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AndreF
12-19-2014, 07:50 AM
I'm wondering how do you as a parent with more than two kids keep track of your children. Do you ever have those Home Alone moments when you think everything is in order and then you remember the one you left behind?

I'm wondering this because I have a short story where the MC has multiple siblings and I'm just wondering how might things play out in the real world. How easy would it be for one to slip under the parental radar?

cmhbob
12-19-2014, 09:33 AM
We have 7 in 10 years. Current ages run from 18 to 9. All single births.

We've never left one behind. People laugh at us when we do it, but we do a head count every time we leave someplace. Even when we were fulltiming in an RV, and driving 2 vehicles, we'd radio each other on our 2-ways: "I've got 3;" "I've got 4."

When I worked nights, and DW was out with kids, she'd remind the ones still here to let me know as soon as I woke up who was with her and who was home with me.

2 stories about almost losing a kid:
When DS #3 was just a couple of months old (and he's only 13 months behind DS#2), my wife stood in the church nursery, spinning in circles telling me she couldn't find the baby, and had looked everywhere for the baby. I started laughing; she was holding him. She was so used to holding a baby on her hip for the last few months that she didn't notice it.

When DD #7 was about 2, DW took the rest of the kids to go ice skating. I was staying behind with #7. It was December in Ohio, and already after dark, and about 5 above 0. I helped get everyone in the van, then went back in from teh garage. We had told DD that they'd be back in a few hours, but kids that age have no real concept of time. I called out to her to say I was going to make dinner. No answer. Called again, a little louder. Still no answer. Checked the TV room, then the bathrooms, then closets, then tearing the house apart. The dogs are getting riled up, because they see how nervous I'm getting. Calling to her "Daddy's looking for you and it's time to stop playing," etc. Getting frantic now. Called DW. "Are you sure you don't have DD? I can't find her." She turns around and starts heading home. I go outside in the frigid air, looking for footprints in the snow, thinking she's gone out after them. No footprints. DW calls me back, asking if I've checked this room or that room. I make one more pass through the downstairs before calling 911. And found her. Curled up under teh piano, hidden by the shadows. Asleep. She had gone there to surprise them when they got home, and had fallen asleep. One of the few times I've cried honest tears of joy.

Edit: i told you all that, and I'm not sure I answered your question. We just told ourselves around #3 that we were not going to end up on CNN for losing a kid. We've just made it a point to very methodical about keeping track of them. Then again, we have full time RV friends with one kid who left him behind at a rest stop once. (He was 16, and had climbed out of the RV without them knowing it.)

Let me know if I can answer this better.

Darron
12-19-2014, 09:48 AM
I am the oldest of six so I can add that depending on the age range, the oldest can often be the backup parent when it comes to carting them around and keeping accurate headcounts since the oldest is in that side chair loading up the van (screw sitting in the back).

We never left a kid a home on accident, but on occasion going to the store and once to a theme park we started to walk away and realized kid #4 was still waiting in the seat (it was always kid #4 for some reason).

That said, if they are teens and somewhat get along, one could lie and say that the other was at a practice if they wanted to sneak out until late or something. I did the opposite of this though because it was my butt on the line if anything happened while under my (also teenage) supervision.

cmhbob
12-19-2014, 10:02 AM
Yep, we abused our two oldest as soon as they started driving. They would announce as they left the house who they had with them, and AFAIK, do the headcount when they're leaving some place.

mccardey
12-19-2014, 11:34 AM
Um. I have two kids (only two) and once when we were on holiday with a bunch of really interesting people, we all piled into cars and drove off to see a Very Interesting Thing that was only a 30 or 40 minute drive away and then on the spur of the moment, we had lunch.

It was during the lunch bit that I realised we'd left my boy behind.

In my defence, he was a very quiet boy. And he was reading. He didn't notice that we'd gone.

So that was okay.

ETA: I was such a bad mother :cry:

AndreF
12-19-2014, 05:10 PM
We have 7 in 10 years. Current ages run from 18 to 9. All single births.

We've never left one behind. People laugh at us when we do it, but we do a head count every time we leave someplace. Even when we were fulltiming in an RV, and driving 2 vehicles, we'd radio each other on our 2-ways: "I've got 3;" "I've got 4."

