I didn’t mean to kidnap the neighbor boy

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So, I may have inadvertently kidnapped the neighbor boy.

Let me explain

As with most things in my life, there is a story here and with almost anything pertaining to me the plea of “OK, so let me explain” will figure prominently.

The neighbor boy has been spending the night a few nights a week and going to school with us the next day for many years now. In fact, the only reason our son even has bunk beds is to accommodate the guest.

On that note, another friend drops her three little ones here to ride to school with us in the morning as well. We do a little ride swap carpool thing whereby I trade my one middle-school aged child for her three sweetly adorable little boy buttons of awesome elementary age cuteness.

Good trade

Anyone who has had the pleasure of pre-teens will know that the ratio of three cute little guys for one pre-teen is actually an awesome trade because generally the little guys are closer to mint condition and worth more.

Lest anyone from the department of taxation come sniffing around, please note that I do not get paid to watch these kids in any way shape or form beyond being able to bask in their sweetness and utter adorableness.

No, I do it for free. I do it because I’m actually kind of pointed (read: mean) and outspoken much of the time and frankly, need the good karma to balance out.

Has its benefits

The beauty of it is that when you provide free childcare for a variety of people in the community, you will find that you could go around skewering kittens and people might look at you funny, momentarily aghast, but then they’d be all “well she does watch those kids for free …” and shrug and give you a pass.

(Note to squeamish readers: no kittens were harmed in the making of this column. Our daughter wouldn’t even let me look at a kitten cross-eyed. I promise).

So, like I said, I’ve been watching this particular kid since he was a baby. It’s been nearly 10 years. We have a rhythm. He sleeps over a few nights a week and goes to school from here.

After school, he rides the bus home to his own house because by then his mother, who sleeps days, is home to greet him. It’s perfect.

Today, Mother Nature messed with me. Our school district’s two-hour weather delay morphed into an actual all-day snow day (cue the hysterically screaming fans of this!)

All three, all day

Who knew three relatively small children could make so much noise? Thus, my own bundles of joy No. 1 and No. 2 were here all day along with our rent-a-kid No. 3 — the neighbor boy. They hung out here all day and had a thoroughly lovely time dismantling our home for fun.

Only later in the afternoon, in the midst of this frolic, did our neighbor boy pipe up to say “I wonder if my mom knows we had a snow day and that I’m here and not at school?”

Uh-oh, who let the smart kid in here?

And I realized, with a start, that I had no idea. Then I thought it over for a nanosecond (because I’m irresponsible like that) and had to assume that she probably did. She listens to the news right? People talk about a second snow day in a row? Um. Yeah. No.

Um, is my son there? A few hours later — as darkness began to fall, the phone rang to a groggy, but somewhat agitated “Is my son there?”!

To which I sheepishly confessed that yes, he is and gee I thought she knew that. No, apparently not.

It seems she awoke in the afternoon (remember: day sleeper, not slovenly alcoholic sleeping off a bender) and she realized in a dread panic that she hadn’t been awakened by the daily stop of the school bus — or more importantly, heard her child come in. Oops.

Not my style

Fortunately she called here to track him down before she called the Sheriff’s Department — because I seriously would not look good in handcuffs and those orange jumpsuits would definitely make me look fat.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is not a kidnapper – usually. She welcomes comments c/o lifeoutloud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://kymberly.typepad.com/life.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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