...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Scare At The Bookstore

One thing I work hard on with my kids is what to do if they get lost in public places, or if strangers try to touch them. I hammered this into Xavier's head when he was 2, and had him recite it back to me at random, like pop quizzes. He was always able to pipe up in his tiny voice and tell me word for word our rules:

When Lost:
*STAY where you are!!! Don't run off in panic!
*Yell for Mommy or Daddy
*Yell again if you dont hear us
*Find an adult, in uniform if possible, and tell them your Mommy is missing. Tell them our names, and tell them Mommy has a red stripe in her hair if you are with me.

If A Stranger tries to touch/grab you:
*Scream as loud as you can "THIS IS NOT MY DADDY/MOMMY!! HELP!"
*Kick, bite, scratch, anything you can to get away

Yet, for some reason, no matter how many times I go  over this (or any direction, really) with Ashe, when I ask him what I said his default response is "I dunno". If pressed hard, he'll repeat my directions, so I know he hears, but getting him to repeat it back is like trying to make cooked noodles stand up straight.

A few weeks ago, my fear about him not getting it came true.

Ashe, Soren, and I stopped at B&N one morning, to grab a book for Xavier. While there ashe wanted to play with the train table set up in the kids section. I agreed, motioned to a book rack 5 feet away, and said I would be right there with Soren. He nodded his head and went to play.

I sat down on the floor and for a few minutes watched Ashe happily play with other kids. Then Soren saw some Dora books on the rack, and I turned my head away to try and stop him from decimating them.

60 seconds.

It took 60 seconds of my attention turned from one child to another, for Ashe to look up, not see me, and race to the front of the bookstore looking for me. He didn't utter a sound. He just panicked. Everything I had tried to teach him went


The next thing I know I am hearing my son sobbing, NOT from the train table, but from further away, coming closer. An employee of the store comes around the corner, my 3 yr old in tow. He looks around and yells "WHOSE KID IS THIS?" I raced over to Ashe, gather his sobbing frame into my arms,  and thanked the man. He glared at me severely, muttering he was at the front door. Maybe it was Mommy guilt, maybe not, but I got the distinct impression he had judged me as a bad mom. Maybe I am. I don't know. I just know that I have really struggled to get Ashe to understand what to do in that situation, which he didn't. He panicked. And it was 60 seconds.

I calmed ashe down, then Soren who decided to cry sympathy tears with his older brother, and with Ashe clinging tightly to my hand, we left.

Suffice to say the whole way home, and all that day, and the next, AND the next, I did nothing but sit there and teach him again and again and again what to do if it happens again. After 3 days I can now get him to recite to me what to do.

But that might not help if he panics. And that panics me. I think maybe we'll forgo public places until he's 16.

1 comment:

GoodTimesDad said...

Shame, that's definitely scary.

The Wife taught The Boys that if they are ever lost, they should look for a woman first (as opposed to a man in a uniform, because that could just be a mall security guard, or something less than a cop) because her reasoning is most women would be more likely to feel motherly and help. I taught them to scream our names as loud as they can.

Good times.