Monday, October 4, 2010
Finding the Bunny Bee
Saturday my 3 year old twins started hockey. Learning to skate actually, in hockey gear, in a group of several 3-5yr olds (some of which we crying). Not my guys though. They actually waited a whole entire year to be old enough for this, and it is the sole reason my youngest twin (the Doodle bop) potty trained. To Play Hockey.
My husband was at work for the first morning of practice. The boys were bouncing off the walls with excitement. My parents took the Big Guy to soccer and the twins and I followed part way until we made it to the ice rink. I hauled the sports bag full of their equipment out of the truck and couldn't help but smile at the fact that I was already carrying their sports stuff. These boys could not get inside the rink fast enough.
I sat them down on a bleacher and got them ready - 2 sets of elbow pads, knee pads, helmets, skates, gloves... and a sweaters my Gram had sent them which I put over their long sleeve shirts too. These boys were beaming and cheering for the people already on the ice. When the Zamboni came out to clear the ice? Amazing! It was so cool to watch their excitement.
When their ice time was starting I helped them walk to the big line that was forming. Neither could make it more than a few steps in the skates without falling. In the line they took your name, wrote it in tape and put it on the front of your helmet. That is when I noticed how disorganized everything was. There were a few age groups on different parts of the ice and no one told you where to go next. I asked and was told they needed to check in at a table I, along with a lot of other parents, had missed. We checked in, got their jerseys and someone took the boys out onto the ice.
It was SO Adorable! In addition to the coaches there were some older children there helping the little ones as well. They showed them how to crawl across the ice and started working on how to stand. About half way through I started getting nervous because I could no longer tell where my boys were at all times. I thought I had been smart by dressing them in different color sweatpants and gloves and putting fluorescent laces in their skates. Most of the little ones had white laces, but there were a few with the same fluorescent colors I had picked out... and when you add everyone's white helmets and over sized yellow jerseys to the mix? Hard to always tell where your little one was in the crowd.
The little bit of anxiety I started to get, I tried to tell myself I was overreacting. But having 3 year old twins and a 4 year old I have been looking - always looking - and counting 1, 2, 3 since the twins learned to crawl. Besides, there were enough coaches out there and they would make sure everyone stayed together, wouldn't they?
When the hour ended they started to let the little ones off the ice. I was caught in the rush of parents to the gate. A moment later the older kids on the other half of the rink were let go from practice and some of the little ones started to cry as they skated through them. I was looking at everyone on the ice trying to spot the Bunny Bee and the Doodle bop and suddenly I saw the Doodle bop lying on the ice crying hysterically. I panicked someone had run him over with a skate or something and watched a coach pick him up and hold him. I kept looking for the Bunny Bee. He couldn't get passed me, I was right at the gate. I would look to my still crying Doodle bop being held by a coach and then scan the crowd for the Bunny Bee. I felt a panic as the coach was in the last group of people off the ice.
The Doodle bop was perfectly fine. My little one was throwing a tantrum because he didn't to play with a stick and a hockey puck today, and why had they only tried to stand up on skates! He was being given a puck as he wiped his tears and I looked at the coach and said 'Um, where's his twin... where's my other one'. He looked at me and asked me who and when I said the Bunny Bee he said oh yeah, well as long as he came off the ice he should be right here. As long as he came off the ice?! There was no one left on the ice and the Zamboni was coming out to clear it. I picked the Doodle bop up and started rushing through the crowd looking for the Bunny Bee. In the sea of white and yellow I could not find him and people were leaving. I went halfway through the bleachers yelling his name as people stared at me. I felt my heart stop as I realized there was no way he could have walked that far in his skates Before practice, never mind being tired afterwards.
I ran back to the coaches. The Doodle bop was hysterical as he realized his brother was missing. He kept yelling 'Where's Bunny Bee!' through his tears. I could not think straight, it was one of my absolute worst fears coming true. Three coaches were helping me look. We went through the locker rooms, the concession stand, the equipment store. I remember thinking that I could not breathe, but at the same time in all that noise I felt like I could hear each breath that I took. How was I going to make that call to my husband at work to tell him the Bunny Bee was missing? Who took him? Why did someone take him? Because surely someone had to have picked him up. I was shaking and gripping onto the Doodle bop. Following the coaches through the bleachers I was getting more sure we needed to call 911 and that someone had taken my son - and I would never see him again. We were getting so much closer to the door to the parking lot, WHERE WAS HE?!
He's too friendly. He talks to anyone. I've been meaning to go over stranger danger and all that with him but my God, he's Only 3!
The Doodle bop started shrieking and one of the coaches picked up a sobbing Bunny Bee. 'Why did you losted me?', he managed to get out between sobs. He had been with another family and a girl about Jr high age was holding his hand. I was so grateful and so god damned Relieved. The coach turned to me with the Bunny Bee in his arms and I grabbed onto him - while still holding the Doodle bop. He asked if I was sure I could take them both and as tears came to my eyes I told him I was sure. I thanked everyone again and carried the boys to some empty bleachers to sit them down and get them calm. And hug the heck out of them both.
The funny thing is, for the last year it's been almost impossible for me to pick them both up at the same time - which was what I always did when they were smaller. Now at about 65 squirmy pounds between the two I can not carry them together. It just doesn't happen. And with all that equipment to boot - the helmets, padding, skates... god only knows how heavy that made them. Holding both of those guys, I DID NOT FEEL ANY WEIGHT. AT ALL. I guess that's what you call pure adrenaline.
We were one of the last ones to leave the rink. Once they were calm and their equipment was off the young girl who had stayed with the Bunny Bee came over to make sure he was OK. Once we got home, and my mom brought the Big Guy back from soccer, we asked the Bunny Bee how he'd gotten so far by himself. Had someone picked him up? No he said, the girl just held his hand and walked with him. I didn't want to put words in his mouth so I dropped it right there. He has spent 2 days now occasionally remembering he got lost and he will talk about it and apologize to me. I tell him Mommy was Never mad, just so scared - and we have talked several times about stopping at the gate and waiting for Mommy before we get off the ice from now on.
While I am so thankful to that girl for staying with him, I have so many questions. HOW on earth did he pass me by and I didn't see him. HOW did he get that far if no one picked him up. It scares the heck out of me to think that maybe someone Did pick him up - and put him back down maybe? I don't know. I just know he's not hurt and we're all OK. And that I NEVER want to Ever experience anything like that again. While he was lost maybe about 5 minutes, terrifying doesn't even being to describe it.
I was not able to attend practice the following day and it was so hard for me, I didn't want to let him out of my sight. My husband was taking the twins and I was going somewhere with the Big Guy. Everything went smooth, my husband said there were even more kids in the program for the second practice but there was no chaos - so maybe it was just the rush of the first practice that threw everything off.
All I know is that in the last 3 days, I haven't been able to stop hugging my boys. Oh yeah, and I'm seriously contemplating painting those white little helmets in day glow rainbow colors.