Let's be honest. Have you ever lost a kid for even a split second? Long enough for your breath to stop and your heart to race and your mind to say mean and ugly things to you.
I have. It was all of 2 seconds and I flipped out. Ginger was not yet 2. I was big pregnant. We were in a big box store, during the day. I was on a mission. (I usually am when I shop. I know what I need and I go straight there.) Ginger did not want to hold my hand, and you all know how much trouble it is to make them at that age. I tried to look forward and down to the side at the same time, but I must have blinked. Ginger was gone. My heart jumped, I inhaled and forgot to exhale and I looked at all the people around me like they were kidnappers. I said her name, once, twice, three times. The last time with more than a little panic in my voice. She appeared out from under a rack of clothes. I got face to face with her and I yelled at her. (Sorry, mom, for doing my fair share of hiding in the clothes racks, I promise not to do it any more.)
I was not bothered by the nice little lady a couple of yards away that stopped dead in her tracks to see if things were resolved. I did not worry about scaring my daughter. She needed to be scared. I needed her to know that I was scared. It was scary, times 100.
These days, when Ginger gets ahead of me or turns a corner before me, I don't panic. I just remind her to stay where I can see her and she comes back into view. She usually comes back into view without the reminder. She knows how it makes me feel when I can't find her and she feels the same way when she can't find me.
For Sugar, I was not at all opposed to using the teddy bear backpack leash thing. I still sometimes think that a leash might be the exact right thing for keeping up with my 2 excitable children.