When I worked nights, and DW was out with kids, she'd remind the ones still here to let me know as soon as I woke up who was with her and who was home with me.

2 stories about almost losing a kid:
When DS #3 was just a couple of months old (and he's only 13 months behind DS#2), my wife stood in the church nursery, spinning in circles telling me she couldn't find the baby, and had looked everywhere for the baby. I started laughing; she was holding him. She was so used to holding a baby on her hip for the last few months that she didn't notice it.

When DD #7 was about 2, DW took the rest of the kids to go ice skating. I was staying behind with #7. It was December in Ohio, and already after dark, and about 5 above 0. I helped get everyone in the van, then went back in from teh garage. We had told DD that they'd be back in a few hours, but kids that age have no real concept of time. I called out to her to say I was going to make dinner. No answer. Called again, a little louder. Still no answer. Checked the TV room, then the bathrooms, then closets, then tearing the house apart. The dogs are getting riled up, because they see how nervous I'm getting. Calling to her "Daddy's looking for you and it's time to stop playing," etc. Getting frantic now. Called DW. "Are you sure you don't have DD? I can't find her." She turns around and starts heading home. I go outside in the frigid air, looking for footprints in the snow, thinking she's gone out after them. No footprints. DW calls me back, asking if I've checked this room or that room. I make one more pass through the downstairs before calling 911. And found her. Curled up under teh piano, hidden by the shadows. Asleep. She had gone there to surprise them when they got home, and had fallen asleep. One of the few times I've cried honest tears of joy.

Edit: i told you all that, and I'm not sure I answered your question. We just told ourselves around #3 that we were not going to end up on CNN for losing a kid. We've just made it a point to very methodical about keeping track of them. Then again, we have full time RV friends with one kid who left him behind at a rest stop once. (He was 16, and had climbed out of the RV without them knowing it.)

Let me know if I can answer this better.

You answered that quite well. I can really see how determined you and your wife are to make sure your children are all there.


I am the oldest of six so I can add that depending on the age range, the oldest can often be the backup parent when it comes to carting them around and keeping accurate headcounts since the oldest is in that side chair loading up the van (screw sitting in the back).

We never left a kid a home on accident, but on occasion going to the store and once to a theme park we started to walk away and realized kid #4 was still waiting in the seat (it was always kid #4 for some reason).

That said, if they are teens and somewhat get along, one could lie and say that the other was at a practice if they wanted to sneak out until late or something. I did the opposite of this though because it was my butt on the line if anything happened while under my (also teenage) supervision.

A lot of responsibilities on your shoulders for sure. Thank you for taking the time to reply.


Um. I have two kids (only two) and once when we were on holiday with a bunch of really interesting people, we all piled into cars and drove off to see a Very Interesting Thing that was only a 30 or 40 minute drive away and then on the spur of the moment, we had lunch.

It was during the lunch bit that I realised we'd left my boy behind.

In my defence, he was a very quiet boy. And he was reading. He didn't notice that we'd gone.

So that was okay.

ETA: I was such a bad mother :cry:

I'm sure you were a good mother. Mother left me behind but I got of the car when she thought I was taking a nap. So that was my fault :). You're okay and thank you for answering.


************

Looking at these responses I'm starting to see how parents with several children are just as vigilant as parents with one child. Though the methods vary a kid rarely gets left behind let alone goes unnoticed.

waylander
12-19-2014, 08:07 PM
Oldest child - particularly if a girl - takes on a lot of responsibility says my wife - oldest of 10.

mccardey
12-19-2014, 10:31 PM
Oldest child - particularly if a girl - takes on a lot of responsibility says my wife - oldest of 10.

This is true. I was one of six, and our cousins families had 6 each, and there was always an acceptance that the older girls would be keeping an eye on (and have some authority over) the younger kids.

ULTRAGOTHA
12-19-2014, 10:45 PM
AFAIC, we didn't leave any of us behind ever.

But when I was the only child, evidently Mom thought I was with Dad and he thought I was with her and what I was actually doing was walking along the top of the short wall separating the tourists from the precipitous fall down a cliff to Crater Lake.

Dad told me not one single adult there made any move to stop me. I was three.

