COON RAPIDS, MN-When six-year-old Jimmy Francis traded in his old model cars for a brand new red model Corvette, his parents knew something wasn't right. But it wasn't until he started spending a lot more time with three-year-old neighbor girl Haley that they knew there was a problem.
"She's half his age!" exclaimed his worried mother, Jeanne Francis. "I just don't see what was wrong with Emily from art class. She's his age, but doesn't look a day over five." Added his father Patrick, "He's way too young for me to be secretly proud and supportive of this sort of behavior."
Mr. and Mrs. Francis say they're now worried about their son's health, and not just because he recently ditched the training wheels on his Huffy and has been going off a lot more jumps in the driveway. "We're nervous about all the extra risks he's been taking lately, and we're hesitant to think he feels he's running out of time to experience all of these things," his mother confessed.
Mrs. Francis says she found what she believes to be a bucket list while digging through Jimmy's sock drawer, while claiming to be putting away laundry. "He [Jimmy] has already crossed off visiting the new park across town and retrieving the baseball he hit into Old Man Williams' yard last summer and was always too afraid to go get," she said, weeping. "I'm just terrified for the day when he finally builds up the courage to do a flip off the swing out back," she sobbed, pointing to the unchecked number three on the crumpled piece of paper in her hand.
While his parents claim he has quite the exceptional vocabulary for his age, when we asked Jimmy about the list in question, he simply replied, "Mama . . . dada," words typically considered cool and acceptable for a crowd many years his junior.
It wasn't until Jimmy began dressing beneath his age, wearing his cowboy pajamas all day long and even resorting back to Pull-Ups, that his parents knew they had to take drastic action. "We decided we needed to just sit down and have a talk with him, parent to child," said Jimmy's father. "We talked about growing older, and how we just wanted to make sure he didn't feel his best years were behind him. I even told him he still had puberty to look forward to, which is always an exciting time for any young man."
The Francis's say they're aware they may be overreacting, but they also say they don't want to completely ignore what might be an ominous warning. "We've taken our son to multiple specialists and had him tested for every terminal illness known to man," Mrs. Francis admitted, holding back more tears. "So far they haven't found anything, but we're not about to stop looking. Just last week one of the doctors noticed a peculiar discoloration on Jimmy's palms, but it turns out it was just blue crayon."
As of press time, the Francis's say they're preparing to cope with the sudden and tragic loss of their son, which they've narrowed down to be either from a freak Big Wheel accident, or choking on a piece of taffy, most likely sometime in the next six to eight years.