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The Runner

The Runner

It’s amazing, really!

Lightning speed unparalleled by any grown-up in history.

For real. Somebody please tell me how she does it. Her and the rest of the miniature people around three years old.

I assume (strictly based upon the existence of leashes for children) that I cannot be the only mother who has experience with a “runner”.

A runner is a child who has a seeming supernatural ability to be in one spot one moment, and in the very next microsecond, be NOWHERE remotely close to that spot. I’m convinced that J.K. Rowling came up with her idea of apparating by observing this very thing. Apparating, in her books, is when the students of Hogwarts had to learn to disappear from one spot and transport themselves to someplace completely different in a split second. Who knew this wasn’t strictly fictional?

The Runner
The Runner

Although the gift does seem to diminish with age, apparating children are not to be underestimated.

She can disappear in seconds.

Take, for example, the first time I realized I had a runner in my brood. We had made a family trip of going to Lowe’s for some tool or some such thing my husband needed. I had her standing right NEXT to me. Literally. One foot away from me.

I looked a little closer at whatever product had caught my interest just so I could see the price. It took exactly .75 seconds. In that time, I lost my child.

Before it was all said and done, our entire family was searching, strangers were searching, employees were combing the aisles, and the entire store was on lockdown. I was getting a little panicked at that point.

And then, out of nowhere, an employee came walking towards us, hand in hand with our little runner. You know where she was? The absolute FIRST place I should have thought to look: the toilets on display in the bathroom remodeling section (she was in the midst of potty training torture and was of course slightly obsessed at the time).

Yet this made no sense to me. It was just not possible that her chubby little legs had carried her THAT instantly out of the aisle we had been in and all the way across that huge warehouse of a store!

Apparating, I tell you!


We saw the same thing at our recent trip to Disney World. I did not let that child more than an arm’s length away if she didn’t have her luggage tag necklace around her neck with my phone number. My parents were with us, so that made FOUR adults plus two big sisters to watch this kid’s whereabouts. And still, still she escaped us! Not once, not twice, THREE times the runner disappeared into the masses of people. We even had to lockdown the Dumbo ride to locate her. This made us VERY popular with other guests in the park.

The runner was riding with ME. After all the drama we caused, no way was I letting her on an elephant without me. She’d find a way to disappear, I have no doubt.

It was NOT the happiest place on earth for my child when she was found, let me tell you.

I’ve seen mothers around town with that crazed, wild-eyed look in their eye when their child has apparated. We don’t need extra cardio workouts when we have a runner we’re responsible for. Our hearts reach an active heart rate countless times a day as we feverishly search again and again and again.

Hang in there, mothers of runners. And ditch the high heels. It’s sneakers only for the next eight years when in public.

And never, EVER forget to fortify your dressing room so your runner can’t escape while you are indecent. It’s actually fairly traumatizing to have to prance through a clothing store searching for your escape artist while not entirely appropriately dressed.

Just trust me on this one.


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