A few seconds

7 Oct

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.

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12 Responses to “A few seconds”

  1. perspectivesandprejudices October 8, 2015 at 2:10 am #

    Don’t be so harsh on yourself. Like you said, it takes just a few seconds. Best to learn from the experience. Hugs! 🙂

    • popgoesthebiscuit October 8, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

      Thanks P&P. I am more or less okay now. Have to just learn and move on:)

  2. Bhavani October 8, 2015 at 3:28 am #

    Phew! I was so tensed reading it..those few seconds are enough to think about the worse. I am always always paranoid about going to these large stores and losing sight of my kids. Same with Parks with too many kids.

    But don’t be so hard on yourself. I am sure this small shock would make you and her extra careful.

    Sometimes I feel sad at the world we live in where we are made to think about the worse even if it for a few secs…

    Take care and cheer up!!

  3. popgoesthebiscuit October 8, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    Guess small shock was needed indeed. All better one week later , more or less.

  4. Kavs October 8, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    Great that you guys are alright – scary to even read…:(
    Hubby was to look after S two full days in NY while I went to office. All the time I kept worrying that he will lose her and I will kill myself. Very dramatic I know but that was my exact thought.

  5. srividhya October 8, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    Don’t get into guilt mode. It happened to me to one time park. The park was crowded and I have give way for some one and in that split sec vaandu went in some tunnel structure and I couldnt find him. Thats it. Went through the same thing. I know he will be there but but but…
    That’s why I stopped taking him to crowded park. In shopping mall / grocery I keep chatting with him. Parenting is difficult. sighhhhh

  6. Pepper October 10, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    Gosh, that is really scary! My heart would have totally stopped too. But, my heart also goes out to little Bandar who trustingly followed a stranger in the hope of being reunited with you. I feel so bad shattering that innocence and faith. But yeah.. totally know your concerns too.. sigh..

    PS – My mom has lost both me and my sis. I think this is something that a lot of parents get a taste of, at some point. So please don’t feel too guilty about it.

  7. Uma October 11, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    You should relax and not worry too much.

    Actually I lose my 5 year old son all the time. He is one of those really high energy kids who cannot be still even for a second. I tell everyone who asks me if we have been to any theme parks that I will lose him atleast a few times and that is why we havent taken him to any of the theme parks yet.

    Most of my shopping is done online and we try not to take him to bigger stores like target as much as possible. I try to insert mesages in books i read to him where there are kids crying with things like, ” see he wasnt holding moms hand and is now lost”. He understands it at the moment but forgets it when he has to exercise it.

    It does get stressful when we go somewhere because most times the burden of watching him every single second falls on me as my husband is a photo enthusiast. But i guess having a kid like him has made us not so stressed out parents because it wouldnt be possible to go anywhere with him if we worry too much.

    It would be good to teach kids parents phone just in case.

  8. tandooripanipurilife October 13, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    Woah that’s scary…

    When I was little I got lost in New Delhi, my parents were so scared that they gave my picture to news channels. The punjabi family that found me called my parents seeing the phone number on news channel. By the time my parents came I played cricket with their son and ate big bowl of kheer at their place. I dint even realise that situation could have become worst. As a kid we dont know whats right n whats wrong for us😕

  9. Arch October 14, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Don’t beat yourself up Pop! I know it’s extremely scary to even imagine the situation. We only need to be glad that they are nice people who do offer help in times of need.

  10. Greenboochi October 15, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    Hugs Pop. I know I am coming here late and I am hoping you are feeling a bit better. Pls dont be so harsh on yourself, it was only a metter of seconds- you are an awesome mom. I was so tensed reading through the part you were searching for her and can not even imagine what you must have gone through. Thank God that the stranger dropped her at the counter. Big hugs Pop.

  11. Greenboochi October 15, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    Just thought of sharing this with you… when I was about 2 or 3 years old, I went along with some “akka” who was going to fetch water in a borewell in another locality altogether. Amma would have been busy some work at home that she didnt even realize I took a tumbler from the kitchen before going along with this akka (who must have been 7 or 8 years old). For the kid in me, it seemed very interesting and I was gone for about more than an hour. In the meantime amma ran around the entire locality trying to find me shouting my name. Thankfully this akka brought me back to my place and I had that steel tumbler half filled with water it seems. I very vaguely remember this incident but amma till date carries the guilt of losing me. Hugs again. I am sure Bandar would not even remember anything about this when she grows up.

    In today’s world, no level of safety is enough for our kids. We need to be all the more vigilant given the circumstances. Try talking to Bandar, we can only hope that she understands which is right or wrong at this tender age.

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