I'd been thinking about bringing the boys to the Madison Children's Museum for a few weeks now and things finally slowed down a bit downtown after the recent protests, so I left the house today with high hopes for a really fun day. Things started off pretty well, despite the fact that there were multitudes of little people running around everywhere. Trying to keep track of where my two firecrackers were at all times was next to impossible.
Micah "planted" vegetables.
Both of them ran through a dinosaur bone lined walkway.
The musicians managed to grab Micah's attention...
...and he even joined the band by shaking a little egg!
After playing downstairs for a while, I decided to take the boys upstairs to see what the second level had to offer. In retrospect, this was probably my biggest mistake. Isaiah immediately checked out this huge LEGO station that had moving parts when buttons were pushed.
He spent a good few minutes walking around this station, pushing every button and examining what intricate movements were made. I turned around for a moment to take this photo of Micah.
When I turned around, Isaiah was gone. Honestly, I didn't think much of it at first because I assumed he was just checking out any one of the many other activities in the nearby area. I followed Micah around for a couple minutes and had to shatter his dreams of playing like the 7 year olds. After about 4 minutes or so, I started to feel a little apprehensive because I had made a full circuit of the second floor and Isaiah was nowhere in sight.
I hefted 32 pound (give or take) Micah into my arms and started really looking for my missing son. Micah screamed and wriggled and fought me every step of the way, which only elevated my freak out level. I checked every single square inch of that second floor....twice. After about 10 minutes or so, I was full on panicking. There were literally hundreds of kids running around and I feared that I was just missing him over and over. Eventually, I headed back downstairs in case he had wandered down the steps.
I first looked over by our coats to see if maybe he had returned to them. I looped around by the cafe area and then finally returned to the first play area we had visited. By this time, my little boy had been missing from my sight for about 20 minutes and I was starting to lose it. Should I go report it to the desk? How do you even go about finding a three year old kid when there are about 200 other kids who look just like him swirling all around you?
And then he was there. I turned my head to the right and there was my Isaiah, standing over by the water play area. He was bawling his head off and was standing near two moms who were trying to console him. I set Micah down, ran to Isaiah, and threw my arms around my crying boy. I took a second to notice the "nice of you to finally show up" looks I was getting from the women standing above me, but I was so focused on the feeling of finding Isaiah that I really didn't care too much. I picked him up and brought him over by Micah so I could try to calm us both down.
I scolded him, hugged him, reminded him how important it was to stay near me, hugged him some more, and finally told him how much I loved him and how happy I was to find him safe. We went up to eat the lunch I brought along and my hands were shaking as I handed out the sandwiches and Goldfish crackers.
Has this ever happened to you? I'm not exaggerating when I say it was easily one of the scariest experiences of my life. It was literally impossible for me to keep watch on both kids at all times. There's no way we will be returning to the museum until the boys are older and when I can have at least one more adult with me to keep eyes on them. Losing Isaiah was enough to scare me away for quite some time.
It was one of the worst days I have had in recent memory. I felt like the worst parent ever. Please tell me I'm not the only one this has happened to!