Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An outing to the mall

I am cross posting an excerpt from my personal blog today.

After a romp at the playplace, we headed to the foodcourt for lunch. It was this point that things started to deteriorate.

The line was long and I stood there for quite a while trying to pacify a Clara who saw other people were eating while she was not. She sat crying in her stroller while frantically making the sign for "more food, more food" to everyone around her. That girl is passionate about eating. Can't imagine where she gets that from. By the time I finally ordered our food, I was frazzled and irritated. I stepped aside to wait and turned around to ask Ben to hold his milk.


I didn't see him. The panic wasn't immediate. I glanced around expecting to see him standing just out of view behind another stroller. But after a moment of searching my stomach turned upside down. He was nowhere to be found near the McDonalds or any of the attached restaurants. I realized I couldn't remember exactly when the last time I had noticed him standing beside me in line. I had been preoccupied with his sister. I grabbed Clara's stroller, with her still whimpering, and started combing the area while calling his name. A minute ticked by, and then two, and suddenly I was in a full out frenzy. It was the first time in my life as a parent that I actually feared someone might have taken one of my children.

And then I spotted him...sitting contentedly on one of those mechanical cars that you feed coins into. The whole episode couldn't have lasted more than 3 or 4 minutes. But still my relief was consuming. I can't imagine what it must feel like to have your child missing for an hour, or a lifetime. Tears stung my eyes while I ran and scooped him up hugging and scolding him in intervals, while he squirmed in confusion at my manic behavior.

I headed back to McDonalds while pushing Clara in the stroller with one hand while keeping a pincer grip on Ben with the other. We picked up our food and I was forced to let go of Ben to carry it. Giving Ben a stern command to hold on to the stroller we started shuffling, mom balancing bags, cups and stroller and attached boy, towards the mob of people and tables at the center of the foodcourt. At this point, Clara managed to finally wiggle her way free of her stroller and slide halfway out onto the floor. I, of course didn't notice this until I started running over her. I thought about it for just a second and transferred our food and drinks into the stroller, picked up a writhing, wailing baby and continued the awkward migration towards the relative sanctuary of food and seats.

Once we were seated the children settled happily in to a greasy munch-fest . They had failed to substitute apples for fries in Ben's Happy Meal as I had requested, but I certainly wasn't going to attempt the trek back to rectify the situation so fries it was. The weekids at least, were thrilled with their fried windfall.


*pab said...

Bless your heart!

Grandmoo said...

My heart goes out to you! My mom had one of these for me and my brother (over half a century ago...can it be?)....Nowadays they're unobtrusive. Probably lose a bunch of points for many of you, but they do have nice color.

karen said...

1 WMP for losing Ben.

-1 WMP for having the presence of mind to take Clara with you on the search.

1 WMP for terrorizing Ben with love upon reunion.

1 WMP for running over Clara.

- 1 WMP for not screaming "THANK YOU!" and eating all the fries yourself.

Ashley Long said...

I have two leashes. One for each kid. I use them all the time. So what if I look like I am walking dogs, at least I can keep them from running in front of a car or some weirdo snatching them.