean his room, it just got dirty again. (Um, that's not even a nice try, kid.) To which I responded, "I'm sorry your room got dirty again.... that must be so frustrating for you. It is equally frustrating for me to have my son not follow my directions when I've said them repeatedly, and then to lie to me instead of just being honest. There will be no story, not tonight."
     "You hate me, don't you!!!" This is the go-to response when he is a combination of in trouble, tired, and stressed.
     "Never have I hated you, Cameron. You're my son and I love you very much. And because I love you, there will be no story, in hopes that you remember to follow directions better tomorrow."
     "You hate me and I hate it here! I'm going to tell Lisa (our caseworker) that I'm leaving you.... she's gonna come and take me away to another foster home and you'll be sorry!"
     "First of all, Lisa doesn't work with us anymore, Bud. Secondly, you're adopted, so this is no longer your foster home... it's your permanent home, for better or worse. And most importantly, I do love you, but there is still no story."
     At this point, Cameron began to yell loudly and cover his ears when I tried to interrupt his rant as he stamped his feet on the ground. Taylor stared at him in amusement and, to her credit, did nothing to intervene. When Cam finished his tantrum, I told him that it was his bedtime, that I loved him, and good night.      "But what about the rest of my dinner?", he asked frantically.
     "You have to wait two hours after screaming to eat.... and you'll already be asleep by then. Goodnight."
     There were more wails as he stomped up the stairs. When I finished my dinner and cleaned up the kitchen, I went to check on my little grumpus. And that's when I saw him, in his boxers, book-bag packed, and look of determination on his face.
     "So.... where ya goin?" I asked.
     "Oh! I'm running away. You just wait!"
     "Where ya running to, exactly?"
     "I'm going to Lisa's office to tell on you."
     "Don't you mean tell on yourself, since you were the one that didn't follow directions and then lied? And you were the one that did all this carrying on instead of just apologizing and moving on with our night?"
     "Uh, no... I'm not telling her that. I'm telling her you're mean and that I hate it here!"
     "Well, OK then. I guess it's settled. You're running away. By the way, Lisa's office is about a 5-hour walk, that's about how long it takes to drive to Michigan... and it's dark out, which means you'll need your flashlight.... oh, shoot. I totally forgot, you lost your flashlight when you weren't following directions the other day. Too bad. Oh well, you'll figure it out. Remember to bundle up, 'cause it's getting chilly at night. And take a map. Can you read a map? Oh, nevermind, you'll find it. Maybe some nice kidnapper will show you the way if you get lost.... Be safe, OK? I'll miss you."
     Ten minutes later, my son was fast asleep on his bed. See? It's a good thing I took his threat seriously.