Friday, July 2, 2010

I'll Never Have THAT Hour Back

It was opening day at the Marin County Fair yesterday. Suckers that we are, although we say every year we'll avoid ever going again on the first day because kids get in free, we went again. Free kids means all of the camps and daycares from not only our county but the East Bay and Sonoma, too, take to busing kids in to join the utter mayhem. Long lines, under-supervised kids, utterly harassed adults.


But Daughter is performing there, which means there we were. And there is where we'll be today, as well, although we're counting on it being decidedly less crowded during the day.

Youngest immediately saw his best friend and his family. J. is going into third grade, his brother is going into fourth grade, and his sister is going into sixth. They were being supervised by their oldest brother, an upcoming senior in high school who just turned 18.

I left Pete with Youngest and the friends, and I went to find Eldest and Daughter to check in. While I was gone, the older brother passed me. "Must be on his way to the bathroom," I thought.

I got back to Pete after about 15 minutes. The brother had been gone nearly that entire time, having told Pete he was going to get some water. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

He never came back to the carnival area where he had left his three siblings with Pete while he went to get some water.


We waited for close to 40 minutes, and then I took the four kids to the Lost Child tent to see if he'd gone there.


[And, as a point of future reference all of you people who might become separated from your kids at the Marin County Fair. Do not bother going to the Lost Child tent. They did zip, ultimately just having me write a message in their notebook in case the brother happened by. I thought about writing, "You ditched your siblings, you asshole, I'm going to kick your ass." I didn't.]

Told by the useless people at the Lost Child tent that I should track down someone from the sheriff's department, I did that. I first verified that there hadn't been some injury involving an 18-year-old male. Nope. I mean, the dude had to be hurt because how else can you explain a responsible, good, kind kid ditching his freakin' siblings?

The kids' mother was coming to meet them between 7:30 and 8. The deputy told me to go to the assigned meeting area and wait for her. In other words, be in charge of those kids for a total of at least two hours.

After a total of more than an hour, though, Pete happened upon the brother, standing at the Mott's Applesauce table, eating free samples. And acting totally nonchalant and entirely evasive when asked, "What? The? Hell?"

When I came upon him, I could only muster, "There's an hour of my life I'll never have back. Thanks, man. And I'm telling your mother."

Oh, yeah, good one, Patty.

The moral of this story for me? Never ever ever ever let Eldest or Daughter take Youngest somewhere and be responsible for him. Ever.

The second moral of this story for me? Invest in a cell phone for yourself, your spouse and your older children. How anyone can live in this day and age without one is mind-boggling.

[Photo courtesy]

1 comment:

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Yep. I'll be the first to admit that teenagers are not good for out-of-home childcare. I was a teenager and I was a horrible babysitter. It's amazing that my own three kids have lived past infancy.


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