I had a timely reminder today of why we keep enforcing the stay-close-to-mummy rule in town. We lost Chloe. Jenna had already been lost about an hour earlier – in a shop we turned a corner and she didn’t notice, so she stood where she was and yelled for me to come and help her, and a lady pointed her to where I was standing, literally within reaching distance if the shelves hadn’t been there.
As we were walking down from Sainsbury’s (I had needed glycerine for glitter shakers), Jenna stopped at some automatic doors because she insists that they be closed when she approaches them so that they open for her. EJ was behind us with her two, and I was keeping my eye on whether Jenna was ever going to make it through the doors with all the people milling around and setting off the opening mechanism again!
When we all got back together finally, Chloe was gone. We searched for her frantically, me pushing the pushchair and trying to stop Jenna also running off (totally distressed and crying, “Chloe can’t have gone away, I LOVE her.”). EJ ran from shop to shop, we put out the description over the radio, “a little girl with long blonde hair, white cardigan, peach vest top, denim skirt, stripy tights” but she was nowhere to be seen. It was awful, one of the most frightening things to happen to us.
When we found her (playing happily in a shop) EJ made her hold on, and she tried to get free and hung off her arms like Jenna does when she wants to run. She hadn’t been upset by it at all, but my friend was shaking and had been pretty close to tears.
So, I’m telling myself, if EJ and I feel like awful nags sometimes and hate restricting our children’s freedom then it’s for a good cause. I’m also telling myself that it isn’t nagging if I state the rule, make it happen, state the rule again for a separate offence, enforce it again… Nagging is when I repeat the rule over and over for the same incidence without backing it up.