Pictures are Important

Last week in anticipation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and the kids being home I made plans with my friend Mary Catherine to go to Zoo Atlanta. I figured that it would be crazy crowded (it was) and that the kids would be nutso (they were), but getting them out of the house for a few hours with friends that we don’t see very often was worth it!

A Fun Day at the Zoo

While we waited for our friends we had an impromptu photo session with this fancy dolphin in front of the gate. We do this kind of thing ALL THE TIME. My kids are complete HAMS!

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

And of course Mommy had to get into the fun with a #StarbucksSelfie (is that a thing?). I grabbed this delightful dark roast on the way down, BUT the Zoo actually sells Starbucks coffee…win!

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

Once we got in, a potty break completed, and a quick trip into the wind machine we were finally off to look at some animals! I love that Zoo Atlanta has the flamingos right in the front plaza. These are the animals that my daughter was most looking forward to seeing and there was NO WAY we could miss them. I was even able to get this adorable shot.

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

I love that these 3 BFFs lines themselves up like this!! They are usually really good at keeping tabs on each other because they get lonely when they are separated. London tells me this every day while the big kids are at school.

No matter where we go I am constantly counting. I know that I only have 3 kids, but in a crowd you can never be too careful. My head (and frequently my mouth) is going 1, 2, 3….1, 2, 3.

Somehow I was able to get a few shots of the animals. Please enjoy this giraffe. We, of course, saw some closer but the big kids were trying to hunt down a black rhino at the time and I couldn’t get my camera (aka iPhone) out.

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

Getting pictures of these 5 kiddos was not always an easy task. Exhibit A – “Guys pose with the statue!” This was the best of 5 on my phone and there were other people trying to take pictures too so my counting on this trip upped to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5….1, 2, 3, 4, 5. We were both doing it…it was a little ridiculous. Also, I think we may have been the only ones without a baby baby in a stroller…just a preschooler who refused to sit.

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

We actually steered clear of the BIG gorilla viewing area because there was sort of a line. This BLEW MY MIND because other times I have gone it was empty and we sat and had a snack there. On Monday, it was a much better choice to try the outside observation deck where we found a very nice and helpful docent to tell us about the gorillas.

The kids (well, at least London) liked watching the 17 month old climb on to his mommy’s back and ride around the pen. You can see him below sitting in her lap. The gorillas always entertain me and I could have stayed there a while, but the “I’m hungry’s” had already started and the deal was after the pandas we would eat. Onward we trekked.

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

We MUST pose with every statue we see. Aren’t they sweet LOL

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

Then we tried to get just a nice one of them all together. London REFUSED to sit with everyone, but these are my two favorite pictures of the trip. This first one shows all of their “CHEESE” faces and for the second one I yelled “Be Monkeys!” and they all went nuts! It makes me SO HAPPY to see them be goofy like that!

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com
Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

The Monkeys Blood Sugar was Dropping

Next up was the koalas and lunch!Β While we were eating our awesome PB&J’s from home I took everybody’s picture. In case you haven’t figured it out by now…this is what I do…a lot. One could call me the Mommy Paparazzi.

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

 

After lunch we brushed the goats and headed for the train ride around the park (which was awesome…slooooooow, but awesome). By this point, it had started to warm up and Liam had taken his fleece off and was swinging it around his head as we walked by the carousel. I hissed at him to stop before he hit someone with it and he did. Then roughly 30 seconds later we were at a turn and I did a quick count…1, 2, 3, 4….where was number 5?!

Liam was missing

Insert panic mode here. I was calm, but completely freaked out. I would be in absolute terror mode, but it was Liam. We’ve been down this road before.

When I was pregnant with London we were shopping at my former place of employment with some friends. There were two women working, Mary Catherine being one of them, and Liam walked out of the store without anyone noticing! I abandoned my 1 year old Eliza in her stroller with Mary Catherine and RAN around the mall with my big belly screaming for him. Security found my 3 year old on the lower level in front of Victoria’s Secret. I cried and cried and cried. I vowed that this would NEVER happen again.

Never Say Never.

Twice now we have been at our favorite (fenced-in) playground and I have been a maniac trying to find him. Once he was being a spy and was hiding from me and the other time he was so into whatever game he had created in his head that he didn’t hear me.

