It was supposed to be a good outing day...Alif was the only child at home. Anis and Ahmad went for their leadership camp in Banting and Aina had some extra class and couldn't come back for outing. Alif hadn't been out of the house all the days that I went to JB for work - so, he cut school again coz Azlin was not sure of his schedule to be able to pick himup on time from school.
So, we went out for breakfast at Kopitiam near our house ... then to Giant to buy some rations for Aina. After we're done shopping, while paying at the cashier, Alif took the chance to play with the kiddie rides. We let him play for awhile and while waiting, I went to look at some products near the newstand. The next thing I know he's no longer there and so was our shopping cart, so, Azlin must have been successfull persuading him to go back. I thought that they must have been back to the car, so, I walked straight to the car, the same route we went in. When I couldn't find them at the car, I called Azlin, and he informed me that they're at playground - very brief and precise, just a 3 sentence conversation and I walked back into the store.
The moment I saw Azlin, he was already kind of panicky, and just mouthed Alif...I turn around and started looking. Running up and down and still couldn't find him. We went out to the exit doors - of course, different doors, we split - a couple of times to make sure that he didn't go out. I keep on praying to Allah - please let us find our child. Don't let him go missing on us. How could he have gone missing, with just split seconds - while Azlin was answering my call with only few words muttered? In the end, I went back to the middle exit and asked the workers who were there to look out for Alif - small boy with short hair and wearing yellow shirt with short. Just after I had finished describing him, the girl pointed out Alif , "tu tu kak!". He was walking briskly, which was not usual of him, he's usually like to run, and seems to be talking to himself or maybe singing? And after I shouted his name, he turned around and walked coolly towards me before I hugged him and scold him and asked him where did he go all at once. We stayed there, hugging each other, for few more minutes while I called Azlin to let him know that I've found Alif. Alif was very calm. He didn't cry at all - it was mummy who about to cry.
When we're back in the car, we had reflected the situation back. Alif was trying to get his turn at the playground and Azlin sat/stand watching him at near dunkin donut. Then he took my call, the moment he put back the phone on his belt, he couldn't see Alif and he looked at all the children at the playground before he realized that Alif is no longer there. That was the time he start panicking and look for Alif outside the playground and met me when I was just about to reach there....
1) Never stay too far away from the child when they're playing - it's important for the child to know where you are, just as important that you keep an eagle eye on his whereabout. This happen coz Alif couldn't see his Abah, and he said he went to look for Abah and for the car. Luckily he didn't think well enough to go look at where we parked the car, otherwise, it would have been worse. I thought of that too...
2) Need to reiterate every time we're going to the public to make sure the kids remember that they're to stay put at where they're supposed to be and not go around outside the compound to look for us - in case they can't see us -- but could a 4 yrs old understand and remember this?
3) I thought of puting on bracelet or necklace with our numbers on Alif - if we are to go out again. Dont know if this is good idea or not - but Alif disagree. He just smiled and shake his head and said those are for girls only!
I pray that this will never happen again. Alif is maybe forbidden to follow us to Giant Sec 13, Shah Alam until he is bigger ... much bigger - or maybe we just dont go there anymore is we have Alif with us - too much distraction!