Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Eli Gone? Oh Where, Oh Where Can He Be?

Yesterday we made a trip to BabiesRUs to get Liza her next car seat. I had forgotten to jot down the two or three seats we needed to look at so consequently we were hanging out in the store calling our friends to have them look up car seats in their Baby Bargains book. While Stephen was on the phone, I went to get Liza a flannel sheet since her room with the humidifier running is a tropical ice box at night. I asked Eli if he wanted to walk across the store with me. He said no but as I walked away he told Stephen he was going with me.

Two minutes later I hear a page over the store intercom system asking for me to come to the front of the store. I think, “Andrew found what we were looking for and called me back on the store line? That was a weird thing to do and how in the world did he do it so fast?”

I see Stephen off to the side, still hanging out talking on the phone near the car seats. As I get to the front of the store, I realize all the store employees are looking at me. I wonder if I should brush up on my Miss America wave. I walk on up to the front and see my son sitting up on the counter with one of the employees snuggling him as he cries.

“There she is!” he cries excitedly.

I collect him and walk back to Stephen. I ask Stephen if he was missing anybody.

“I thought he was with you!”

Eli was on his own for approximately one and a half minutes before he realized he wasn’t with either of us. He walked to the front and told the women at the counter his name and my name and they paged me. We’ve never talked about what he needed to do when he gets separated. He did it all on his own.

I was torn between being horrified that we let him get away from us and terribly proud that he took care of himself on his own.

He rode in the cart for the rest of the day. Not because we made him but because he wanted to.

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3 Comments

  1. MAY
    on January 13, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Andrew never went off on his own, but Eli’s Dad certainly did. Once he scooted away through clothes racks, only to peek out as if playing hide-and-go-seek before things got out of hand. Another time he made the same move while we walked down a clothing store aisle, but he failed to re-appear. I panicked and insisted that Pop and I split up and scour the store independently; Pop warned me to stay put while he hunted. Stephen discovered that he was lost, and we only had one other incident after that–at a crafts fair in Malvern where he left the building. We’re proud of Eli for knowing what to do; his father was always too interested in pursuing something that interested him to figure out what he should do. Fortunately his escapes from parental observation were brief. And the one time he realized that he was actually lost was the time that he realized that he had some responsibility in the “let’s stick together” equation. Now you know, as we learned, to trust but verify.

  2. on January 13, 2008 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m 1) glad that he knew what to do and was awesome about it and 2) greatly tickled that May used a Ronald Reagan-ism in her comment.

  3. on January 13, 2008 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    They can be slippery little suckers. Good for Eli for knowing what to do. Let me know when he runs off on purpose and hides from you when you start searching – ah, good times!