Yes, Theo, that’s exactly how I feel.
I’ve heard of children like this, but this is my first experience with it. If I ask Theo to do something he doesn’t want to do, or if he’s just feeling cheeky for no real reason, he hides. He may only be two, but I did myself a vast disservice by helping him hide from his older siblings in one too many games of hide-and- seek. He knows all the best places, and he knows how to be silent and motionless.
It started with him quietly sitting behind the arm of a couch, or simply laying down on the floor and putting his favourite damp tea towel over his head. Then he would slide under his bed instead of into it at naptime, knowing I was watching. I made the mistake of chuckling at these antics instead of nipping them firmly in the bud, which clearly I should have.
Around lunchtime the other day, the only reason I finally found him hunkered in the corner behind a fully open door in the basement was because I could hear him sucking on his fingers. At bedtime yesterday, I finally noticed the door to the front entry shoe closet was slightly ajar. After bedtime, I heard sounds and went to check and his bed was empty – thankfully his big sister could point me to my bedroom closet, where he lay with a giant grin under my hanging clothes. We’ve installed locks and chains to at least keep him in the house, and the kids now have strict instructions not to open any doors, including the garage, without my explicit permission after my neighbours witnessed me running down the road in my less-than-appropriate pjs one day and with one shoe and a half-dressed baby the next day.
Have you dealt with this? What should I do, considering he’s not the most verbal and tends to think getting into trouble means things are hilarious and need to be ramped up? I guess I thought by the third child I’d have things a little more figured out – pride goes before the lost child, and all that.
His other trick is playing “mountain goat”, useful when climbing rocks at the river, but less so when getting stuck in strange places around the house. How he learned that term is beyond me…probably another parenting fail when I laughed and used those words the first time he nimbly climbed somewhere odd.
For a kid that can’t even pronounce his own (very short) name, the fact that he can clearly holler “mountain goat!” when he is stuck and needs help makes me think he may be deliberately playing dumb in other areas.
On the bright side, he has a new-found love of puzzles, and has proven he can actually sit still and focus, and not just when he’s hiding. I want to buy 300 more, because how cute is a focused face?
He has also moved beyond minimal interest to absolute love of his baby brother, and will happily entertain him, cheer him on when learns new skills, or hug him until he falls over.
And garage hockey is possibly the best thing to ever happen in his young life.
If he would just stay where we can find him, and preferably on the floor, he’d really be a most amazing kid. Or is that all part of what already makes him an amazing kid? It really depends what day you ask me :)