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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Had a bad twin moment yesterday evening

It was the first bad twin moment I've had, where I got outnumbered by the girls and didn't know what to do. The girls and I were out at a local mall (we were on our own last night and needed a little activity). At one point, we all held hands and stepped onto a down escalator, just like we've done a million times before. Only this time little Ree faltered for some reason. She jerked her hand out of mine, started to sit down, jumped back up because I was freaking out, then stepped back really quickly, got back off the escalator, and burst into scared tears, refusing to move. I frantically tried to coax her back on, but she was so scared it was fruitless. By this time, Ro and I were halfway down, and I knew I couldn't make it back up the descending stairs carrying the wiggling 35lb Ro while wearing flip flops. Ugh! So I was stuck on a descending escalator with one girl while the other girl was frozen and screaming at the top. I yelled to Ree not to move a muscle, that I would be right back, then Ro and I scurried the rest of the way down, ran around to the up escalator (they were in an X formation so we had to run around and out of sight of Ree for about twenty freaking long seconds), and rode the damn thing back up. I yelled the whole time to her (we could still hear each other even when we couldn't see) then finally got back to the top and ran around to the other side and scooped her up. Poor little thing was frantic, but thank god she listened to me and didn't move.

Talking it over later with my dad, he figured out I had a WAY better option, and I just wanted to share it in case anyone else finds themselves in the same situation. I should have told Ree to say put, continued to the bottom with Ro, then pushed the emergency stop button (there's one at the top and bottom of every single escalator). Then we could have all easily walked on the stopped escalator toward each other and both kids would have been in my line of sight the entire time. Scared the crap out of me. I won't make that mistake again.

~~~ Update: Just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone for your caring and empathetic comments. And thank you also to the folks who shared that when you hit that stop button the escalator will stop abruptly, so please warn everyone loudly to hang on before pressing stop. Great advice.

56 comments:

  1. I lurk often but this story made me want to just share that when my brother was about the age of your girls we were all at the mall and he threw a tantrum while going up the escalator and sat down on the escalator step, my mom couldn't convince him to stand up by the time we got to the top and his pants got 'sucked' into the apparatus and we had to emergency stop. Luckily he only ended up with a few scrapes on his behind (other than the badly torn pants) but it did require a trip to see if stitches were required. The happy ending to the story is that he is now an Eagle Scout and college graduate (and still will avoid escalators unless they are the only option). Just a word to the wise that escalators can be scary places, so parents keep your eyes open!

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  2. Oh, No! Excellent tip from your dad on the escalator!

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  3. oh sweetie ... big hug!

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  4. Glad that it all worked out, thank you for sharing, I will make a mental note to remember about the emergency button next time I am at the mall.

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  5. Thanks for the info about those emergency stop buttons -- I wouldn't have known to do that, either.

    Has your heart stopped racing yet? Yikes!

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  6. My ovaries just ran and hid. ::too scared to have children::

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  7. I don't have twins, but do have 2 girls and have had the same thing happen to me, fortunately the girl left behind was picked up by a lady who brought her to me on the escalator. (Although sadly these days, many people would be scared to help, and we are all conditioned to be wary of helpful strangers, but I was fairly comfortable that this lady was just being helpful and it turned out fine.)

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  8. So sorry....I can't even imagine how scary those 20 seconds of not seeing her were. I wouldn't have thought of the emergency stop. What a wonderful girl to stay as mamma said.

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  9. That sounds terrible. One of the reasons I stay close to home is because I am outnumbered! Your dad is a real thinker!

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  10. Your dad is so smart, M3! I wish I'd known to shout that to someone else years ago when I found myself stranded with an almost three-year-old faltering on the escalator and one in an infant carrier in my arms. I lost my grip on the carrier in an effort to catch my toddler.

    Thankfully an angel materialized behind me and caught the carrier and held my younger daughter until my older daughter and I could safely exit the monstrosity. Oddly enough, before I could thank the person who'd come to our rescue . . . my daughter was back safe in my arms and the hero had disappeared.

    Needless to say, we don't use escalators anymore . . .

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  11. Oh, thank God everyone is alright. And thanks for the tip. Very good advice (smart Dad!)