Mom totally forgot she was supposed to pick up my sister after work one day. After scolding my sister for getting herself a ride home once when Mom was two hours late picking her up. Sister stood outside her job for three hours in the rain waiting until her boss finally took her home. Mom was asleep. My Mom was not the most organized of mothers.

jaksen
12-21-2014, 06:49 AM
I grew up in a 'pack' of eight kids. Three kids in my family; five cousins who lived across the street. We often went places with our grandfather - the local dump was a favorite spot - and he always counted. ALWAYS. Seven girls and one boy. Count, where are all of you? (He lived next door, was a professional sign painter and we rode in his various pickup trucks, in the back. Yes, I know you can't do that anymore, but when I grew up we could.)

As we got older, add in a few friends and the count goes higher. He did it so often we'd sometimes stand around sighing, okay he's counting again. He never lost a one of us, God bless him.

I, on the other hand, only have three children and it was daughter No. 2 we were always losing. Because she'd just run off. Supermarkets. Department stores. Restaurants. Take off like a little bird.

Now that she's almost 30, we usually know where she is.

MaryMumsy
12-21-2014, 08:10 AM
Laughed about you always losing daughter #2. When my brother was little he was fast as anything. Mom got him a harness and leash. I know it sounds harsh now, but was common in Germany in the late fifties. They sold them in stores with kid stuff. He never got away after that.

MM

Bolero
12-21-2014, 12:37 PM
When I was a little kid, we were in reins. Using reins died out gradually and my mother was forever commenting on the daftness of the parents who didn't put reins on their small randomly running kids - especially when we were walking up the busy road to the shops and there were kids plunging towards the traffic.
She also found it useful for saving us when we tripped - could haul us back up before chin hit the pavement.

cornflake
12-21-2014, 12:50 PM
Laughed about you always losing daughter #2. When my brother was little he was fast as anything. Mom got him a harness and leash. I know it sounds harsh now, but was common in Germany in the late fifties. They sold them in stores with kid stuff. He never got away after that.

MM

They're not uncommon now actually, as there are still toddlers who enjoy fleeing as if the feds are after them, and parents get tired of chasing. ;) They make 'cute' leashes - usually attached to little animal-themed backpacks. I've seen a few kinds, like a toddler-sized backpack with a monkey applique on the back, and the monkey's tail extends a few feet and ends in a loop - leash and harness once you strap the backpack on the kid and grab hold of the monkey's tail.

mrsmig
12-21-2014, 06:29 PM
I am the middle child of seven and was left behind one day when we were in our usual harried rush to make the 10:30 Sunday morning Mass. I was about eight years old and had never been left by myself before. I think I must have gone to the bathroom or something and when I came out, the car was gone and the house was empty. I was peering mournfully out the kitchen door at the driveway when the family station wagon came careening back into the neighborhood with my wild-eyed mother at the wheel.

At nearly 94, Mom still remembers this incident vividly. So do I. It was weirdly traumatic for both of us.

atthebeach
12-23-2014, 09:08 AM
We have three children, each 1-2 years apart, and I always wondered what others would think if they knew how many times I counted them. But I was too scared of accidentally leaving one, so always 1-2-3 1-2-3.

I remember the horror just for a moment when I was counting and my then 4-year-old leaned to hide so I could not see her from my front seat (yes she was buckled, but still crafty). Her siblings were in on it, and it took me a moment to see the feet dangling below and catch the trick-whew!

I do wonder how my grandparents did it with 15 siblings... Wow. Enjoying all of these stories- but especially cmhbob- wow, that is great, what a large family!
3 was it for us (but we always said if we were younger when we started...)

And mrsmig, that makes perfect sense. I still remember vividly my dad racing home in the car after realizing he left my brother in his crib, when we went to get kfc (Kentucky Friend Chicken). My brother never knew we had left, but I can only imagine how you felt -I still cringe and it wasn't even me "missing"! I tend to remember that whenever we go for some kfc now.

Keyan
12-31-2014, 05:00 PM
I was one of two kids, and I still got left behind once. We were on a driving holiday; I was in a gas station rest-room, and my parents drove off without me. The attendant laughed and reassured me that they'd be back. They realized within minutes, and returned. I still recall seeing them drive off, though!

