I lost Andy at the store yesterday. It was a seriously terrifying 3 1/2 minutes.
Let me explain. I took the kids to Bed, Bath and Beyond yesterday afternoon to return a tablecloth I had bought earlier. Despite measuring my table first, I still walked away with the wrong one and I wanted one of those awesome new microfiber ones that seriously repel moisture, including milk, juice and probably vomit. Because Bjorn was home "working" and it was rainy, I decided to head next door to DSW Shoe Warehouse to try to fnd a new pair of black loafers that I have been on the hunt for for months.
I was carrying Meg and Andy was walking along with me. The set-up in the shoe store is probably 20 aisles of waist high display tables, just high enough to conceal a four year old. I didn't think it would be so hard to go in there -- Meg isn't walking so I figured I could just plop her down and have Andy entertain her while I tried a few pairs of shoes. Wrong, on so many levels.
First off, the set-up in the store was like a huge obstacle course to Andy. He wanted to climb on all the benches in between the aisles and generally be four. Meg -- while not walking -- wanted to stand and pull the shoes out. She also wanted to crawl everywhere and pull down the floor mirrors. All that combined with not being able to find anything (seriously, black loafers with real heels, how hard is that?) was frustrating.
We'd been there about 10 minutes, slowly going row to row when I realized Andy wasn't behind me talking all of a sudden. I waited about 30 seconds, figuring he was right there, then when I called his name and he was gone. I started to retrace my steps, even with the Squirmy One. I started calling his name, nothing....Panic.
I went to the back of the store, the clearance section where I nice lady said she'd seen a little boy. "Little boy? Blue hat? He was right here...Wait, he was just right here..." I looked in the bathrooms (right there) and didn't see him. Then came back and another lady and clerk dragged him to me. Finally. I think the whole scene took about 3 1/2 minutes, but damn was I scared. I was already going to John Walsh and seeing how all that could happen.
As I sit him down to catch my breath and calm him down, I thank the ladies and start to talk to about what to do if that even happens again. Then as if my own terror and panic and guilt wasn't enough, a lady comes over and tells me I need a stroller. "I'm not getting in your business, but..." Ugh.
I thought about it later and 1) I usually don't go to these kinds of stores without a stroller, 2) most stores without a stroller I have a shopping cart where I can corral both of them, 3) I need to work on our lost management/how to not talk to strangers strategy. Ideas?