19 March 2010

Crying in Clarks

I sent a tweet this morning. I had no idea how prophetic I was being.

I did cry in Clarks today, but not at the price of the shoes.

Last year I wrote about what happened one afternoon at playgroup when I couldn't find Presley. Today all of those feelings came flooding back.

I had taken the boys into Mothercare World in their double buggy (the one I keep in the back of the car, the one that makes it difficult to fit my supermarket shopping in the boot), but had let Presley out to play in a Little Tykes car.

After a while we all went to the Clarks concession to get the boys' feet measured. Presley went first. Good news, there was at least another month in his Winter shoes. Next we measured Cash's feet, his shoes were fine too. Result!

I looked up and Presley had gone. I spun round and scanned the room, he wasn't in Clarks. I started calling him and ran out into the main store, fully expecting him to be back in the car, or looking at the toys in Early Learning Centre. He wasn't there. I couldn't see him.

I shouted his name and started running around the store, handbag and younger child abandoned with the Clarks assistant.

I was panicking. Oh my God. Not again. PRESLEY! PRESLEY!

Another mother, we'd smiled at each other earlier, grabbed my arm and pointed me in the right direction.  'He's over there', she said.

Presley was standing still, in amongst the cots, a look of terror on his face. I ran over, picked him up and carried him back to his brother. Presley started crying, he knew he'd done something wrong. He knew he'd been lost.

I reminded him that he should always stay where he can see mummy and where mummy can see him. Then I cried. I'm crying now. I feel sick. There is nothing as terrifying as the thought that you could lose your child. 

When we got home I taught the boys a new game. They now know what to do if we're out and they can't see me. They shout 'MUMMY' at the tops of their voices. I hope they never need to do it for real, but just in case we'll be playing the 'I'm lost' game on a regular basis.



  1. Oh no honey, that is truly terrifying. I have been there when I couldn't find my three year old for about two seconds when he was standing behind me. I know silly but just for that split second your heart stops and panic sets in. The lost game is a great idea, I am going to do that with my two as soon as I get in from work tonight. Great post. xxx

  2. Absolutely terrifying. I lost Amy in Mothercare World once too, and this episode of yours has taken me right back there. Keep up with that game, eventually they will realise it isn't a game but a very important lesson.

    CJ xx

  3. It is one of the most terrifying things that can happen. Marie used to walk off like that and hide between the clothes on the rails! I used to nearly crawl to see if I could see her legs.

  4. Oh god hun I cant imagine what that must have been like! Its my worst fear! Thankfully J normally is far too cautious and shy to wander off as he's scared shitless of strangers which is thankful. I just pray he never does that, no doubt he will!

  5. My heart goes out to you, this is partly why we only frequent one shoe shop. It is a local chain and there is an airplane in the centre on the shop for the boys to climb in to and out of.

    I do the shouting, I remember this age well with my two and the gap you have.

    I am so glad that it turned out OK

  6. How horrible. The I'm lost game sounds like a great idea though. Will have to try it with the boy as he's always running off.

  7. Oh how terrible - I'm glad you found him sage and sound. I haven't found myself in this scenario yet but I know I will one day and it will be terrifying.

  8. oh so terrifying!!! There is nothing worse than sick panic feeling of not knowing where your child is. It is a good idea that you've taught them to shout mummy, i think i will teach that to my girls as they like to wander off too. xxx

  9. Oh bless you, it's everyones worst nightmare isn't it? I'm so pleased you found him safe and sound - I bet you're more traumatised than him by the whole situation....

    After reading this I just taught my kids the I'm lost game x x

  10. What a great idea your game is. I have experienced that sick feeling and blind panic once in Tesco, i hope I never do again, I hope you never do either.xx

  11. Awwww, that made me upset for you. I thought I had lost the toddler in our garden the other week...we have big garden and ponds ( though they are fenced very well) but that feeling..that panic. I thought maybe someone had taken him. My heart is pounding as I remember so I bet you feel upset. Just pleased he was found and was okay. xx

  12. That's very scary, you must have been in total panic. I'm glad it all ended well, but I think teaching your boys the new game was a great idea. I always used to talk to my girls about what they could do if we got separated when we were out. x

  13. Crying there with you! How absolutely awful but thank goodness he was fine :o)

  14. Horrible, I once lost my four year old in a busy motorway service station when he was 18 months old. He was missing about 20 seconds and it was the longest 20 seconds of my life. Terrifying.

