Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Elevators = A Mom's Worst Nightmare

I used to think that elevators were invented as a truly great blessing for mothers with strollers. That was until today, when I came to the terrifying realization that they are actually a mom's worst nightmare. 

Anders, Bram and I were at the Eaton Center (a large, 5-story mall on Montreal Island near McGill Campus). We were exploring the mall while David was in a meeting for school. It was taking longer than I thought and we had already explored most of the mall and spent quite a bit of time on the elevator in the middle of the mall. Anders and Bram needed their diapers changed again, so I thought I would just take care of it to pass the time faster while waiting for David. (He said he would do it when he came back from his meeting). I had changed their diapers on the third floor before. We were on the fourth floor. When I went to where I thought there would be bathrooms, it turned out there were only elevators. I knew that these elevators were near the bathrooms on the third floor so we hopped on one of them and rode down to the third floor. These elevators were amazing. They had changing bright neon lights, a flat screen monitor playing commercials. Really I had never been in an elevator quite like it. Anders and I were entranced. When I stepped out of the elevator on the third floor I had Bram in my arms and was pushing a double stroller. Anders had been walking around the mall instead of riding in his stroller, so he was standing in the elevator. I was surprised to see a flight of stairs as I stepped off and was momentarily disoriented. As I turned to make sure Anders was getting off the elevator, the elevator doors were almost closed. I jumped to put my hand in, but it was too late. I frantically pushed the button to have the doors open, but it was also too late. All I knew was that the elevator was going down. I was terrified. Here I was with a baby in arms, a huge stroller, and an elevator that went down another four stories (two of which were underground parking). The elevator across the hall kept opening, but I didn't want to risk not being there when the elevator opened again in case Anders had stayed in there. 

It couldn't have been more than three minutes, but it felt like hours before the elevator finally came back up. My heart dropped when Anders was not on it. I got on not sure what I was going to do next. I called David to tell him I had lost Anders. He immediately took off and ran down seven flights of stairs and across two blocks to get to us. I was still on my own looking for Anders though. (Side note- Montreal is part of Quebec. The Province that prides itself on being "French". So everyone is supposed to speak French, and it is the first official language of the Province.) A girl came on the elevator with me as I was hanging up with David. I told her I lost my 2-year-old on this elevator. She could speak English! When we got to the 2nd floor I asked her if she could hold the door. I stepped off and didn't see any signs of Anders. I got back on to go to the 1st floor. The elevators opened up onto the food court. We had our lunch there before David's meeting. I stepped out and peered around a corner and scanned with Mom radar. I had Anders in my sight within 3 seconds. A large man (his guardian angel in my book) had been waiting to go up the elevator with his lunch. He was surprised to find a two-year-old all alone. He had taken Anders over to the nearest mall employee (a custodian) who was working on radioing mall security. I grabbed Anders to run back to the elevator where I had left the stroller. And no, Bram was not in the stroller. And yes, the very nice girl that had been helping was still holding it open for me. 

My biggest regrets: Not thanking the girl or large man enough for their help. This event could have been so disastrous. I am so grateful for the good people out there who just do what is right without having to think about it. 

I am sure you are wondering how Anders is doing. He was so shaken up. He hadn't been crying as far as I could tell (but it hadn't been very long either). He just looked stunned/confused. When we got back to the third floor I was pulling the stroller down the stairs in an almost trance. I think I was in shock. Two people stopped to help me, and again I didn't thank them enough. Anders was begging to hold my hand, but I was holding Bram and pushing the stroller. I just stopped and crouched down to hold Anders as close as I could with Bram also in my arms. David came around the corner at that moment. When I had called him he couldn't wrap his head around how I could have lost Anders. It was one distracted second, just one (okay maybe 2), but that was long enough for the worst experience of my motherhood to happen. Back to Anders. So for the rest of the day he was pretty clinging to me and wanted to hold my hand basically non-stop. And he needed his pacifier at all times. The pacifier also probably helped him when he was lost to not absolutely lose it.

I have this fear that someone is going to try to take my babies. Who wouldn't want to? Look at these cute faces:

Moral of the story: Elevators are NOT your friends if you have little, easily distracted children.