I have two kids, and I forgot to pick up one from school once. She was usually picked up by her daycare provider, this was an exceptional day. She called me from the office, and I rushed out and got her.

On another occasion, we mislaid the younger one at Disneyland. (We were in a group with another family, 4 adults total and 4 kids.) I'd already told the kids that if they got lost, they should go into a store there and tell the person behind the counter. So he did, and was waiting right there when we returned for him - maybe 15-20 minutes later.

7luckyclovers
12-31-2014, 08:26 PM
When I was a little kid, we were in reins. Using reins died out gradually and my mother was forever commenting on the daftness of the parents who didn't put reins on their small randomly running kids - especially when we were walking up the busy road to the shops and there were kids plunging towards the traffic.
She also found it useful for saving us when we tripped - could haul us back up before chin hit the pavement.

HAHA, me and my sibs were on reigns too! I thought it was just a southern US thing. There was nine of us (within ten years), and my parents would walk us like rowdy dogs down the road. They lost a few of us here and there, but not until we became teens.

I have four kids and haven't lost one. I do forget their names though.

Perks
12-31-2014, 08:30 PM
It was during the lunch bit that I realised we'd left my boy behind.

In my defence, he was a very quiet boy. And he was reading. He didn't notice that we'd gone.



You know, I only have two as well, but my youngest is so quiet, I get panicked all the time that I've forgotten her. I haven't - yet - but I totally see how it could happen.

I've never seen a kid keep her own counsel like my youngest. She's an island and seems completely content at it.

imjustj
01-02-2015, 05:43 AM
We have extended family that has two sets of twins and a single. Once, while moving houses within the same town, they lost one of the younger twins (about 5 at the time). One had fallen asleep and missed the call to load up for a return trip to the old house for another load; second twin got counted twice (yes, they were identical). They didn't realize the mistake until they unloaded at the old house.

Sometimes you can lose a child even when being careful. My mother went with her much older brother and his wife to the State Fair of Texas in the mid-50s. They were very concerned about the crowds in the big city, so they made her promise to hold one or both of their hands the entire day. She did....or, she thought she did until she looked up and found she was holding the hand of a stranger! Not too far away another little girl was looking up to see she was holding my aunt's hand. They aren't quite sure how it happened, but they managed to switch kids with all involved parties swearing they never let go!

Lia_joy
01-14-2015, 09:40 PM
I have four. we've had them fall alseep in cupboards & under things and panic til we found them... Once I told my husband I was taking our third (then youngest) with me to a lake & he forgot and searched all over the house and outside frantically.

The only time we've really "lost" any is when they've wandered off from the yard & always found them within minutes... it's been when they're 18mo - 2 1/2yrs.

Kitty27
01-18-2015, 04:23 AM
I have four and to be honest, I hide from them. Is there a Parent Alone movie?

I once had my cousin's and her husband's children while they worked on a cruise ship. They have six kids, so I was left with ten children as my mother/brothers took one look and hauled ass.

I lost two of them because they decided to hide under the beds. When I tell you I almost had a heart attack. From then on, I set up a role call. I actually lined them up in front of the house and called out names. When we went out to shop and run errands, I made them walk in front of me so I could see at all times. They hid all over the house in some demented game of drive Kitty27 crazy. It got to the point that I was thinking about buying those child leashes and going around looking like an octopus. Children from the ages of 2-5 are escape artists and I had to contend with three in that age range.

As y'all can expect, I became quite acquainted with ye olde brandy.

Layla Lawlor
01-18-2015, 05:12 AM
Not a parent, but from a sibling perspective ... there were three of us, and it was with child #3 that my mom finally added a child leash on the youngest (my brother). With two kids she could keep track, but apparently three was the point where we crossed the line into "swarm". My brother was also a lot more prone to wandering off than either me or my sister.

As the eldest child, I can also attest that oldest siblings tend to get a lot of the child-minding duties. I would often be put in charge of making sure the littler ones didn't go anywhere so my mom could attend to duties in a bank, post office, or checkout line.

There are a number of large sibling sets in the older generations of my family (ranging from three to eleven) and most of them have some story about forgetting one of the kids at a gas station, campground, store, etc.