The County Fair was this past weekend and this was the first year we decided to take both girls. The last time we took Peri, she was about 18 months old, and she ended up being terrified and screaming bloody murder when one of the livestock pigs sniffed her foot. We thought we'd wait until she was a little older. When we announced where we were going, she got excited and asked if she could wear her cowboy hat. But of course!
We met up with some friends and the eight of us wandered through the exhibits and barns all morning long and then sat down for some of that "fabulous" fair food. Afterward, Peri said she needed to go potty, so she and I headed towards the restrooms. I heard Jim calling me and when I turned around, Ryah was falling over herself to come too. Okay, I guess we're all going.
Naturally, there was a line for the ladies room, so we waited; some less patient than others. The stalls were only big enough for one person, so I got Peri situated in one and I took Ryah with me into the handicapped stall, so she wouldn't wander off. After washing up, Ryah announced she had to go too, so she rushed into a stall that had just opened up. I could feel the glares from the line of women behind me. I apologized and wrestled her onto the seat (she's now terrified of falling in after attempting to use a porta-potty). Peri was wandering around behind me, or so I thought.
After taking care of Ryah, I looked around and didn't see Peri. I hurried outside and started calling her name. She wasn't there. We rushed back inside and I called her again. I thought she might have wandered into the changing area. One of the ladies in line, who didn't speak English very well, pointed at her head, indicating a cowboy hat, and said she'd gone outside. So we hurried back out and I scanned and called for Peri. Finally, I saw her slowly wandering towards us from about 20 yards away. I rushed to her and saw that she was about to cry. She said some little girl screamed at her and then hit her and it made her sad. I told her that maybe it was an accident (since she misinterprets all the time) but that it was no reason to wander off. Did she want a stranger to take her away from us forever? No. Then, please please please, don't wander off.
Peri was "missing" for about a minute, but it seemed like forever and definitely long enough for someone to snatch her if they wanted to. She is the type of child to get into the van with the puppy or take candy from strangers, so it's been hard teaching her about stranger danger. Thank goodness nothing bad happened, but now's as good a time as any to drill into our kids how important it is to stay close in crowded areas and to learn about stranger danger. Few things are scarier than that moment when you can't find your child and that's a moment I don't ever want to re-live. No mother should. Scary stuff and definitely an eye opener. Yikes!