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  12. So sorry that happened and how scary. That reminds me of a story - my husband on a verrry long escalator in the underground in London at midnight (scary place to be) with me at the bottom yelling at him and my MIL at the top screaming cause she was too scared to get on - a man truly torn! :-)(that was many years ago-we have all grown up since then)
    Thanks for the tip - I will remember that if the need ever arises!

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  13. Glad everyone is okay. That would have scared me silly, too.

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  14. Your dad is one smart Bob Bob. I had no idea about the emergency stop. Will keep it in mind, since our little one has a tendency to freak out in a nano second.

    Ree is a brave and mindful little girl. What a great listener. I say break out the chocolate, bacon and crab legs (and wine for you). All three of you deserve a treat.

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  15. s-c-a-r-y! So glad all was well in the end and that Ree listened so well. Way to go Ree!!

    Didn't think of the emergency stop either. You're a smart one BobBob!

    Happy to hear all are well!

    Phew, between the getting into the car incident and this one I'd be investing in a supply of hair dye and Depends if I were you!! :o)

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  16. I would have never thought of the emergency stop either!!

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  17. I would have done the exact same thing as you! Your dad is a genius - but I think we knew that.

    If I'm ever in that situation, I hope in my panicky state, I can remember that emergency button!

    So glad everyone is okay!

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  18. I had the exact same thing happen in a very busy museum downtown. TERRIFYING. I am SO sorry that happened!

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  19. Oh my gosh! Hoooow scary. So so so sorry you had to go through this.

    At least you KNOW what you're doing now, and although it was a bad one, it was a learning experience.

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  20. Twins will take YEARS off your life! Glad it all worked out ok and what a great solution your dad thought up!

    My sister sat on an escalator as a little girl...wouldn't listen to our mom and stand up in time. Well, she was wearing a dress and those little ruffly rhumba panties...got her hiney chewed up!! The screamming could be heard ALL OVER the store. Ugh. She was a stubborn child!

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  21. It happens. Two means so much more then twice the laundry and twice the lunch. Two means when there is one of you, things happen. Super scary, good job Dad with the stop button idea.

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  22. I once worked in a department store and our training included information on how to use the emergency stop button on the escalator. You should always warn any people who are on the escalator that you are doing it so that they can grab the hand rail, especially if it's the down escalator. Otherwise the sudden stop could cause them to be jerked forward and make them fall.

    I'm glad you're all okay.

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  23. Really scary. I'm glad it all worked out. I'm always paranoid on those things with Casey. I remember being a kid and being afraid to get on the down escalator.

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  24. Anonymous5/20/2009

    This is why elevators are a viable alternative :).

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  25. A few years ago, I was getting on an escalator behind a mom and a little girl who was maybe about 5. The little girl hesitated, and there was mom going down while the little girl stood frozen at the top. I stepped up, took her hand and said "Come on, we'll catch up to Mommy." The mom was turned around backwards watching this. I smiled and made eye contact with the mom; and she didn't freak out ... thank goodness. I don't think the little girl ever realized how scared her mother was.

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  26. Oh my I can only imagine your terror and hers for those long twenty seconds. I had no idea about stop buttons, thanks for sharing.

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  27. Anonymous5/20/2009

    The exact same thing happened to me with Matthew and Sarah when they were about 3 and 1. I thought he could do it and he balked at the last minute and Sarah and I were on our way down. Thankfully, a nice lady saw what was happening and waited with him while I went back up. He could see me the whole time, but he was very upset. We didn't go on an escalator for a long time after that!

    Rejeana

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  28. Thanks for sharing that great tip, but I am so sorry that happened to you and the girls!

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  29. Thanks for sharing the story. Great advice with the stop button. It reminded me of another danger with escalators: crocs and flip-flops are dangerous. Here's a story http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Consumer/story?id=2530368

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  30. Your Dad has saved many of us with his great idea. I'll now make sure I have both girls in my arms, or maybe I'll bend down with my hands around their waists as we get on.

    Don't shoulda woulda coulda yourself. We all wish for life's lessons BEFORE we have kids. OK, maybe just me! Thanks for sharing...it certainly makes us all feel less alone on this scary journey called parenthood.

    Best to you all,

    Lori
    Mommy to Sara & Kelly

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  31. I had no idea about an emergency stop - so, yeah, it was great to share that info here M3! thanks. I would have been scared if faced with the same situation....

