streetfairs, crowds & where’s my kid? no really, where’s my kid???

May 17, 2010 |  Category:   life nyc parenting

Nothing marks the beginning of summer in the city like street fairs, and the 5th Avenue street fair in Brooklyn happens to be in our neighborhood. This also means throngs of people (do you see that wall of people in that picture above? I see it) and it also usually means hyped up children in bouncy castles and high on sugar (melt downs and whining is to be expected at some point). We don’t go to a lot of street fairs but I am partial to this one for other reasons other than its proximity to where we live (it stretches for 20+ blocks so it’s pretty unavoidable anyway). Along with the usual street fair stuff like bedding sets, sunglasses, socks, funnel cakes and meat-on-a-stick, all the neighborhood restaurants and shops up and down 5th Avenue open up stands on the street and it’s the one day where you can sample a lot of local restaurant food.

But the crowds! So easy to lose someone you’re with, right? Which is what happened. We were 4 kids and 3 adults cruising down 5th ave when all of a sudden I didn’t see Mia anymore. Whaaa? Wait wait wait, hold up now. Surely she was just a few feet away. Mark takes off from where we came, our friend Ben takes off up the street, I watch the other 3 kids and stay put. A few minutes later they both come back empty handed without Mia. I don’t freak out just yet but I feel the beginnings of panic starting to rise up my chest. The guys take off once again. Claudine starts yelling for Mia. I don’t know how much time passes, 5 minutes? 7 minutes? 10? And then…I see Ben emerging from the crowds carrying Mia, except it was almost in slow-mo, like a scene from a movie. If there had been some kind of tear-jerker music playing as a soundtrack in the background of that scene, you woulda cried.

Mia is very calm throughout the reunion. Apparently she went to a police woman when she realized she was lost (where she learned that, I have no idea). No tears, no drama, though she later admitted to being a little scared. We all high five Mia for being SO smart and use it to teach the other 3 kids a lesson on what to do if they ever get lost.

I admire Mia’s ability to stay calm. I was lost once too when I was around 4 years old for a few hours at Jones Beach. I still remember what it felt like to walk around the beach looking for my parents and bawling and then waiting at the life guard’s office for what seemed like forever. But Mia doesn’t freak out like that. Have I ever told you about the time nobody showed up to pick her up from school? It was a misunderstanding between me and our nanny. The school office tried to call us repeatedly, but both Mark and I were on separate subways so we weren’t getting the calls to our cell phones. The office then called all the grandparents when they couldn’t reach us and our phones were again being flooded by more calls. We were both underground. We had no idea what was going on. By virtue of good timing my subway emerged from the tunnel and started going above ground and I happened to pick up my ringing phone. When the school informed me that Mia was still at school waiting to be picked up I was disoriented and honestly a bit mortified, but I’m sure this wasn’t the first time this has happened at school. When I saw Mia later that evening I asked her if she was worried and scared. She said she wasn’t, but she put both hands on her hip and said “But nobody came to pick me up!”. Then she threw her hands up in the air and walked away as if to say “stupid humans. oy vey!”

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  • quyen huynh May 17, 2010 at 2:22 am

    So scary! I recently lost my son at a park and boy, that, 10 minutes feels like forever. Worst feeling ever! Glad Mia is okay. Now, you must tell me about Claudine’s sandal. So freakin cute!

  • terren May 17, 2010 at 2:56 am

    the jean romper. i want it. in big people size.

  • Linda May 17, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Gah! so glad everything turned out well. that must have been scary.

    I was lost once…when I was six. I got on the wrong school bus going home because I was following a friend I had just made..and had no idea that different buses take different routes. It finally occurred to me after a while that the stops the bus driver was making wasn’t familiar to me, and when I was the only kid left on the bus, I knew I was lost. So after a while I was driven back to the school. And from that day forward, my mama made me wear a name tag to school everyday. LOL…can’t forget something like that..even if I was only six…

  • ftenshin May 17, 2010 at 5:03 am

    Cheers to Mia for being so brave & sensible! that said, you must be worried sick… glad you found her! 🙂
    C looks so focused and serious when playing with the colored sand, kinda adult-like. Esp love the last pic of them holdings hands, it’s so sweet

  • mette / ungt blod May 17, 2010 at 7:23 am

    im just learning about that feeling you get in your stomach when you think something might happen to your kid. Elinor is six months now and i have only really felt it once when she fell of the sofa and wow its so overpowering! Mia is one cool kid – when i speak to friends with older kids i always find parents say that their children are so much cooler than they were as kids!
    And finally i just wanted to say that i always admire all the cool things you do with your kids!