So this time I left the other kids with Mary Catherine (thankfully near a playground!) and walked briskly around yelling for him. I expected him to pop out of a bush or come out of the bathroom at the sound of his name. Nothing. And not a soul stopped to help me. The more time had passed the crazier my yelling had gotten.

My Kid Was a Code Adam

I finally started to seriously backpedal and went all the went back to the goat area where the employee asked me what was wrong. I explained that my son was lost and she immediately asked for a description and called out a Code Adam.

 

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.comAs she was starting the Code Adam another employee asked me if I had my phone which should have pictures of Liam on it. YES! I had just taken a PERFECT picture of what he looked like not even an hour earlier.

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

I am SO HAPPY that I had taken pictures of all of the kids while we were at lunch! I could barely give a good description of him (how could I forget the scab on his nose?), but the picture told everything.

After the employee (I HATE that I didn’t get her name!) gave his description, they asked her to bring me to security. I breathed a sigh of relief hoping that Liam was there, but during our two minute walk there I started to doubt myself and started to freak out that they didn’t have him.

Found Him!

We walked in the door and saw his smiling face! Apparently he couldn’t find us so he walked to the gate and to the gift shop and told someone that he couldn’t find us! He did EXACTLY what he needed to do when lost. Double sigh of relief! He did need some work on his description of me “Well, you’ll see two little boys and two mommies and that will be them.” Um, what about the girls? What about my black and white backpack? What about MY PHONE NUMBER that he has known for years? I couldn’t even be mad. I just laughed, smiled, and thanked the employee who helped us and the security team over and over.

On the way back to find our friends he told me he was scared that we left him there! Oh little man, I will never leave you!

What I Will Do Differently

I told my husband that from now on when we go big places like this I will be taking pictures of all of us in the parking lot! I want to have a clear picture of our faces and outfits in case this ever happens again…and knowing my luck…it will.

EDIT 1-20-15 (11pm) – Mary Catherine messaged me after I posted this and added that you should always be able to give a description of your child’s shoes. Even if someone does grab them and changes their clothes they probably will not change their shoes. GREAT IDEA.

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

Pictures are Important - Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated - www.crunchycrafty.com

 

What About You?

Have you ever lost a child while you were out? How did you find them? Did you have any pictures to help?

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29 Comments

  1. The Mad Mommy

    Thank you for sharing this! It is such good advice! I am so happy that your son was ok!

    • mrsdmeeks

      So scary!! I’m very thankful that he knew what to do and that their security team was amazing.

      • jdawgswords

        awesome re-telling of your adventure…I was at Walmart when they called a code adam…they locked the place down…I had the pleasure of taking a woman and her tikes to a zoo and park…all day kinda thing…..I bought her three camera and she used them up…no smartphones then…the little girl was the wanderer…we gave her a pink flag on a stick, (she was 5yr and we hoped she’d keep up with it)…we took the right fork and she the left…we lost her…2 things happened pretty quick….she went to squealing and waving her little flag…yep…her “panic squeal” makes a train horn sound like a whisper…and that napkin-sized pink flag could be seen in a dark room…you can never have too many pics…fill the phone, dump to a computer and repeat, often…

        • mrsdmeeks

          The flag is an awesome idea!! I actually just dumped my pictures so I could be fresh for the week πŸ™‚

          Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Katie @ Recipe for Perfection

    Yikes! What a scary experience. I’m so glad it all worked out! I’ve also seen parents put a lanyard on each kid with their name & parents cell phone numbers. This was especially smart in theme parks and big places like that.

    • mrsdmeeks

      It is terribly scary! I am impressed by how calm I was!! Honestly, I didn’t even shed a tear until I was with that one employee! Thankfully mine are getting old enough that 2/3 of them know to go to an employee or a police officer for help…

  3. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    Wonderful pictures but a scary story but a happy ending… whew!

    I haven’t lost a kid yet– knocking on wood with a mallet right now. It’s such a good idea to take a picture of them first though (and so easy to do since most of us are carrying around phones with built in cameras).

    Thanks for sharing.
    xoxo

    • mrsdmeeks

      Exactly!!! We all have a “camera” on us, so we need to utilize it!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. BritishMumUSA

    Girl how about the Mall Washington DC!!!!! Taking a walking tour and somehow Bebe who was 6 at the time got separated from us. Everyone on that walking tour took the time to search for her. The hubs found her about 10 mins later clinging to a lamp post. When asked why she was doing that she said she couldn’t find a tree and her sister had always told her to hug a tree if she was lost and to not move, we would come to her!!!!!