  15. Scary scary. I lost Geekygirl in the aquarium. Just a minute of lack of attention. Its so hard with two. So glad he was right there, phew. It happens to everyone.

  16. Oh my goodness that is my worst fear. I have yet to experience it but I can totally imagine your panic/fear/relief. I am going to start playing the I'm lost game with my daughter IMMEDIATELY!

  17. How scary for you all, am sure the game will help prevent this happening again for you x

  18. Last summer we were in a park and a child in our group went out of sight. His mum spotted him just as a man was opening the main gate to let him through. She ran over and asked what he was doing and the man said 'I asked him if he was lost and he said no.' - I know, what a fool! We have taught all of the kids to answer questions like: are you lost/where's your mum/are you ok?

  19. Oh no! You poor things. So glad you found him more quickly this time and the 'I'm lost' game is a great idea. Hopefully you won't need to play it for real again!

  20. My kids are a bit older and I have taught them if they are lost in a shop to:

    1. Stand still if you realise you are lost and shout MUMMY!! really loudly.
    2. Never leave the shop, Mummy won't leave either till I find you.
    3. Go to a till point and tell a person who works there you are lost.

    There is nothing worse than that feeling of rising panic whne you can't find your child. Horrible. (( hugs))

  21. There is nothing worse than that sick prickly panic when you lose them is there? Pink is an escape artiste, and has caused us a couple of moments of true terror. Thanks to your comments I suddenly feel slightly less dreadful knowing I'm not alone.
    My worst was when at 20 months old she escaped to the road at the front of our house, and a neighbour scooped her up - 3 houses down, in the road, headed towards a blind bend... *shudder*

  22. Oh that panic is the worst in the world, isn't it? My daughter never wandered off so when I lost her at the checkout at Tesco I was apoplectic!! They were fantastic; the till girl immediately informed her manager who informed security who would not let anyone with a child leave the store until she was found. She'd hidden in a trolley locker as a game. I cried too!

  23. Susan, it's just horrible. I try not to take my eyes off him when we're out, but it only takes a secind for them to run off x

    CJ, there are too many temptations in Mothercare World! x

    Foodie Mummy, oh how awful for you, but a great idea to look out for little legs!

    Hayley, J sounds very sensible. Presley is really outgoing, especially with pensioners!

    The Mad House, thank you. I should have strapped him back in the buggy. I will next time! x

  24. Glowstars, it can't to teach them the I'm Lost game x

    Photopuddle, it's the worst feeling in the world, but luckily it didn't last long x

    Amy, I don't know how you keep track of your girls, they must be good little things x

    Magic Mummy, yes, it took me longer than him to get over it, although he was quite clingy for the rest of the day x

    Lorraine, yes, let's hope we never have to feel that again x

  25. Chic Mama, I'm so glad you found your toddler safe and sound. It's the worst feeling. x

    Not Supermum, yes, it's definitely time to teach them what to do. I just hope we never need to do it for real x

    Slim Lens, aw, bless you. He wasn't gone long, but it was long enough x

    Emily, oh how awful, services are so busy x

    Geekymummy, you only have to take your eye off them for a second. x

  26. Tiddlyompompom, I really hope you never experience, but it is best to be prepared x

    B, I hope so! x

    Kat, oh that's shocking. Thank goodness he was spotted. Those are good questions. I'll add them to the I'm lost game x

    Noble Savage, I hope so too x

    Juicytots, I know that you know how it feels. Those are great rules. I'll use those too x

  27. Laura, oh thank goodness she was okay. x

    Working Mum, I bet you did, you must have been beside yourself. That's very quick of the Tesco manager to stop children leaving until she was found x

  28. Gosh, that's frightening. Makes your heart stop and the world stand still for those few minutes until you find them again. Next time you'll have a send a really nice tweet like "A stranger gives me £100 and tells me keep it!"

  29. How awful and frightening - I've mislaid Toddlergirl in our garden and it makes my heart stop

    Great idea about the lost game - think we'll have to borrow that

  30. Rosie, brilliant idea. Maybe I'll have to start predicting the future in my tweets! x

    Muddling Along, it's a horrible feeling. We're playing the game every day! x

  31. How awful at least he was safe!!
    I still remember getting lost in C&A when I was little (a long time ago) - I hid in the middle of the clothes rails then couldn't find mum again - one of my earliest memories and not a good one!

  32. Lynn, it's just the worst thing for both parent and child x


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