Me: Okay, guys, ten minutes and we're going in for dinner!
Evan (glancing at his two buddies from down the street, who had come to play): Can I stay out longer?
Me (thinking that I'm calling his bluff): Sure, but I need to go in. You're welcome to stay out and play, as long as you boys stay in our yard.
Evan: [Quiet. Considering.]
Me: [Packing up toys, gardening gloves, the two other children. Watching him out of the corner of my eye.]
Evan, to his friends: Hey, guys....Would you...feel comfortable staying outside to play after my Mom goes in? She'll be right inside if we need anything!
Buddy #1: Dude. We do that all the time. I mean, like, we were just outside of his house for, like, five hours By Ourselves.
(They hadn't been home from school for even three, and had been at mine for one.)
Buddy #2: Yeah. We do it all the time. We're seven.
Evan, to me: Hey, Mom! We're just gonna stay out and play for awhile. Call me when it's time for dinner.
Me: Okay, bud! Sounds good.
Evan: I promise we'll stay right in the backyard.
Evan: Right here, where you can see us.
Me: Yup! Have fun!
Evan: ..... ..... .....
Buddy #1: So, are we gonna play?
Evan: ..... ..... Yup.
He was inside less than ten minutes later.
"Mom! I'm back inside! I told the guys it was probably time for dinner, so they went home."
But that means that he was outside with his buddies, without me, for almost ten minutes.
Sometimes Baby Steps can feel Big.
Seven year old boys are the best.