I lost Autumn last night. For almost 5 minutes. I think it was 5 minutes, I am not sure, it seemed like much longer.
I did a trial class at the Little Gym, because I wanted to see how she would like their Gym/Ballet/Tap class. (I have actually already found her a ballet school, but I thought it'd be fun to check out.)
Well, Autumn has a BAD, bad habit of running off. I have told her NUMEROUS times, you need to always be in Mommy, Daddy, etc. sight. If you need to go somewhere out of sight, you must ask a grownup to go with you.
I have had a couple of bad instances with her running off, but I thought she was getting better. I was wrong. At least in the other instances I could still see her.
I was talking to the Little Gym lady, Brian and Nathan were right next to me. Autumn was running around the lobby, sort of playing with another girl or two. The Little Gym is in a mall on the 2nd floor, they have a door they usually keep shut, but it was open.
I keep a very good eye on her, but in a horrible second, she slipped out of the Little Gym. Yes, she ran out into the mall. I ran out to look for her, and another Mom (inside the Little Gym by the door) told me she saw her run into Macy's. I was SO mad (I know its not her job BUT STILL) she did not tell me my daughter RAN OUT of the Little Gym, didn't stop, and kept running into Macy's. I mean, she's 3!!! I would have stopped her, my kid or not.
So, I run out into the mall. I don't see a single trace of her. And, seriously, she was not gone that long, I DO keep a very good eye on her because of her running off problem. I was HOPING she was in Macy's, because the Mom said she was, but what if she ran the other way into the main part of the mall?
I panicked. There were so many stores, another turn/hallway to the mall. A HUGE steep escalator she could have fallen down. Brian ran into Macy's and frantically searched for her. I ran up and down the mall quickly a few stores down and back up to try to find her. I couldn't find her so I ran back into the Little Gym and yelled for them to call security. I was so afraid she'd had gone too far, that I would NEVER find her in this HUGE mall. I was also glad we were on the second floor so that she could not get outside. But, still, what if someone snatched her? It was TOO much to think about, so I asked for help. As she was talking to security, I was explaining what she was wearing, Brian called me. This was a good 5 minutes after she was missing.
She was STILL in Macy's, running up and down the womens clothing racks. Smiling. Not even realizing what she was doing. She saw Brian and kept running. When he finally caught her she was panting from running so hard.
I was so mad at her when I caught up to them. I did make her cry by telling her running off is NOT ok, what could have happened, how she could have been kidnapped or hurt or lost. How scared I was. Nathan was freaking out, too, Mommy we lost sissy? What do we do? It was BAD.
Autumn doesn't even know her full name. Or her phone number. She knows she is Auttie. I am going to make it a point she learns her full name and phone number soon. And, we are going to have several more talks about this running off, including with her school when she starts in 2 weeks. I am really considering buying an ID card for her, because she is so bad about this... I thought I had kept the best eye possible on her, I didn't. And, I blame myself, too.
This was the scariest Mommy moment I have had yet.