From Now On Her Name Is Get Back Here

The past two Saturdays shopping with Miss A has been anything but pleasurable. Until she’s old enough to drive herself to the store I’m considering doing all my errand running without her. Or velcroing her to my leg. Or hooking our dog’s leash to her belt loop.

Last Saturday on the way home from my mom’s we drove by the local Goodwill and I decided to kill some time and browse around with the girls. I bought a cute pair of appliqued jeans and a boutique looking t-shirt for Miss C, some sort of talking Diego doodle pad for Miss A (which I wiped down a million times with antibacterial wipes as soon as we got home), and a Cranium Hullabaloo game all for less than $20.

Miss A was starting to play hide in the racks of clothing which is the international parenting signal for “let’s get the heck out of Dodge.” I headed toward the front of the store with both girls following close behind. We approached the cashier and I glanced back and Miss C was behind me but Miss A was gone. I called out her name and started walking back toward the girls’ clothes area. I called out her name again. Still no answer and then Miss C started calling out for her. Then someone told me they saw a little girl with long brown hair near the TVs on the other side of the store so I half ran, half walked with Miss C and my heart sunk when I spotted the little girl. It wasn’t Miss A.

Now I was standing on the precipice of panic. Miss C and I circled back to the front of the store and I told the cashier I had lost my 3-year-old. A woman in line asked what Miss A looked like and said she would watch the front door while we circled the store again and the cashier made an announcement over the store intercom system for Miss A to come to the front of the store. The man checking out at the cash register made a comment about the store needing a lost child policy.

My optimistic dismissal of the situation started to disintegrate. Nothing against Goodwill, but sometimes the cast of shoppers is an interesting lot. My heart was beating rapidly. What if she was REALLY GONE? And then, thank God, Miss C spotted Miss A hiding under the racks of girls’ clothes where we’d been just minutes before, sitting and playing with her Diego toy. (Diego you’re supposed to be a helper, not an accomplice!)

On Saturday we ventured to Dick’s Sporting Goods because Miss C needed new soccer cleats. As soon as we started browsing the shoes Miss A took off through the ladies clearance section, bolting through clothes. And then my dad walked up unexpectedly to witness Miss A’s shenanigans (I had told him where we’d be but he was on the other side of town when I’d talked to him on the phone) and caught her red handed. At least I now have another witness who will vouch for me if I decide to velcro Miss A to my leg next time we’re out shopping.

18 comments

  1. Amy says:

    This is always so scary. We lost Shark in a Wal-Mart in FL in January. We walked past the toy section and he stopped to look at something (says he) and then he was gone (we were gone, says he). P and I were going all up and down that side of the store actually yelling his name and no answer, when I spotted him in a check-out line!

    He said that is what the safety classes at school said to do if you got lost in a store. Get in line and tell the cashier and have them page your parents.

    So we were torn between telling him “Way to listen up and know what to do!” and “If you ever do this again we’ll strangle you if we survive the heart attacks.”

    Amys last blog post..Blissdom 09: Nashville Shopping

  2. melissa says:

    i have 5 kids. i SO know your pain. i refuse to shop when my 5 y/o is along. because it turns into a hide and seek, temper tantrum fest that ends with me throwing him over my shoulder and red-faced running out of the store. sigh.

    melissas last blog post..Comment on U And I And Don

  3. Bluegrass Mama says:

    I still remember losing our son in Casual Corner when he was about 3 or 4. I found him in the dressing room, looking under doors (for me, I assume!).

    Bluegrass Mamas last blog post..Tongue-Tied

  4. Kalli says:

    I feel for you. I lost my son in a shopping mall when he was about 5. I was beginning to panic when we spotted him playing outside the shop with some toys. Scary, scary stuff.

    Kallis last blog post..The zoo

  5. Heather says:

    I am so glad your situation turned out to be just a frustration and not a child in serious danger. Our local GW had an abduction just before Christmas and it turned out to be a parental custody battle thing, but ever since then I feel like I need to be much more careful shopping there with the children. There are some really ‘interesting’ customers there, like you say!

