Kenzie is going through this phase where she suddenly disappears from sight. At least, I hope it’s just a phase…
So, let me tell you three stories about her disappearing act and you see if you think it’s a phase where she’s trying to assert her independence or she’s just being a prankster or it’s going to be a way of life for her.
Let’s start with this text message I received from Kenzie’s teacher one day. Our conversation went like this:
This next story is a parent’s worst nightmare, losing your child in a crowd of people. You might have had a similar experience to the one I’m about to tell you.
Last weekend we went to Kid’s Day in the Park. The city-wide event consisted of hands-on experience with large trucks and then there was a kid’s fair in the park. We went through the truck display and the kids had a great time crawling in and out of all the big trucks and blasting the horns.
When we emerged from the truck exhibits, the park was filled with hundreds of adults and kids. The first exhibit we encountered was that of a local motorcycle club. The kids could sit on the motorcycles and the bikers would take their picture for $2 to raise money for charity. Now, the bikers are a little fussier about the kids crawling on and off their machines than were the truck drivers, so I assisted K&K in carefully getting on and off the motorcycles.
While I was setting them on the motorcycle, Kenzie noticed a moon jump next to the motorcycle club exhibit and could hardly want to go there. But, she probably didn’t notice the long line of kids waiting for a turn on the moon jump like I did.
After their picture was taken, I wanted them to take care getting off the motorcycles so I helped Kenzie off first and and then turned around and helped Kaleb off. In the time that it took me to help Kaleb off the motorcycle, Kenzie was gone! She had disappeared into the crowd!
At first I was aggravated and called out for her thinking she was somewhere close. But she was nowhere in sight! I grabbed Kaleb’s hand and headed over towards the moon jump thinking she must have gone there. I glanced inside the moon jump and at the long line of kids waiting for a turn and I knew she couldn’t be inside jumping already and she certainly wouldn’t stand in line to wait for her turn.
Now, I started to get worried, and angry. Or was it angry and worried?
So, I began to walk around the park dragging Kaleb with me to make sure I didn’t lose track of him. I scanned the crowd everywhere looking for her bright green outfit and looking for people I knew to help me look for her.
After one trip around the park checking each exhibit and finding neither Kenzie nor anyone I knew, I went back by the motorcycle club exhibit and asked the lady who had made the picture (she knew us) to hold on to Kenzie if she showed up at the motorcycles.
And, I started a second circle around the park searching for my lost child.
By this time my worry was turning to panic and my anger to rage! So, I told Kaleb to start calling out for her as we walked around a second time scanning all the events and the people. We were almost back around again when I ran into our friend the biker lady carrying Kenzie and looking for me.
I ran and grabbed Kenzie and I had one of those anger/relief moments. I wanted to throw her over my knee and spank her and kiss her at the same time! Since we were in the middle of the park with lots of people around, I just kissed and hugged on her. But, for her punishment we had to leave (not fair to Kaleb, I know).
BTW, she had, in fact, been at the moon jump. She had taken off her shoes in the waiting line and left them there and returned to the motorcycles once she realized she would have to wait in line for a turn. While I was putting her shoes back on her, a policeman walked up and asked if I was the one that lost a child and was this the child. I told him yes and thanked him for checking. As we were leaving and walking back to the car, I received a call from our children’s pastor at the church. He asked me if everything was okay and if Kenzie was found. He had noticed me walking around the park looking hysterical with Kaleb in tow but no Kenzie. So, he knew I had lost her.
At this point I was feeling sort of incompetent as a parent and certainly unqualified to supervise young children in a crowd. So, it was nice to know that people have your back, even when you don’t know it.
Now, my final disappearing act story. And, in a way this one is the most frightening because it’s a potential danger around your house you may not realize.
The next day after the park incident the children were playing in the house. I had a load of clean laundry in the dryer (I always have a load of laundry in the washer or dryer) and Kaleb was standing in the laundry room messing with the buttons on the dryer. The door on the dryer was open and I wanted him out of there because they have hung on that dryer door and caused it to be out of alignment so that it doesn’t close easily.
I asked Kaleb where Kenzie was and he said in the dryer. I bent down and glanced inside the dryer and all I could see were the dried bed sheets. As we were leaving the laundry room I asked Kaleb again where Kenzie was and he said in the dryer. Suddenly, I started having this sinking feeling in my chest. Yes, she really was inside the dryer nesting among the bed sheets and having a good laugh about finding such a good hiding place.
I pulled her out of the dryer and set them both down and explained why they can’t get in the dryer (you have to push in on the dryer door for the latch to release, so I’m pretty sure you can’t open it from inside the dryer). Thank goodness they had bent the dryer door out of alignment so that it doesn’t close very easily and weren’t able to close it.
Now, I had never considered the possibility of one of the children crawling in the washing machine or dryer. But you can be assured that that are banned from the laundry room until they’re big enough that they won’t fit in the dryer!
So what do you think about these disappearing acts? Phase, prankster or lifestyle?