  • bronwyn May 17, 2010 at 9:06 am

    That is my nightmare. Way too scary. But wow, what a smart kid! Glad everyone is OK. I was also going to ask about the sandals. 🙂 Very cute.

  • nichole May 17, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Terrifying. We lost Liam for a few minutes while we were trick or treating last year and I remember the panic well. We were in a group, and I think sometimes that group leads to a false sense of security because the adults assume someone else is watching the kids.

    So cool that she knew to go to the police.

  • Courtney May 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Love the last pic and how scary for Mia. I would have freaked out if it had been my kid; kudos for keeping calm and collected. Love Claudine’s sandals, by the way.

  • Caddy May 17, 2010 at 9:58 am

    That street fair looks like a lot of fun!! I love the concentration on Claudine’s face as she pours the sand.

    Kudos to Mia too for handling being lost really well.

  • Alicia May 17, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Isn’t it amazing that children know when to stay calm? I mean, we always think of children getting frustrated at little things (hence the word ‘childish’) but they somehow seem to know that they just have to wait it out and there’s no point in freaking out. They’re better at forgiving us than we are, I think.

  • Wiebke with Pauli and Liv May 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    … how brave Mia! Glad everyone is okay… lovely wishes from here…

  • Lani May 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Great pictures…great story and I’m so proud of Mia. She’s so cool! In more ways than one. I lost Mark once (or did he lose me?) and that was a hellacious 10 minutes of my imagination going crazy.

  • chickything May 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    always amazing photos!

  • Jenna May 17, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    the sandals are Umi sandals that I got for 26 dollars last year on a discount site (probably leftover stock from an old season). But they are way to small for her and her toe is sticking out now beyond the footbed. Claudine must have fat feet because even last year we had to velcro the shoes at the very edge to make the sandal fit.

  • emeline May 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Jenna, the girls are going to be SOOOOO happy to have access to such amazing photographs of their childhood. I’m so envious…i have pictures like that of myself, but my kids only have one summer’s worth of photos… gotta get back into it! Thanks for posting them 🙂

  • Emily H. May 17, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    You have such an amazing eye for documenting your everyday life through photos! These pictures are great. And props to Mia for handling the situation so well!

  • kate May 17, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Claudine’s little jumper is KILLING me. So dang cute.
    I got separated from my mom in JC Penney’s once when I was four, and then until I was a teenager I was terrified of losing her. I can still feel that exact rising panic in my stomach sometimes, it’s such a distinct feeling. I was definitely not as brave of a kid as Mia!

  • Jen May 17, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    that story was my last summer. at our street fair, and suddenly a sea of strangers is passing me by in slow motion for the few minutes my son was lost. agonizing.

  • Quindome May 17, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Awesome job of Mia for finding a policeman. I could never have kept my cool like that as a kid, so she must be pretty level headed and a smart kid. I got lost once when I was little at a K-Mart and just hid in the coats until I heard my brother yell for me. Side note, those rompers are just adorable.

  • Christie May 17, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I love that last picture of the sisters holding hands, it says it all. Glad that Mia was found. She IS a smart little girl! I was lost once during a Mervyn’s sale and after that, I never walked far away from my mom ever again. It only took one time and it was enough to scare me for good. Great pics, Jenna. Is anyone else hungry?

  • jikits May 17, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    lovely photos, colors and kids. makes me miss NY!

  • handmadecharlotte June 4, 2010 at 12:27 am

    looks like you had a blast! i love all those pics! soo sweet! i like the gals at the bottom holding hands! SUGAR!

  • michelle June 5, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    glad everything turned out okay!
    i have 5 kids & i know that feeling of panic rising up in your chest…horrible.
    my brother sent me email regarding this product the other day:

    i’ve not used it so i can’t vouch for it, but maybe something worth looking in to 😉