Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Footie pyjamas, with the feet cut off...

I took a nap today. I went down when I finally got Alexander down (he skipped his morning nap so it wasn't until the late afternoon) and planned to wake up around the time the kids should get home. By the time I rolled out of bed, Miriam was home, snuggled with Zoë on the couch, watching a show.

"Where are Benjamin and Rachel?" I asked.

"I dunno," she said. "I came home right away because it's an organ day and I have stuff to do."

"You're just sitting on the couch watching TV..." I pointed out.

"Yeah, but..." she started.

I waited around for a few minutes to see if Rachel and Benjamin would show up. They didn't.

"But really," I said. "Where are they? Like, they should definitely be home by now."

I pride myself on being a bit of a renegade in this generation of helicopter parenting, choosing to embrace a more free-range style of parenting, but I'm also feeling a little paranoid recently and I wanted to know where my kids were.

I checked my phone and there was a missed call from the school (but no voicemail (children: leave a message)).

"Oh, no!" I recalled. "Rachel said she was going to go to a friend's house to finish a project after school. Why didn't you wait for Benjamin? We talked about this at FHE last night when we went over the calendar!"

"I didn't remember!" Miriam objected. "It's not my fault!"

"No, no. It's not your fault. I just wish you would have remembered. I wish I would have thought to check my phone sooner. I wish a lot of things!"

I called the school back but Benjamin wasn't there.

"Maybe he's trying out for the school play," the secretary suggested.

"He's in grade one," I said (the play is only open to grades five and six).

"Oh, then he's not trying out for the school play," the secretary said, now sounding as worried about this situation as I did. "He's just a little guy. Okay. I can do a school-wide page for him."

She did and there was no response. She came back on the line to tell me so and then said, "We have a protocol for this. It's possible he walked home with a friend when he didn't find his sisters. We have a phone tree set up for each classroom and can send a message out to all the parents asking if they had him show up with their child. Our next step would be to go to the police with his description. Can you tell me what he wore to school today?"

I thought about it for a minute and then just about died of mortification.

"I can," I said. "He's wearing blue footie jammies with dogs on them. But the feet are cut off of the pyjamas because they're too small. His class had pyjama day, you see."

"Gotcha," she said. "What shade of blue?"

"Baby blue," I said. "But, I mean, this seems like a little bit much. He's only fifteen minutes late. Maybe he got hung up at the park or is busy chatting with a friend. Why don't I drive down to the school to see if I see him and if I don't then we can go ahead and call him in?"

"That sounds like a plan," she said.

So I grabbed the keys and a very grumpy Zoë and left Miriam in charge of getting the baby out of his bed if he woke up (Grandpa was in the basement working if she had a real emergency). I opened the garage looked down the street one more time and what did I see?

A boy in powder blue footie jammies (with the feet cut off to make room for his growing legs) walking down the street with...someone. I couldn't tell who.

I was still on the phone with the secretary so I said, "I think I see him now, actually!"

She stayed on the line while I jogged out to meet him and his companion (who was Rachel, wearing Benjamin's coat like a cape, which is why I didn't recognize her).

"Yes," I confirmed. "It's him. He's with his sister. She looks really annoyed with me. Thanks for all your help!"

Sorry I'm a complete basket case, I added to myself.

Rachel wasn't annoyed. She was just confused about why I was jogging towards them in full-on panic mode.

"Because!" I said. "It's 3:50! Miriam has been home for twenty minutes! I wouldn't have worried except I remembered that you were planning on going to a friend's house and then I didn't know what Benjamin was doing."

"He was with me the whole time," she said. "We walked over to Tayah's house to see if she was allowed to play, but she wasn't, and then we came home."

All's well that ends well.

And I learned a valuable lesson: if you allow your child to dress like a complete ragamuffin you will be momentarily ashamed to give their description to the general public should they ever go missing...

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