I have always been very strict with Christopher holding my hand when we are out, even in the shopping malls. Reason being he has a tendency to get in people's way. And of course for the obvious reason of safety.
So, it was a first for him and for me.
We were in Tesco. On the way IN to the toilet, he spotted those kiddie rides and told me he wants to go on them.
On the way OUT of the toilet, Christopher let go of my hand and ran towards one particular ride. Given hubby was at the check out counter right in front of me, I decided to go over to signal to him where we were.
For that split second, Christopher turned and didn't see me there. I had one eye on him all the time so I knew when he turned around and didn't see me. I saw his expression change and then he skipped/half ran down the corridor looking at all the check out counters.
I knew he was crying by the look of all the passer by mums and dads that he passed. They were really concerned seeing a child cry and then their expression changed to relieve when I nodded that I was the mum.
When he reached the end of the line of counters, he turned around, squatted down and cried loudly. Then he spotted me coming towards him.
All this while I was behind him but kids....they always look forward!
We reached each other and he hugged me and cried and cried. We walked slowly back to daddy, he hugging my leg the whole time.
He threw a tantrum later when the sobbing stopped. Scolded me for leaving him behind. I let him lash it out for just a little while.
We had a talk after that. He told me he made a rush for the ride coz he was afriad someone will sit on it if he doesn't hurry. I asked him which was more important, sitting on the ride or not getting lost? And to exaggerate my point, I told him about bad men who kidnap kids and put them in dark rooms and make them sit on the streets to ask for money. I think I scared him silly. Though later at night he retold me his version of a kidnapping story.
Anyways....he now knows that if he ever turns around and cannot find mummy, he has to stand still and wait. Mummy will look for him and find him. No point 2 people running and no one finding each other.
I did not teach him to look for a uniformed officer coz I seldom not know where he is going. He actually never leaves my side when we are out. And he will only leave me and go to someone else when that someone is within his sight. Besudes, I usually follow him when he lets me know he wants to go somewhere. Though maybe the next time we go out, I will point out to him uniformed officers and information counters, just in case.