A few seconds of distraction is all it takes to lose your child in a public place. I can now join the list of moms, who I once mentally deemed as utterly careless . (How terribly judgmental of me) It’s taken me a week to get over the whole incident mentally and blog about it. It was awful – simply put, I lost Bandar for a good 5-7 minutes at a grocery store!
It was a perfect evening to start with – I picked her up from school and decided to hit up the grocery stores on the way home. She usually loves this and is super good , she waits patiently till I finish the “boring” store and then go to the ”fun” one with samples – Trader Joes.
We started at the “boring” one. She was sitting in the cart but made a fuss to get out and walk. So I helped her out and told her to stay with me. We were in the bread aisle at this point. I walked towards the veggies with her right behind me. I kept looking behind. Picking out broccoli, I saw she had entered the veggie aisle too and was maybe 5 feet behind me .I wondered about 2 heads of broccoli versus one and that decision obviously seemed to have taken me more than 15 seconds. Because when I looked up, Bandar was no where in site. Panic stricken I ran through the veggie aisle shouting her name. I ran to the aisle next to it as well. Other shoppers offered to help look for her. My biggest fear was she had left the store and gone on to the road. I ran up front to the check out again and asked one of the cashiers to announce her name saying she was in a yellow dress. I ran through about 5 aisles screaming her name again – imagining the worst situations – Kidnapping, walking out to the parking lot on her own etc.
I vaguely heard them announcing something on the speakers – figured they were calling her name. Instead a shopper or two told me she was up front and that they were calling out for me. I was crying by this time and rushed out to the front and saw her holding a cashier girl’s hand and she was handed over to me. She was smiling a small smile and seemed vaguely guilty but calm, I picked her up and smothered her with hugs and asked her where she was. Her version of it she lost me and couldn’t find me.That was all I got from my usually verbose child. Later the cashier told me a customer had found her wondering the store alone and brought her to the front. She had apparently answered with her name when asked. And then they called me. That’s it. I had so many thoughts about the way this played out – what if the customer had not been nice enough to bring her up front? Looks like my child had no concerns about going anywhere with strangers – she let the customer take her up front and had stood calmly holding the cashier’s hand. If anyone had told her they would take her to mommy, I have no doubt my child would have followed and left the store without any fuss or scene – awful to think about but its something I have to teach her quickly. We have read books about this exact situation – getting lost at a grocery store (!), not talking to strangers is another lesson we have spoken about. Anyway, in this case the strangers helped her, so how could I teach her whatever message I wanted to give her in my mixed up head about strangers? She’s too young for hypothetical situations when I tried in vain to walk her through a few? How could I have been stupid enough to lose her in the first place? What sort of a mom was I? I was so badly shaken by the whole thing for the rest of the evening and even the next few days to some extent. This is one of the family secrets that will never be told to my parents or inlaws –unless Bandar accidently bleats. I cannot deal with being judged or scolded here on top of the intense guilt.
Bandar will not be getting out of the cart till she is 7 at least at this point.And if we ever have two kids I will not be the brave mom out with both a grocery store.I am clearly incapable of the simple task.