A couple months ago, while watching the kids climb at my parents' house, my uncle turned to me and asked "have you ever heard of free range parenting?" I laughed and said "I think we invented it." I think my kids are smart and capable and that they need a chance to be independent and figure things out without us grown-ups hovering. Now that we are on the farm, they have even more space in which to run around and explore.
One day, the kids were outside doing what they do best. Playing. Running. Exploring. Building. And I was focusing on unpacking or cleaning or something boring. At some point, I realized it had been a while since I heard Sean, so I thought I'd better check on him. I checked on the porch. I looked in the back yard. I checked inside the workshop, around the workshop and in the barn. And the garage. And basement. Even the chicken house and the front yard. I asked the girls if they knew where he was. I asked my youngest brother who finally told me Sean had followed him out past the apple trees into the corn field. So I walked up and down the entire edge of the corn field yelling Sean's name. I didn't hear a response.
We like to give the kids space to play, but at this point I became a bit uneasy. I wasn't worried about all those creepy things that happen on crime dramas on tv. I was worried that Sean was walking along the gravel road to visit the neighbors and their horses. I was worried he climbed up too high or in a hole. I was worried that he was stuck in a place that only Sean could weasel himself into. So I ditched the corn field and ran toward the road, with a baby on my hip.
I guess all the commotion of me yelling Sean's name over and over, running around looking for him brought the entire family out. Since the corn field was the last place my brother saw him, he, along with my stepdad, hubby and the girls, went in after Sean. Now the first thing my father taught me about corn is this old saying
"knee high by the fourth of July." Well this was the end of June and I
do not know who fed the corn it's vitamins, but this corn was way
taller than knee high! And when you are 2 1/2 and only 34" tall, the corn is very tall indeed. My little brother found Sean sitting on the dirt amongst the corn, crying. He had heard me calling his name, but I did not hear him answer. After one of the scariest half hours of both my and Sean's lives, Sean has vowed to never play in the corn again.