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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
We MUST pose with every statue we see. Aren’t they sweet LOL
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!
The Monkeys Blood Sugar was Dropping
Next up was the koalas and lunch! 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.
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.
As 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.
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.
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.
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?