    Btw, I visited Daiso during my lunch break today & bought Bentos for my neice/nephew. Thought it would be a fun thing to keep them busy during a long graduation ceremony we are all going to. Well, it may keep them occupied for a few minutes. xoxo

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  32. Very scary, so glad it all worked out okay.

    I just wanted to second the comment Lise made, I also used to work in a dept store and worked in depts that were right by the escalators so got to see the effect on the passengers when an escalator stops suddenly. It taught me to ALWAYS hold onto the hand rail because you'd be surprised how often either the escalator will have a fault and stop or someone will need to hit the stop button, the force with which people are thrown forward is very strong.

    Def want to shout a warning when hitting the stop button and always hold the hand rail.

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  33. Anonymous5/20/2009

    I would really encourage you NOT to follow the advice and to avoid use of the stop button. I was hurt (not badly, but a nasty scrape on my leg) on an escalator that stopped suddenly. The force was strong enough that even had I been holding on, I probably still would've fallen--to say nothing of the fact that the person behind me fell on me anyway! And this was an up escalator. I think if someone had done it on one going down, there would've been need for an ambulance for some of the passengers. Even if you yell a warning, people might be deaf, have their hands full, not speak English, or just not be paying attention.

    The harm you could do to the riders of the escalator so far outweighs the few extra seconds of separation from your kid that it's just not worth it. I get it--you love your kid and you don't want her to be scared or hurt. But everyone on that escalator is SOMEONE'S kid!

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  34. I have had this exact thing happen. It only happened once, however, because, like you, it scared the CRAP out of me. Thanks for the tip about the emergency stop button. Why do we never think of those things in the moment? Thanks for blogging--- twin parenting is a whole THING. hugs, Heather

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  35. Anonymous5/20/2009

    Good advice - but, just a ? - what do you do to ease the panic of everyone else on the escalator when you suddenly stop it?!?!

    My twins (age 2.5) hang on to my hands (why I will only have 2 kids - one for each kid!) They would FREAK out if the escaltor suddently stopped - when they were following the rules and hanging tightly to my hands...

    Isn't Twinmaseum FUN????

    Best,
    Jolene

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  36. Had it happen to me once, too. I was about 8 3/4 months pregnant and going down the escalator with my 3 and 4 year olds when all of a sudden the 3 year old freaked out and was left at the top. The weird thing was all the people who walked right past him and went on down the escalator while this desperate and pregnant mom was trying to reach her son. Finally I said (loudly) "SIR, could you please help my little boy". He did and we met up at the bottom, but I just couldn't believe that people weren't more willing to step up to help. What a desperate feeling to lose your hold on your child. It makes you very briefly think about how awful it would feel to really lose a child.

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  37. This happened just recently to me. Another grandmother was in front of me with two children, when one just pulled away from her and stopped after she was already on with the other. I hesitated, but then thought I needed to act, and took the little boy's hand and told her I was bringing him. She was very relieved.

    Good job Ree for listening. Years ago my husband & son went with the men & children at church to a major league ballgame. After the game my son got separated from my husband in the crush of people. Part of the men went back to search and he was standing next to a wall right where he got separated. After when we praised him for it he just said matter of factly, "you always told me to stop and stay put". Best advice ever!

    Glad it turned out okay for you, but I know it was scary!

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  38. Anonymous5/20/2009

    Anonymous makes an excellent point about what can happen to everyone on the escalator if it abruptly stops. I hope M3 acknowledges this.

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  39. Yup, that is definitely the stuff that bad dreams are made of. I have had a few weird close calls with my DD but the one you described made my heart skip a beat. Thank goodness it all worked out in the end. You handled it with your best gut instinct and did the best that you could do. The communication you kept with your sweetie was key in how things ended up!

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  40. Anonymous5/20/2009

    I see the point some have made about an abrupt stop having the potential to cause injuries. Perhaps if there were an option other than these two... Anyway, it only takes a second for children to disappear and most likely any injuries from the emergency stop would be minor. So I say a child's life is worth the risk. Yes, you should warn people, but ultimately, your child is your responsibility. Perhaps it is less likely for the child to be abducted or walk away looking for Mom and get lost, but still not worth the risk. I can't imagine what it would do to a person if they chose to go around rather than use the stop button, only to find an empty space... and none of us could ever know what might happen to that child!

