Sike. There are actually 12. But who ever heard of a Top 12 list?
On the playground at the Training Station is a large wooden train that the children love playing on. One of the things they like about it is that to them it’s not only a train—it’s what they call the “train jail.” Every time I’m out there, they chase me all over the playground until they catch me. Then they haul me off to the train jail, where they put me inside and even guard me.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered several ways to escape from this particular form of incarceration. It helps that these little people are only between two and four years old, and I’m much bigger, faster, stronger, and—to this point at least—a little bit smarter. Not to brag or anything. So in case you ever get snagged by some little children who want to lock you up in the train jail, here’s my list of the Top 12 Ways to Escape from Little Kids Trying to Throw You in the Train Jail (each method of escape has been personally tried and found to be effective):
(12) The old pointing and shouting “Hey, what’s that?!?” trick still works with this age group. These kids are still pretty new, so the old classic tricks like this one still work. When the kids grab you, just point across the playground, yell, “Look! What’s that?” and when they’re sufficiently distracted, just run away.
(11) Again, these kids are small and have tiny hands. If they grab you but don’t have a good grip, just slip away.
(10) Climb out the side of the train jail.
(9) When the kids catch on to trick #10, just add a new twist: Climb out the side, then climb back in and escape from the front.
(8) Say, “Hey everyone, I have a great game we can play! Everyone close your eyes and count to 10.” When the children close their eyes and start counting, it’s your chance to sneak out.
(7) When the kids put you into the train jail, explain to them that you have a legal right to make a phone call. Then tell them that the phone is located just outside the jail. When they back up to let you go out to the phone, run off.
(6) Sometimes the kids will be proud of the “grippers” on their gloves. This is especially true of little boys with Spider-Man gloves. When they show you the “grippers” on their gloves and explain that’s why you can’t get away, ask them to show you how tightly they can grip the post on the train jail. When they let go of you to grip the post, run for it.
(5) When the kids are dragging you off to the train jail, say, “I know, let’s all do jumping jacks!” Three-year-olds are very proud of their perceived ability to do jumping jacks, so they can’t resist this invitation. Once they let go of you and start doing jumping jacks, slip through the crowd and take off.
(4) Sometimes a whole mob of kids will haul you off to the train jail, but once you get there, only one adult at a time can fit through the opening. When the “guard” tries to guide you through the entrance, politely offer to let the guard go first. Once he or she is inside, run for it.
(3) This technique only works if just one kid has a grip on you, which is rare, but it’s very effective in that situation. If you have a free hand, look for a toy within reach on the ground nearby. Grab the toy, hand it to the child, and ask them to hold it for you. Since they’re such tiny people, it will require both of their hands to hold the toy. Once they take it, you’re free to escape.
(2) As you pass by another child, tell all your captors to wave at him or her. Then tell them, “Great job! Now let’s all wave with both hands!” The kids will all wave with two hands, letting go of you in the process. Once they’re all happily waving, make your getaway.
(1) Challenge the kids who have captured you: “You’re so fast, I bet I can’t catch you!” Appealing to their pride is always effective. When they accept your challenge and run off, just go the other way.
A word of warning: Small children who have observed your various methods of escape might eventually catch on and begin trying to trick you. Once when a group of preschoolers was chasing me, a four-year-old boy who had repeatedly studied my tactics decided to try to trick me. He said, “Hey Pastor Nathan, jump seven times!” I looked at him blankly and said, “What?” He smiled and grabbed my arm and said, “Tricked you!”
When it comes to escaping from small children who want to throw you in the train jail, I guess the bottom line is this: It’s easy to trick them, but they usually don’t fall for the same stunt twice, so you need to be creative and vary your approach.