Dogs and babies like me. I have no idea why, because while I do like babies, I do NOT like dogs. I am not mean to them, it's just that "man's best friend" seems a little unsanitary to me. This is especially true if you allow them in your home, on your furniture, in the bed...I don't know, it just doesn't seem "natural" to me. The microbiology class I took in college permanently scared the living daylights out of me in regard to what is lurkin on our floors, doorknobs and on our pets. However, I do not walk into a house that is "pet friendly" without the dog almost knocking me down with "love nips" and a dripping tongue. Ewww......
Anyhoo, I digress....that's a AHID to you texters. It seems that our family is prone to "finding" stray things, particularly stray babies and children. Once I was in the old Metrocenter going down the escalator when I spied a small child I knew from the school where I taught. The little thing wasn't more than 5 years old. She went "up" the escalator and then I saw her come around and go down it. I waited at the bottom and asked what she was doing. Seeing none of her family, I became concerned. "I've lost my mother," she whimpered. "Well, where is she?" I questioned."I don't know, that's why I'm lost," she quipped. Obviously I am not Sherlock Holmes.
So we began looking in all the stores that looked familiar to her. After 45 minutes of wandering around in the Metro, we located her mother on the second floor of McRae's. She looked up from her shopping impatiently and snapped, "Don't wander off very far, I am almost through." Not "OH, how could I have let you out of my sight, my precious Lamb, I've had all the police out in force looking for you. They were just preparing the milk carton ad!" No, she acknowledged and dismissed me and went about her shopping. Go figure. Thus began my reputation as "the baby finder."
Another time my family was riding down Greenfield Road. We saw a little boy about the age of four which was my grandson's age at the time. He had a little puppy on a leash and was just boohooing. He was hot and all red in the face and I said, "Quick, John, turn around and see what's the matter with that little boy!" And John did just that.
Ryan and I were all ears as we listened to his story. He was visiting his grandmother and had taken the dog out for a walk. The subdivision where his grandmother lived was new and he was lost. Another round of boohoos. Uh, oh. What was his name? He couldn't tell us...he'd been warned about strangers. What about the dog? Sorry, no can do...strangers may kidnap the dog. How old was he? Nada..
By this time another car pulled over and then a police car pulled up. I put the little lost boy in the car with Ryan and all the adults stood outside pow-wowing about the situation. After several minutes or so of intense adult discussion, Ryan leaned his head out the window. "GuGu," his name is ___ and his dog's name is Charlie Brown." Ok, that was easy. Little people can interrogate much better than hysterical old ones."And his Grandmother's name is ___," Ryan added. I believe a see a future in the FBI for my little Ryan.
The policeman got the telephone number from the dispatch officer and in less than a minute a completely hysterical grandmother screeches to a halt in front of the crowd. A slightly different reaction than mom #1! After a rather stern lecture from the policeman, the happily reunited family pulled back into the subdivision. Ryan and ___ had made the connection and became friends, for that afternoon anyway.
Another experience happened when my own son was about 9 or 10. I taught a high school Sunday School class and one of the young women who came, didn't have a ride to church. So each Sunday morning we'd pick her up and take her home after the morning service. She lived in a trailer park. One day after dropping her off at home, we were leaving the park, when I spied a diapered baby roaming about..roaming isn't the exact word. I'd say more like toddling. The poor little thing didn't have anything on but a diaper and couldn't have been more than eighteen months old. "Stop!" I screamed. "Do you see any adult around that baby?" I questioned. None of us saw anybody around, so we did the neighborly thing and backed up. I got out of the car. It wasn't hard to get the baby's attention (remember: babies and dogs love me) and the little person ran over to me. I picked "it" up (found out later "it" was a boy) and began walking up and down the street. After 20 minutes of banging on doors and asking people about this little lost creature, I made a decision. He was going home with us. Nobody that allowed this to happen deserved this child! (This probably wouldn't be a great idea in today's world.)
So off we went. We lived several miles from the park. When we arrived home, he was in need of a diaper change. Husband ran to town to get diapers. Son entertained wet baby while I called police. My reputation as "the baby finder" grew with this incident. (I can hear the police conversation now, Dispatcher: "Baby has been found in Brandon area." Squad car response: "Is there a short, intense lady involved?" Dispatcher: "Yes, how did you know?" "Oh, that's the Baby Finder. We'll get right on it. We know her address.")
Police were dispatched and once again my family and the police were extremely agitated. Long story short...a babysitter called police to report a missing toddler...she and the baby's young mother arrived at our home. They looked at baby, baby looked at them. Baby reached for mother...they took the baby...they listened to the police lecture and got in the car and drove away. I can still hear that young mother screaming at the babysitter (who had fallen asleep) as they drove away.
And just to be fair to the dog lovers among my readers, I have the distinction of rescuing a petrified chubby kindergartner from the top of a playground jungle gym. He was terrified of dogs and I felt his pain. Anyway, he spotted a dog on the playground and he was NOT coming down. So "the child finder" was at it again. In my billowing skirt, I made it to the top of the jungle gym, calmed the 5 year old, lodged him somehow under my left arm and brought him down much to the clapping delight of the kindergarten class at Brandon Academy. I am a legend in my own mind!
Lessons to be Learned:
1. Some mothers (& grandmothers) really care if their children are kidnapped. Some don't like to be bothered with their children if a store is having a good sale.
2. If you need advice on how to handle a lost baby incident, call me.
3. If you need advice on dogs, you are on your own.