A Trip to the Zoo

We all know how easy it is for our children to just disappear. They're especially skilled at this when you're in public. I know you know. And if there's someone who doesn't understand how your child can become missing when you're standing right there, just you wait. Your turn is coming. And the more judgmental you are now the worse your episode will be.

So I was chatting with someone today who related this story to me. Her friend's boy has autism and tends to wander off to find a safe spot away from the world. They learned that he'll never let them out of his sight, so if he's missing just stay put and he'll eventually emerge. He also carries a backpack with him everywhere he goes. He wouldn't dream of going anywhere without it.

So one day they took him to the zoo. As fate would have it, he got out of their sight. They got comfortable while waiting. And they waited. Aaaaaand they waited. It was longer than usual and they had just started alerting security and forming search parties when he showed up.

Kids will do that to you. Put heart-stopping fear in you one minute, and make you want to lovingly strangle them the next.

They promptly left before anything else could happen, and when they buckled their boy in the car they noticed that his backpack was wet. Odd, but in all the excitement they just endured it wasn't a big deal. He probably sat in a puddle.

That night after tucking him into bed she remembered the pack. It should probably be washed if it was wet. Ah, there it was by the bed.

And it moved.

She cautiously unzipped it. She peeked inside. And there in the warm, dark interior was a baby penguin. From the zoo! Much excitement occurred, officials were called and they were told to put the penguin in a tub of ice water. Hold tight, someone was being dispatched to retrieve it as they spoke. They reassured her that they were in no way to blame; things will happen when kids are involved.

(Kudos to the zoo crew for their cool handling of this - although I suspect they feared a lawsuit for leaving the door unlocked and allowing the opportunity for frostbite, hypothermia or even drowning.)

I just keep thinking that it very well could have been Micah. You know, the boy who gets misplaced frequently. The boy who runs and hides any public opportunity that he gets. The boy who has no stranger danger.

Maybe I should be stocking up on penguin food.

30 comments:

Debbie Yost said...

Wow! That is amazing, and a little scary that he was able to pull that off. Thank goodness he was ok.

Andrea said...

I would have freaked out!! But I don't think my boys could have kept that a secret for that long. Or they would have told me and I wouldn't have believed them. That is scary to think that a kid could just walk into a zoo and take an animal and nobody would notice. Good thing everyone and penguin were okay.

The Sports Mama said...

Goodness.... a baby penguin?

Aside from avoiding frostbite, hypothermia and potential drowning... I'm impressed that he was ABLE to pick up that baby and pack it away without the mama penguin getting angry!

So it seems that both your friend's little one, and that mama penguin's little one BOTH wandered off and made plans to amuse each other that afternoon!

Irene said...

Holy cow! That is CRAZY! But how in the heck did he get that close to the penguin? And the penguin actually let himself get picked up? And where was the mom penguin? And no one saw this? It must have taken a little bit of time to unzip the backpack and shove him inside? You would think someone would have noticed. What zoo was this at?

So many questions....but such a crazy story! Thanks for sharing!

Lost said...

Holy cow! I can't believe he got a baby penguin away from its dad!
Thank goodness both boy and penguin were safe.

Madame Queen said...

A missing child is the worst feeling in the entire world. Every horrible story you've ever heard starts running through your mind.

But a penguin? I would have absolutely flipped out!

Aimee said...

I think I might have fainted dead away. A live penguin? Crap!

And Francie got lost at Disney World when she was not quite three. I know that my heart stopped beating for three full minutes. I know it.

kimmy said...

A baby penquin? Wow!!!!

I can't believe he was able to do that. That is a great story!

Kimmy

Justin said...

I think that is the Zoo's new increase membership program. Visit us and you get a penguin.

Oh I can't wait!

Becoming Mommy said...

It's crazy, but I can imagine Sasha doing that--if I wasn't one of those terrible parents who leashes their child (I am and do). He appears to have no fear and really loves animals without yet understanding that they aren't his personal playthings. Despite the goosebites he's received.

Kellan said...

Oh, that is a funny story - about the penguin - not the missing child part - that scares me to death!

Have a good day - Kellan

Caution said...

What a kind zoo! That's a Reader's Digest-worthy story!

Poltzie said...

I used to work with Autistic children. I worked with a little boy much like the once you described. One time he went missing (you think it's bad when it's your own child, imagine the horror you feel when it's a child you work with) and came back with a peacock feather, and not from the gift shop!
Not as cool as a pengunin but still stressful for me (and I'm sure for the peacock who's ass is missing a feather)!

utmomof5 said...

Okay that story takes the cake as far as kids disappearing and bring home interesting things!! I am not sure how I would have handled that one!

Laski said...

This story . . . so didn't see this one coming. My fear has always been the "losing them" part. Now, it might just be the "what they bring home" part. Thank goodness it was just a cute little baby penguin.

Karen . . . my "nekkid" pic. I was sorta hoping for more interesting Google Analytics . . . mine were way too tame and I need some entertainment :)

Sandy C. said...

*picks jaw up from keyboard* OMG! What a story! I could totally see my kid doing that in a few years (when she's quick enough to catch one).

Pam said...

OMG! I fear losing one of my kids. They are so fast and get into things to quickly. All I do is blink and they are off and running. But- bringing home a penguin- NEVER would have thought of that. It is funny- but only because it wasn't me!

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Yikes! When we do our zoo day, don't mind me when I have an extra sharp hawks eye on Micah. I'll probaby forget to watch Alexis and SHE'LL end up being the one to grab the penguin, but I know she'll spill the beans immediately. She can't keep a secret for nothing.

Spammon said...

A penguin? That is freaking awesome! There would be a part of me that would want to keep it. Mainly because I think a bear cub would be cooler.

ALF said...

A penguin?!? That's crazy. I am amazed that it was still alive and well.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Holy Cow-- you got my heart pumping (gee I wonder why?) when the little guy wandered away, but the penguin?! Can you imagine?
And you're right, I keep thinking, "what if..." for the penguin nabber.
Thank you for the linky love, I clicked on it thinking you had a similar experience I missed (duh).

Flea said...

Oh my GOSH. I just read that aloud to the kids. Bizarre.

Queen Mommy said...

Whoa! Come on, really????

Michelle said...

I was reading that going "OMG OMG OMG!" I can so see that happening with Mister Man. You don't want to know what we went through last Fourth of July. Thank GOD he won't cross the street without an adult's hand. Freaky freaky freaky! And much love to the zoo crew!

Cecily R said...

NO WAY! That is so...I don't know, the perfect example of the truth is stranger than fiction!!

My kids are SO going to love this one.

Melissa said...

OMG, I would have lost it if I found a penguin in my kids backpack!! I would have to run to 7/11 for ice..we have to be the only family on the block without ice...

Leanne said...

I LOVE this story. But now you got me thinking...what do penguins eat?

Oh, fish! I just read Burgh Baby mama has lots if it ever happens to you!

Shellie said...

That is a great story! I'd be like so excited in a way to have a pet penguin even for 15 minutes, LOL!

Michelle said...

oh that is a funny story! Only because it didn't happen to me LOL

Although I did lose Kayla at our zoo once; granted we have a very small zoo, but still, it was scary to have her out of my sight.

caramama said...

OMG! That is amazing that the boy got a baby penguin!!! I'm so jealous... I mean I'm horrified that such a thing could happen at the zoo. Um, yeah.

Now that I have a child, I totally understand why people use leashes on their kids. In most cases, it's a very smart thing to do.