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  41. First, let me say that I just LOVE IT when people post Anonymous posts. Especially when they are rediculous. If you want to be "brave" and controvertial, at least leave your name. M3, I think you would do whatever you had to do to protect your child, and I think that ANY parent would do this. Ask any parent who has lost a child, or had a child taken from them... 20 seconds (Or the lifetime that those few seconds seem) is all it takes. I would absolutly do whatever I had to do to keep eye contact with my child in that situation.

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  42. I say good job! I have 3 kids and just the 2 hands:) So I know what it can be like losing hold of one of them! We take the elevator because I typically take the stroller, even though Alex is big enough to walk. I don't like the leash idea(now, I have no problem with other moms doing it, I just don't want to:) and I have two kiddos that like to run! Well, I'm glad you're all okay, aside from some frazzled nerves:)

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  43. Heart stopped as I read this story... truly every mom's nightmare, even if only for 20 seconds... to a mom, that's a lifetime. Glad all is well. Breathe. :)

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  44. Anonymous5/20/2009

    i was trained that the emergency button was for emergencies--like someone fell or was stuck. I'd be VERY hesitant to us it. I think what you did was great

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  45. My kids are 15 months apart and we had the same thing happen. Luckily a sweet little old lady was right behind us and coaxed my dd down with her.

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  46. Oh my friend, I have been there. Only one of my girls got on the escalator and the other panicked, and I ended up at the top of the escalator with the panicking one while the other one was headed rapidly to the bottom.

    I yelled until I got a random stranger's attention at the bottom and she grabbed Kenna and held her hand until we got to the bottom.

    I would have never thought of that Emergency button. Smart dad you have!

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  47. I too am a bit worried about the stop button. And BETH I am not posting anonymous. I know that this situation scared the pants off M3 and hearing it is scary too. But how about next time put the girls in front of you and make them get on- I know it is a handful but dont just have them in arms reach. Put them in front of you and literally put them on the step. I am sure M3 did not expect Ree to get scared but next time just be prepared and for the rest of us we should pay attention next time as now we have been warned! :)

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  48. OH my goodness. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the tip and advice.

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  49. Look, I like your blog a lot and am not one to post snarky comments in general, but this is an issue I really care about.

    If my name is required to make my comment believable, so be it. I fell on an up escalator on the DC metro that stopped suddenly. It hurt. Someone fell on top of me. If it had been a down escalator it's not unlikely that there would've been broken bones.

    The odds that a child is going to be abducted from a well-populated shopping mall in the 20 seconds that it takes for you to double back for her (especially when you could hear her and were yelling the whole time) is so far exceeded by the chance that you will hurt someone by pressing the emergency stop (and no, the fact that your child, though I'm sure she is special and beloved, decided not to come with you on the escalator, is not an emergency) that it just is not worth the risk.

    It is irresponsible to suggest that parents should do this, even if they loudly warn the other passengers (what are you going to do about the passenger who's deaf? or can't grab on fast enough? or doesn't know English?). It is so much safer just to wait at the bottom and ask someone else to help your kid down, or order your kid to stand still and go back for her, than to cause what could be really serious injury to many other passengers.

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  50. Anonymous5/21/2009

    i also think the emergency stop button is not a very good idea
    it might cause other people trouble or getting hurt
    i have experience with this before
    its kind of dangerous

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  51. Another thought to avoid pushing the emergency button, which may or may not alert mall authorities, just take the elevator next time. Glad the girlies are okay!

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  52. Oh my too scary. Glad that all was okay and great advice on the emergency stop button.

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  53. Two words: elevators & stairs.

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  54. OMG. Such a scary situation. I'd say you did very well with panic setting in. Lordy.

    And I just LOVE how you get all these brave anonymous commenters. Grow some balls people.

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  55. I had that happen once with Zoe, and a nice gentlemen (who in my frantic mind I thought was a child molester) stayed with her the whole time until I got back to her. I didn't know whether to thank him or slap him, but he really did have good intentions.

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  56. I am so sorry that happened to you and to her. I was a bit older (5?) when I freaked on an escalator and was "lost" in much the same way. I've certainly never forgotten it and (be warned) it took a good while before I felt safe enough to use them again. Our family learned a lot about where elevators were, or my parents divided and conquered and someone coaxed me down. I still could live without them, especially in airports.

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