The Children’s Museum in Indy has been a place of discovery for me and my family, to say the least. Not only in that my kids have all ooohed and awwwed over the dinosaurs, the water table, the full-size log cabin, bulldozers and of course, the store (!), but also because of the heart wrenching, terrible minutes when I lost my kid there.
Yeah. I’m that mom.
The Children’s Museum staff jumped to action when I alerted them that my oldest son, about 2 1/2 or 3 at the time, had run off. He had run way ahead of me on the ramp (don’t all the kids do this?), but I was behind a stroller, and the crowds were huge that day, and what looked like a busload or 10 had just unloaded on the bottom floor … and, and … he was gone into a sea of little heads.
All of a sudden, I was on my own discovery mission. And the staff members were rallying in our favor.
The young man I frantically talked to that day immediately radioed to the front doorman and told him to lock the front doors.
Seriously. At this point, MY HEART IS POUNDING ALL THE WAY UP MY THROAT AND ABOUT TO COME OUT OF MY MOUTH AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS SCREAM AND CRY AND PUNCH SOMEONE. I was freaking out.
I think I freaked more when I heard him say that. I was thankful. But I was scared. I thought that dude had read my mind. I had just had visions of some scary man leading my son out the front door of the place. I actually had that image in my head.
Anyway, I then remembered something a friend of mine–a former employee at the Children’s Museum–told me. She told me and my husband the most useful piece of advice I have ever heard.
Tell them what shoes he is wearing.
I remembered to tell the guy that bit of information that day. I don’t know how I remembered because I was shaking and about to puke on myself. But I was yelling to them that he had on little white tennis shoes with red and blue trim.
Why is this good advice? Well, it’s scary and sad why that’s good advice, but I’m going to share so you can always have it tucked away in your head in case you need it. It’s good advice because if someone (God forbid) kidnaps your child, he or she is more likely to do a quick switch on the kid’s shirt or jacket than pants. This way, if people are looking for a kid in a red shirt, Crazy Kidnapper Dude or Dudette has already changed your kid into a yellow shirt. But … a kidnapper usually will not fuss with changing a kid into different shoes.
So, tell them about the shoes.
Meanwhile, back at the museum …
They were about to LOCK DOWN THE MUSEUM … and they might have. I don’t know because I ran off looking for my kid again once I realized they were also on the case. I continued running down to the bottom floor, where I found my dad walking toward me, kid in his arms.
My escape artist.
My dad found him on the bottom floor inside something–I think it was a submarine.
Anyway, long story short (too late), we love the museum. Aside from the fact that I had a horrible day there ONE time, the staff rallied around us and made us feel so secure and cared for.
I have never, ever, ever in my entire life had that kind of “customer service.”
Ever since that day, when we visit and the crowds are heavier than usual, I hold my breath and hope for the best. I have three boys, after all. And they LOVE to run.
So, I give a thumbs WAY UP to the museum and all its fun-filled treasures.
Especially the ones you find hidden in the submarine.