    Heathers last blog post..The Simple Woman’s Daybook

  6. Midwest Mom says:

    There is nothing more god-awful frightening than thinking you’ve lost your child at the store. My son did that to me—once—and I just about cried when he popped out from beneath the clothing racks with a smile on his face.

    I was honest about how it made me feel (he was about 4 at the time) and he could see that I was serious. Thank goodness I have never had that problem with him again.

    Hope your heart is now beating properly again and that any grey hairs that may have resulted from the longest few minutes of your life are no longer noticeable!

    – Julia

  7. Tracey says:

    I have recently heard the 3’s were worse than the 2’s (not good, since our son is about to turn 3 and the 2’s were uneventful.)

    He has always been compliant and stayed right by us in stores. Until last month, when he decided running ahead half the length of the mall was allowed. Or today when I was trying to get in the hospital door with our baby in the stroller and he ran through the automatic door as I was getting my purse and handing the car off to the valet. Not good, not good at all.

    Traceys last blog post..One Year Later…

  8. Jennifer says:

    Yikes! I hate that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. I won’t take my 4 year old shopping for entirely different reasons, leaving them at home works much better for me. Glad she is OK.

    Jennifers last blog post..Monday Menus

  9. Michelle Smiles says:

    Hate. Those. Moments. There is no worse feeling. Ugh. And when I spot my kiddo, I’m torn between beating her within an inch of her life for scaring me like that or hugging her out of relief. Because we are in public, I go with the latter.

    Michelle Smiless last blog post..Tessa Tuesday Take Two

  10. Rachel Black says:

    I have 5 kids like Melissa & I have found nothing more effective than using reins. I don’t mean those wrist straps between Mum & Child but full round the body over the shoulder harness type.
    Kids quickly realise their restriction & that the only freedom comes from learning not to stray from you.
    I used a wrist strap looped through the reins to my wrist so the child has some scope to walk because the supplied strap is usually very short.
    Peace of mind for you & safety for your kid ;o)

  11. mamatulip says:

    I was checking out at the grocery store the other day when Oliver up and ran out the doors. Just like that. I nearly lost my mind.

  12. Amy says:

    Oh my goodness! How scary! I hate when my kids do that to me. I now understand why parents have those leashes for their kids.

    There has been a recent abduction in our town of women from our local Hobby Lobby. If I come up missing, will you please make them report me on the loud speaker? 🙂 Pretty please?

    Amys last blog post..Day 23-24: The New York Edition

  13. Jennifer Nobile Colgan says:

    Ugh, I’ve been there and I know EXACTLY how you feel. That has to be the worst feeling in the world. I used to “tsk, tsk” people who had their kids on “leashes”, but now I can totally understand it

  14. Deb - Mom of 3 Girls says:

    Ooh, velcro – now there’s an idea… I might have to try that one too – Becca seems to think that walking into a store is a challenge to see how far she away from me she can get… 🙂

  15. Mrs. Q says:

    Wow…glad that she turned up again! I thought all stores had to have a lost child policy..isn’t it called Code Adam? How scary!

  16. Mikeman says:

    I know exactly what you mean! i am a single Dad of twin boys age 5. I am at wits end! I have refused to take them just about anywhere. When they are in stores they run up and down the aisles screaming, getting into items, I/e opening toy boxes and playing with the toys for sale. Or screaming “Dad, Dad,” at the top of their voices. I thank God most of the time have other understanding parents that either bring them to me or reassure them your Dad is right there, and they point to me. Sometimes I have people whom give me dirty looks etc. I am strongly thinking of a child restraining leash? I am so worried as a single Dad that they will take custody from me and give them back to Mom? I really try as a parent. I give them the best life. My life is centered around them while they are young. They took them from Mom because it was a bad situation then. Mom is in their life but it is still better they are with me. I have had them since they were eighteen months old. I need help though.

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