Dec 16, 2011

Argh! Or Calling the Cops On My Four Year Old

STOMP! made an appearance at The Children's Museum today, and since our year pass was about to expire it seemed like a good time to make one last trip. These things always seem like a good idea in theory. Upon arrival we saw FIVE full size school buses. Yes, FIVE. And a news van. Hoo Boy.

Well, we went inside and got ourselves settled for the show. It turns out our bit of carpet was vacant for a reason; the sun was particularly blinding in that location. Oh well. I figured that fact fit in with the five full sized school buses out front. The Boy was so excited to see STOMP! since I'd been showing him YouTube clips. While we were discussing this, Zsa Zsa managed to sneak off. Museum staff were alerted of her disappearance and after a few minutes we located her, 5 feet from where I'd been sitting. Obviously she wasn't there the whole time but I was glad to have her back, at any rate, regardless of where she'd been.

The kids and I had a repeat of the conversation in the car on the drive over; namely if you can't see Mom, Mom can't see you and THAT IS NOT OK. Stay where you can see Mom or when you are found, we will all leave immediately! If only I'd left with them after that mini-disappearance. It was but a foreshadowing of things to come. (dum dum DUMMMM!)

After the show (which kind of sucked, by the way. Even the STOMP! guy said so...) we went upstairs to play. AGAIN I said, "if you'd like to leave this room, come tell Mommy first!" The kids did pretty well at first, but when it was time to move to a different exhibit, The Boy said he'd like to go to the bathroom. Well, that's just fine, let me get your sister and we'll go. By the time I got her collected, The Boy was no where in site. I figured he REALLY had to go and had high tailed it to the restroom so Zsa and I made our (laborious) way there. No Boy. Hmmm. Well I'm like 40 million months pregnant and I was standing IN the restroom so it's not like I could pass up the opportunity and Zsa, regardless of the fact that she's back in diapers, likes using the mini potty and sink so she needed to go, too. She also felt the need to strip from the waist down, including her socks so it took a while to get her put back together. The Boy was still missing.

Zsa and I combed the third floor looking for my missing spawn. We alerted museum staff. Nothing. More nothing. On a hunch I took Zsa and we looked through every exhibit on all three floors. We checked back in with museum staff. Nothing. I walked the entire museum AGAIN. More nothing. At this point it had been 30 full minutes since I'd seen him last.

Now, we go to the Children's Museum almost weekly. My kids are VERY comfortable with that building and go missing regularly, but I'm usually able to locate them within two or three minutes, and they have NEVER strayed from the floor on which I first lost sight of them. They have their favorite exhibits and it's easy to find them. Until today.

When we reached the 30 minute mark I told the employee in charge of the search that it was time to call the police. I'm not an alarmist when it comes to my missing children. I know they are usually playing somewhere completely oblivious to my searching for them. But half an hour in a rapidly emptying museum? That was pushing it, even for me. The employee said that I could talk to his supervisor about calling in extra help. My response to that?
"You can call whomever you like to talk it over, I'm calling the police NOW. It's been 30 minutes." I had my finger hoovering over the second 1 in 9-1-1 when his radio crackled and the freaking gift shop reported having found my son.

He was THREE ever loving stories away from where he'd first disappeared. In the year we've been attending the museum, we have NEVER EVEN ENTERED the gift shop. That's a can of over-priced worms I haven't felt the need to open.

You might imagine that I felt all kinds of relieved to have found my son but the only emotion I've felt since the whole thing started is anger. I'm so MAD at my kids. "Stay where you can see Mom" is simple. It's direct. There's not a lot of ambiguity with that statement. Both kids are totally capable of following it. Both kids completely ignored me and made me waddle all over this freaking museum we only go to because I'm trying to be a good mom. I have a pair of THE most ungrateful children on planet earth and I'm really REALLY sick of being their mother. How did I end up being totally taken for granted by my kids?

Anyway, it turns out The Boy had taken the elevator to the first floor to use the bathroom we normally use on our way in, and then had decided to stay down there and browse the gift shop without his mother. I am glad we didn't have to call the cops and issue an Amber Alert, but Sheez Louise. If I don't have an extra three gray hairs from this experience, it's not because my kids didn't try.

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