Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Losing John Michael (for 5 minutes!)

Last Saturday, we visited the California State Fair.

Do you remember this photo, below, from last year?  It was my blog header for quite a while.  This year, the bear was too hot (Greta was tough) and it was painted... it's no longer gold.  It's funny, Greta looks so much older now and last year,  John Michael didn't even need shoes yet!

The State Fair is something we look forward to every year.

This year, however, something very scary happened.

After lunch, we went inside the building where all the County exhibits were displayed and somehow John Michael escaped and wandered away. 

We LOST John Michael! 

I was the first to notice he was missing and immediately sent the big kids and my husband in different directions to find him. The scary part is that he won't respond verbally when we call him. At home, he may come walking over, or turn his head, but in a huge exhibition hall, there's no way he'll come to us if something catches his eye and forget about telling someone his name or our names.

We found Security and just as we finished describing him, a female Security Officer came walking down the stairs with John Michael in her arms. He climbed stairs to the 2nd floor, which none of us had even thought to check! My heart was racing, my senses on high-alert, but I did remain fairly calm and collected.  Once he was in my arms, however, I cried... HARD!  We'd failed him.  We'd failed to protect him.  We took our eyes off him for a split-second.  It was the worst 5 mintues of my life!  This is how kids drown...  I thought to myself. Thank God he didn't get outside of the building!

I've always thought child "leashes" were strange, but now I can see why some parents resort to them. I'm not there, yet, and I pray this never happens again.  But when we got home, I ordered Velcro ID bracelets (Vital ID Inside) for John Michael and Greta as well as rubber bracelets with their names imprinted from another company.  I don't know which he'll prefer wearing (hopefully it won't be a struggle!)  I'm not risking our kids being unidentified if we should get separated again. For me, the Fair was over. We went home, everyone took a much-needed rest, and Doug took the older 3 back to the Fair after dinner for rides and fireworks. 

But let me say... everything was fine before John Michael wandered off, which was around 2:30. When we first arrived at 10 am, we headed to the Youth Art Exhibition Hall where Nic picked up his 2nd place ribbon for his oil pastel snake eye. You can see the snake eye over his left shoulder hanging in the display case. That is my favorite part of the Fair... seeing kids' art. So much talent in one room.  We even got two free tickets and free parking because of his award. Nice little "bonus".

John Michael wasn't too interested in touching the baby alligator...

The last photo I took of John Michael and the kids before... you know...

Thank God he made it back to us safely and quickly!
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  1. That must have been very scary for you. Little monkey! I believe you can get alarm systems online which you can take out with you, and if the child gets too far away, the alarm would sound to alert the parents. Maybe you could try one of those. I think this could be in our future too ;)

  2. I can only imagine Monica...the panic, the fear, the disappointment. We've all had those moments and I'm sure that with our special babies the fear might be even more. Big hugs! Beautiful family you have.

  3. Ack! Monica, I would have felt the same way. SO glad he was ok... I lost my brother Michael once at Funderland. For 5 minutes I was in a complete panic, then I turned the corner and there he was riding the train. He was none the wiser and couldn't figure out why I was hugging him so tightly and bawling. Scariest thing in the world.

  4. this just hurts my heart...I am sooo thankful you found him!! smiles

  5. I can only imagine how scary this moment was for you...glad that everything turned out ok!


  6. Oh, that is scary! We lost our oldest at the beach one year. I was completely panicked.
    I am so glad that everything was ok in then end!

  7. Oh my, Monica, isn't that our WORST fear??!! I can only imagine what was running through your mind. I am so happy that JM was found quickly and returned to you safely.

  8. Oh how scarey, I would of cried as well. We actually found Sam a really really cute turtle backpack up in Jackson Hole that has a little leash. I hate to have to use it and who knows if I will stick with it but as soon as Sam starts walking we are going to try and see what happens. I am so glad you found him and that other then that little episode you had a wonderful time.

  9. How terrifying! I have a leash and used it on my first child (a runner). I will likely use it on my little ones too. It gives me peace of mind and doesn't bother them at all!

  10. So glad you found him safe!!! How scarey! I lost Raist in a mall once when he was two...longest five minutes of my life!

  11. Oh My goodness!!! I can't imagine the fear you must have felt!!! I am glad he was and is safe now! I have to say that from your title my mind went into a medical emergency thought. I am glad all is well!!! and a Great Job for your oldest :))

  12. Thank goodness you found him safe and sound! John once walked out of our house. I didn't even know he could open the door. One minute he was watching Blues Clues, looking like he was about to fall asleep, I went into the playroom to talk to Katherine, the next thing I knew my neighbor had brought John home. Needless to say, I have now learned I need to double lock the door. I know that fear though, it grips you. I'll have to order some of those bracelets too. I must admit, I still put John in the stroller when he really could be walking. Just so scared of him wandering off.

  13. oh that is terrifying, Monica! I am so scared of that happening to us. It's hard to keep tabs on everyone ALL the happens to the best of us. Those braceletts are a GREAT idea!

  14. So scary, Monica, I can only imagine how you felt. The terror! I am so glad he was found relatively quickly, but that must have been the longest 5 minutes of your life. I can imagine the emotions afterwards. I am glad you ordered the bracelets, saw them on Big Tent, and am going to order me some too for both kiddo's. BIG HUGE CONGRATS to Nic for his 2nd place in the art contest. I am so impressed, I loves seeing the artwork in person at your home. He has a bright future!!

  15. We lost our super shy child at the zoo for a whole 5 minutes. She was too scared of strangers to ask for help. That's when we discovered child safety tattoos. They are easier for us than the bracelets which get taken off or chewed. Hope this helps