Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sophie's Choice or: Why My Children Will Prefer to Take the Stairs

So, I'll save you some grief for when your youngest child is no longer in a stroller. Kids are afraid of escalators. I had absolutely no idea. See I have had one, if not two, kids in strollers for the past seven years now rendering escalators impossible. And even if I were to be naughty and fold up my stroller and take the escalator the child in question was probably small enough that I carried him/her up the darn thing.

So today I had a return to make at sears (side note, never buy anything from unless you know for certain that you won't be returning it, I am 2 for 2 on nightmare return situations). So I took the three kids with me, we made our return and wound up with $15 on a gift card. I figured it would be easiest to just use it while I was already there. The kids section was on the second floor. And that, my friends was when the "shizzizzle" hit the proverbial fan.

The way it goes in our family is that Ivy and I lead the way while Bentley and Gwen fight and bicker and putter along behind us. So, proceeding in our typical fashion I had Ivy's hand and got on the escalator going up. 1.5 seconds later I realize that Gwen had made it on the escalator but Bentley was still at the bottom quivering like it was a death trap. I urge him to just step on, certainly he had done this before, right? Meanwhile Ivy and I are drifting further and further up and away from Ben.

He finally gathers his courage enough to make a move but then freaks out and tries to go back down off a stair. He's completely panicking as he realizes that he could be stuck there forever and is not getting any closer to the bottom. He starts trying to go faster and... faceplants it on the escalator. He's wailing. Absolutely wailing, but Ivy and I are approaching the exit and as I think of her trying to get off the escalator alone horrible stories from the past of people's shoelaces and hair and phalanges getting gobbled up at the top of escalators flash before my eyes.

It's a real pickle. I felt like Sophie in Sophie's Choice. I really did. I quickly made a plan of action, despite Bentley's situation looking awfully precarious, I figured I would have time to get Ivy safely to the top of the escalator and then run down and catch Bentley before he made it to the top. It was kind of a nightmare all of the sudden as I contemplated the possibility that I could lose two children to the monstrosity.

Then a nice old man (who looked at me with utmost disdain for so carelessly abandoning my son-- can't blame him) saved the day. He picked up Bentley and carried him up the escalator to me.


So life goes on and ten minutes later we are ready to leave the store, we have to go down the escalator. Having graduated the school of elevator hard knocks I picked up Ivy and Bentley and proceeded with caution to the mighty beast. It was then that I noticed Gwen cowering and nudging her way backwards away from the escalator.

For twenty minutes we sat there at the top, trying to help Gwen muster up the courage to get on the escalator. Ivy, Ben and I went up and down ten times to try to show her that it was going to be okay. Now, I could have understood if Bentley had a little post traumatic stress but Gwen? Really. I got lots of fun looks from passersby as I gave my best motivational speech about how if she was afraid of escalators she would be stuck on the "first floor of life" for ever. She didn't care.

Finally, finally, after much bribery and much motivational speaking we finally made our triumphant return to the first floor of Sears. None the worse for the wear but having learned some valuable life lessons. Like that you should maybe not just assume that kids know how to use escalators. Or at least put them on it first. Or better yet...just take the elevator.


Karina said...

haha. Thank you for reminding me to post my escalator episode with my three girls a couple weeks ago at Dillard's. So funny!

Alison K. said...

That totally happened to me once too. Eleanor and i made it to the top and Grace was still at the bottom crying. And it was one of those stores where the down escalator is like on the other side ore something, so i would have had to leave her there by herself to get down to her. Some good samaritan came and scooped her up and helped her to the top.

marisa said...

love it! This just made my day.

Christina said...

I was literally bawling after an emotional school-induced-meltdown (not my meltdown, but I did have sympathy pains). Then I read your blog and laughed. THANK YOU! What a relief to be reminded that we all feel like horrible parents sometimes. And since I feel like you are a fantastic mom and even you don't think so, maybe I'm no totally ruining my children.

Stef Bassett said...

Kris you are so funny, wish I had been there!

Jill Bowcutt said...

ok, I'm afraid of those dang escalators! I can only imagine from the kids perspective! What a nighmare though. Now that I have 3 I've decided to just stop going out in public at all. It's just not worth it anymore :)

leslie the licorice stick lady said...

I have had almost that exact same thing happen to me going up an escalator! On day in the mall, my oldest who was not afraid of escalators practically ran up the thing, not waiting for the rest of us. I had my youngest in my arms and had already started ascending, when I turn around to see my middle daughter trying to get on, but a little afraid. When she did get on, she stepped onto a crack, which soon split into two steps, and she fell backwards which made her start ascending lying flat on her back, upside down! This was all in front of two make-up ladies behind the counters at the base of the escalator. My daughter was screaming, my first daughter had already made it to the top and was out of sight, and I was running down the escalator, but not getting anywhere, since it was ascending! I was so embarrassed and sad for my little girl! I finally made it to her and helped her up and comforted her. It was scary, but we laugh about it now! ;)

julianne orth said...

i had the same thing happen to me, i went up with one kid- holding the stroller so it wouldn't tip- assuming sydney would follow (when i only had two kids) and there she stood at the bottom crying, and luckily some nice lady held her hand until i could get back to her, but it was a very helpless feeling going up and her staying there crying. very scary for kids, but they get over it as they get older :)