But don't worry, we had a plan: spend most of the day at the Museum of Science.
I got us tickets to a 4D movie _and_ the planetarium.
I even managed to get all of us fed before our shows so that we didn't turn on each other in a hunger-induced meltdown about sugar-free jello. Not that that has ever happened. What hangry adult would insist her equally hangry six-year-old put down the sugar-free jello in favor of cookies and try explaining that "chemicals are worse than sugar!"? Who would do that?
So, bellies full and meltdowns averted, we went to the 4D movie. Bug chose his own seat in his own row, preferring to enjoy the movie alone perched on the edge of his seat, reaching out to touch vines and butterflies and turtles in the movie. Meanwhile, Squish chose to sit on my husband's lap, leaning back and holding his 3D glasses on his face as if their magical powers warranted a little hand to remind them not to get too wild. And my mom, Pumpkin, and I sat at the end of a row so that I could make a quick getaway if Pumpkin hated the experience (which she didn't because she is the world's best trooper).
After the 4D show, we made our way toward the planetarium. We were walking down a big, crowded corridor with the gift shop on one side and the entrance to the cafe area on the other when my mom asked, "Where is [Bug]?"
"He's up ahead. I see him," I answered as I watched Bug zoom through all of the other families who had made similar Freezing Day plans. I looked at my husband and said, "He wants nothing to do with us - haha."
My husband, Squish, Cora (in her stroller), my mom, and I got to the end of the corridor, and we did not see Bug.
Any parent reading this knows what happened next. Time expanded and got really effing big and really effing slow. My heartbeat got really effing loud.
My husband calmly said he was going to look for Bug in the live animal area because we had mentioned it to the boys earlier in the day.
I [pretend] calmly said, "Okay. Good. Give me a call when you find him. I will go back down the hall here [with the gift shop and cafe area]."
My mom asked what she could do to help, and I asked her to go with my husband.
I pushed Cora in the stroller and held Squish's hand, and we retraced our steps as if we had dropped a toy.
When we were going past the gift shop, Squish said, "I want a treat!!"
I told him no, and he asked why not. "Because I have to find [Bug]," I said as we stopped to look around from the middle of the hall.
I realized I didn't know what shirt Bug was wearing. I wondered if I would even be able to pick him out of the crowd at this point because I was a dummy mom who didn't know what her kid looked like and (more to the point) because I was in a full blown panic.
My phone buzzed, and I could see my husband at one end of the hall. I thought he might be calling to say he had Bug. But he shook his head when he saw me, and I looked at my phone to find a random number was calling.
"Hi - this is [a fellow momma]. My son [Little Buddy] is in [Bug's] class - "
"Do you have Bug?!?!!"
"Yes! We are right by member services!"
And that is how I found Bug. Safe and sound playing with his little buddy and his little buddy's twin brother.
I wanted to fall into the arms of Little Buddy's parents and cry and cry and cry. And thank them. And cry. And thank them some more.
We have taught Bug and Squish that if they ever end up losing their grown-up and can't find them, then they should look for a grown-up with kids to ask for help. Somehow Bug found a grown-up with kids who also happened to have my phone number.