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THE DAY YOU DISAPPEARED OUT OF THE PARK LOOKING FOR ICE CREAM


Yesterday was one of those horrible, scary and embarrassing situations that many Mother's could find themselves in. Lucas wandered out of the gate of the park to the Ice Cream van. This brings me to the point of the post, a plea to all parents and guardians to LOCK THE GATES OF THE PARK!

Now, I know what you're thinking, why weren't you watching your kid? Now here's the thing I was but when you take a 3 year old and a nearly one year old to the park which is enclosed and has high fences and heavy bolted gates, you should feel confident your child can go off and play and you can take your eyes off them for a few minutes.


Having two kids in the park whilst parenting solo is hard and the smallest one usually requires more of my attention. Lucas is a sociable kid, he looks for new friends and loves making new ones too. He has this smiley little face and confidence that make other kids happy to play with him.

Now, we were at a Mummy meet-up yesterday and I was sat on the floor playing with Iris and some other babies and was watching another Mama's little for a second whilst she went to find her eldest. I looked over and Lucas was playing by the see-saw with a new found friend and was playing nicely, so I looked round and started playing with Iris again, this is when he planned his escape.

About five minutes earlier he had yelled at me through a tunnel that he wanted "ICE CREAM NOW" I told him not yet and not to be rude - He yelled it again and I ignored his rude request. He then went off to play. He had been playing with lots of other children in the park for a while and was the other side of the castle in the sand. Now, I cannot take Iris in the sand at the moment as she just wants to eat it and gets annoyed when she can't so we were on the fake grass instead; where she could crawl and play.

I had lost him from my sight for a while and had mentioned to another Mum I hadn't seen him for a minute or so and then I clocked his yellow Pikachu hat in the sand. I checked back a few minutes later and he was by the see-saw playing with a little girl in a pink t-shirt.


This is when he must have planned his escape, whilst I had taken my eyes off him for a few more seconds he'd darted out one of the gates to the Ice-cream van and just stood by it. He apparently told the Ice-cream Man he was one and then a woman clocked him alone and bought him back in, just as I was about to call for him. My heart sank, I felt sick, I felt like the worst Mum on the planet, I felt awful. I wanted the ground to swallow me up and to never face anyone again, I was and still am horrified.

The dangers, the frustration, anger, panic, embarrassment, the works. All I could think about was what others were thinking, the what if's, the worse case scenarios, the absolutely sheer horror of the situation. The why me? Why my child? The hows? How did he get out? Why did he go? Should I keep my eyes on him at all times?

The thing is you can't, you cannot keep your eyes on them at all times, you have to let them explore, learn new things, I want him to learn to be independent, make friends and learn to climb and slide without me. I also have to focus on Iris too, she needs help swinging in the swing, sliding and needs me more.

You should be able to take your eyes off your kids in the park for a few minutes, he knows stranger danger, he knows not to go off with anyone, he knows not to hit or push other children, he knows to wait his turn, he knows to share and he knows i'm really close and keeping an eye out regularly.
I took my eyes off him for a couple of minutes and he was gone. I really need to stop punishing myself but I suck, I failed at mothering and I feel awful. I adore that little boy and think I trust him too much sometimes. He's such an advanced 3 year old in so many ways but he's also a child who adores exploring and has a huge love for ice cream.

Please, please, please, please shut the bolts on the gates and the gates are locked from kids making easy escapes and please, make sure when you leave you're not letting a random child go out.
Lucas has blown the trust now and will have to stay close at all times unless there is another parent or person present.

I am sorry Lucas for being rubbish, I just trusted you not to run off.
The kid wanted Ice-Cream I guess.

Now I need to stop beating myself up about it, holding a grudge against Lucas and realising that we all fuck up at times as a parent and we're not all perfect. It's easy to sit reading this and mumbling to yourself about how it will never happen to you but it does and it could. We all make mistakes and we learn from them. Lucas will have learnt too today.
Parenting can come naturally but we're all human and we mess up sometimes and that is okay. I'm still learning - we all are.