    Go figure, smart kid!!!!!

    • mrsdmeeks

      OMG!! How scary! What a great idea though!

      Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

  5. rachel621

    Great idea and so sorry this happened to you. Glad it turned out alright.

    • mrsdmeeks

      Thank you! It was very scary, but I think that we all learned a lesson from it! The kids were all telling him how much they missed him (it was kind of cute) and he didn’t let go of my hand until we got to the car.

      Thanks so much for stopping by πŸ™‚

  6. miniaturemasterminds

    I do the same thing and count out loud 1 2 3… That is so scary and I am glad he knew what to do and everything turned out good. I have heard about the shoes thing and how it saved one little girl.

    • mrsdmeeks

      I am constantly counting out loud! People look at me like I’m a madperson LOL I think I am going to take pictures of their shoes too because my daughter is CONSTANTLY changing them!

      Thanks so much for stopping by πŸ™‚

  7. Shana Sutton

    I love the idea about the shoes!!! i’ve heard so many horror stories of kidnappers changing clothes and cutting hair, but you’re right, they’re probably not going to carry an extra pair of shoes! BTW–have you done the bird show at Zoo Atlanta? We did it last month. Spectacular!

    • mrsdmeeks

      The shoes is a great thing! I would have never thought of it. I haven’t done the bird show…I’m kind of terrified of birds! LOL Have a great week πŸ™‚

  8. Amberjane

    I wish I had had a smart phone when my youngest was little – going on “adventures” was her thing and boy it would have been useful- great post.Thanks for linking up to Pin Worthy Wednesday, I have pinned your post to the Pin Worthy Wednesday Pinterest Board.

    • mrsdmeeks

      It is SO SCARY when they wander off!! Thank you so much for hosting Pin Worthy Wednesday…it is AWESOME!

  9. bakersdozenandapolloxiv

    That’s terrifying! I am so glad you found your son safe. We lost our four year old once at the aquarium. I was right on the verge of panic when we found him in a little room happily playing video games!

    Thanks for linking up with the #shinebloghop!

    • mrsdmeeks

      Thank you for co-hosting!! It was extremely scary (the longer it went on!) but I’m glad he was safe. Crazy how our little ones think that they are invincible and can do whatever they want!

  10. Patty Gale

    I know that feeling. Seconds feel like hours and yes, you’re in total panic mode. When my younger son (now 28) was 3, we were at an outdoor airshow. It was summer, we were getting hot dogs and literally in a flash, he was gone. It was just him, me and my older son, who was only 5. Long story, I found security (who was dressed up as a clown) and we found him at the other end of the parking lot. To this day, I still think someone scooped him up, got scared and then let him go because there’s no way he would have been able to make his way that far in such a short period of time. Back then (1989) there was no digital photography or smart phones, so this is such a great idea! Stopping by from SITS Saturday Sharefest. Have a great weekend!

    • mrsdmeeks

      Oh that is terrifying!! I’m glad that everything worked out for you. HUGS

      Thank you so much for stopping by…also, security was a clown? odd…

  11. emmymom2

    Such good advice! I would have never thought about the shoes, but yes I bet you are right with that. So glad he did the right thing and that everything was okay. My brother got lost at the zoo multiple times, including when he was about 3 and if anyone asked him would say his name was Batman. Thanks for linking up with the #bestoftheblogosphere

    • mrsdmeeks

      BATMAN! My 3yo would totally do that!

      The shoes thing is GREAT!! I will probably end up taking pictures of them too!! HA!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Shanice

    Great post! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams, starts on Fridays at 9AM eastern time πŸ˜€ Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

    • mrsdmeeks

      Thank you!! I will absolutely check out your party this week πŸ™‚ Thanks for the invite!

  13. Mary B

    I dont have any children, but my good friend lost her child on their own property. They lived on a farm and he disappeared for HOURS. My friend was a complete mess because it well after dark when they finally found him. That was 20 years ago. To this day, she still panics if she isnt able to locate his whereabouts.

    Thank you for tossing your hat into the ring at the Party Under The Big Top! We hope to see you again next week! #BigTopBlogParty

    • mrsdmeeks

      That is SO SCARY!! If he would have been gone much longer I would have been a complete mess!

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