I remember getting lost when I was 5 quite vividly. I was in a busy market and lost sight of my parents... The panic! In the end, I went to the man on the sweet stall (a trustworthy sweet-selling adult), but couldn't tell him where we'd parked, or where I lived. Finally, I saw my mum frantically searching for me in the crowd - oh the relief!
There are times in our childhoods when we can live in a bubble of ignorant and fairy-tale filled bliss. Heaven exists. There are no illnesses that can't be cured by strawberry medicine. Santa, the tooth fairy (whom I invited to my birthday party until I was about 10), the Easter bunny. Then suddenly something pierces through that bubble - reality begins to make itself known. Gone is the safe world of childhood, and you realise your vulnerability.
It happened to Lily in a DIY store on Saturday. We were talking to a member of staff, the boys were in their pushchair, and Lily was sitting on the step at the front of the pushchair. "Was" being the operative word. When we'd finished finding out about wood burning stoves, we looked down and she was gone.
It was one of those moments in which you feel 95% certain that all is OK, that she's behind one of the displays, or playing with something she shouldn't down an aisle. But there's that other feeling - "what if someone's taken her?"
I found her moments later: red faced, with tears streaming down her face. I'd never seen her so frightened, or felt her hug me so tightly. Part of me was pleased she'd had a little scare - hopefully it will prevent her tendency to wander and do more to help her to realise the dangers than my 'stranger danger' warnings. The other part was sad: she'd felt afraid and alone for probably the first time in her life. And probably formed one of her first long-term memories.
The weekend was pretty eventful all-in-all. On Sunday night, I began to have contractions - it was one of those "are they, aren't they?" situations. The problem we have is that we need to get someone around to look after the kids (luckily have some reliable friends), then drive 50 minutes before getting to the hospital. So if I wait until the "OMG she's coming!" stage, it's a home or car delivery and all the horrors that go with it.
When the twins were born, my waters broke and they arrived after wave and wave of continuous contractions in 2 hours. I know that twins are a bit of a different kettle of fish than a singleton, but it does make you think...
Anyway, at midnight on Sunday, after 2 hours of monitoring (in which time I had some pretty horrendous contractions) I was dosed up with yet more medicine and sent on my way. 2.5cm dilated, but not enough to say I am "in labour." It's good really - I'm only 36 weeks... but GOD it would have been nice to get my body back!
And so to the caterpillar... Ray and I are scrimpers and savers, but once in a while we throw caution to the wind. And by caution to the wind, I mean we spend a bit of money (hardly extravagant). But spending begets spending, and after an hour or so in an Ikea like shop we'd bought a few items we probably could have done without. The bug had bitten - we were out of control!!
And by the till, there they were. 6ft caterpillars, stuffed, colourful and covered with alphabet letters. What's not to love? Percy ended up in the trolley.
Unfortunately this "little" friend has already become Lily's trusted ally - which meant he was dragged around for most of the evening and then had to be carried up and stretched out on her bed. I'm just hoping she doesn't want to take him to school tomorrow...
We're often complaining that it's hard to shop when you have all the kids with you. Hence the reason for our trip out today (school/crèche picking up the slack), so we could actually look at kitchen cupboards "properly" (oh, the excitement!) without screaming/crying/running off and dummy dropping. But perhaps our kids are necessary to make shopping trips a little more 'targeted' and timely, and to save us from our tendency to grab furry friends at the till... Anyone want to borrow them?