Me and Maggie were playing at a very crowded playground. There was an event going on in Bellevue yesterday which involved all sorts of rides, events, and Ye Olde Renn fairish stuff.
Maggie had ascended some castlement and was looking at some ponies trudging along in a circle when I saw a little man run past with no adult in sight. I looked around and really no managing adult in sight. Made a note where he was, and heard a man yelling for his kid.
He asked if I’d seen (kid’s name,) and I said I didn’t know, what did he look like? Panicked dad was panicked and had to describe him and sure enough that was the kid I’d seen – I pointed out where he’d run off to and the dad hauled ass that direction.
About a minute later I saw that the kid was still just standing there watching the ponies outside of the playground area – the dad had actually shot right by him as he was in total panic mode. By this point the fellow was calling at the top of his lungs, but little kid was entranced with ponies walking in circles.
Maggie was doing her thing and I asked her to stay where she was and got up as high as I could and flagged the dad back down and said “dark hair, wearing the same shirt you are? right there” and he saw where he’d shot by him the last time around.
That level of panic blinded him to seeing his kid… well, that and that it involved looking slightly to the right as the fence made a weird zig zag.
A while later and we were all wandering around. Maggie was playing with a balloon, enjoying being miss independent strutting around behind us, I looked forward to scout a path to the nearest drink dispenser, looked back and there was no balloon, no clear view on Maggie, I saw the balloon floating up and started scanning the crowd and asked Kim if she had eyes on our three year old.
Turns out she’d just stopped, someone stepped in between her and us. I’m assuming she stopped because the balloon detached from the contraption that was holding it to the string, but in that moment I lost peripheral vision and was about to run to the last point I’d seen Maggie (which was only about eight feet away).
Between my reaction (brief, maybe 8 seconds of terror,) and that other dad’s reaction (which must have been going on three minutes,) I’ve determined it’s quite a useless set of side effects for a reaction to losing your kid. Complete blindness to where they might be, inability to convey quick description of your kid.
Should be something in the parenting handbook that when you lose your kid people need to know Age, Name, Clothing, hair color/length, etc. Come up with a useful acronym that can be thought of by the panicked parents.
Like H.E.L.P – hair, something something something or COWPIES Color of hair, What they where, Person’s name, something something.