SOOOOO yesterday I lost Hunter at the park. I'm a terrible parent right?! We went to our favourite park on the shore, Onepoto Domain, if you follow me on Snap Chat then you will see it often, it's a bike park and playground all rolled into one and is epic...except for when you lose one of your sons and a stranger finds him standing on the ROAD!
We met up with one of my fellow twin mum friends, Heather, and her two amazing twin girls who the Nuggets adore!
We go to this park all the time so I feel very comfortable there, the road that leads into it is only accessed by those going to the domain, so it's not super busy. The park is set back from the road and the car parks back onto it, so kids have to go past a row of cars to get onto the road. This is something all mums, but in particular mums of multiples think of, how far is the road if my twins split and run in different directions? We often look for gated playgrounds to take this risk out. As I said though, I felt pretty comfortable here and surely I could catch a Nugget sneaking to the road before he got there right?! Wrong!
I have written about this park before here. We were playing at that same slide but this time I was standing at the top. Usually I sit at the bottom so they come out, see me and then run up again. The whole playground goes back behind that slide, so If I'm at the bottom I can see most of the playground and I know they can only run back into bush area behind it. My friend and I were keeping an eye on our four toddlers who were wanting to play with different things on the playground, of course they do! Hunter was playing on the slide to my right and Oscar was walking across a wobbly bridge to my left when he fell off. He was crying so I picked him up and brought him back to the slide, I probably spoke a few words to my friend before thinking Hunter hadn't run back up to the top of the slide. Now I am not a helicopter parent, but even if I wanted to be you couldn't be with twins in a park unless you duct tape the little buggers together! I started to worry so went around the side of the playground as we often play around there, but he wasn't there. For some reason I didn't think he would have walked down the path to the road so I actually wasn't THAT worried. I seriously thought he would've snuck back up past me into playground so I checked again. He wasn't there and again I wasn't THAT worried as there is the bike track that he could have been on, so that's where I was checking next. This is why I felt terrible afterwards, why didn't I think about the road? WHY wasn't I THAT worried? I mean my 2-year-old child has been missing for a minute to two, we are in a busy park during school holidays, someone could have taken him or he could be on the road (duh Anna why didn't you think of that!).
As I was walking out to the bike path I see a nice young women walking towards the playground with Hunter in her arms. When I think about it now I am so relived, but at the time I was like "oh there you are!" She informed me she found him standing on the speed bump in the middle of the road! I mean seriously, what the hell! I felt like I needed to explain I have twins and I wasn't just a slack mum not keeping an eye on her one toddler at the park, as I felt a little bit judged that he had gotten out there.
Now I think, why didn't I think to go there first? Why wasn't I panicking and running around to check the places faster than walking? I need to get my head checked! I know this won't be the first time this has happened to a parent, but it's the lack of panicking thing that got my thinking and freaked me out a bit, maybe I am too relaxed as a parent?!
We can't win as mothers can we, there are always two sides to every emotion, thought, plan, routine, parenting style....it's endless. I was feeling bad for not panicking when I am usually quite proud of being a relaxed parent and going with the flow. I'm a mum of twin boys who are rough and tumble, I let them explore the world at a pace they feel confident with and yes sometimes they get hurt! I also don't have eyes in the back of my head, so I can't physically watch out for them 24/7 and I don't think I need too. Kids learn from mistakes. Not having eyes in the back of my head has led to Oscar receiving a massive cut to his head when he pulled a chair onto his face (his scar is how some people tell them apart) and Hunter breaking his nose riding his trike off the steps of our deck! Bad stuff happens, you have to take it all in your stride..otherwise I think I would be a wreck with the endless 'what if' possibilities. I know this isn't one of those if they fall down let them get back up scenarios, he could have been hit by a car, it is horrifying to think about. But should a hopefully once off, really make me call into question my whole parenting style?
Have any of you had any moments that lead to a crisis of confidence in your parenting?