Today I lost my daughter. I got her back, or I wouldn't be so glib about it, but holy crap it scared me to death.
We were playing a game that we've played before, where she is outside in front and runs up and rings the doorbell and I yell "Who is it?" she yells "Nobody!" and I go looking for her out the windows while she giggles madly. Baby was being a basket case, so I was yelling to her from the glider while I nursed the baby. She had VERY strict instructions that she was not to go past the sidewalk, or beyond the edges of our house on either side.
After a few repeats of the doorbell-ringing, things got quiet for a few minutes, maybe 3 or 4? Less than 5, for sure. I figured she was in the front yard poking interesting things with a stick, or pulling my roses off the bush, her usual pastime. But I called for her, and she did not answer.
So out the front door I went, baby still nursing away. Hollered again. Again no answer. Stomach was sinking rapidly, blood pressure rising, heartbeat increasing. Pulled baby off breast (commence irate screaming), retrieved shoes, started hollering madly for Maddie. No answer.
Across-the-street neighbor was outside, and started off down the street looking too. I visited next-door neighbor's house to see if she was there, and they come outside to look too.
Next stop, the neighborhood park (a couple blocks away). Halfway there, check with a group of kids outside playing if they've seen her, and no, they haven't (and they've been there much longer than she's been gone), so it's pretty clear she didn't go that way.
Head back to my street really starting to panic because there aren't any other ways she could have gone that don't involve crossing several streets, etc.
Just rounding the corner and here comes across-the-street neighbor with her in his arms. She's FINE. She'd seen some kids playing at the top of our street (we live on a cul-de-sac), and had run up "real quick" to say hi, and then gone into one of their backyards. She couldn't hear me calling, and I couldn't see her due to a slight curve in the street (couldn't see that the kids were outside either, or I'd've headed there first).
From the time I first called for her and she didn't answer, until I saw her with the neighbor was 10 minutes, tops. It was the LONGEST ten minutes of my life. I was practically running down the street, carrying a naked, bawling infant, and I was on complete auto-pilot. My brain just kept stuttering "Gone, she's gone, she's gone" over and over again, and I couldn't consciously think of what to do next.
She kept saying "Mommy I'm sorry I scared you, Mommy I'm sorry you lost me. I jsut wanted to go play with the other kids in their yard."
Oh, and then on the way into the house, she closed her fingers in the front door. Had a moment of panic over how quickly they'd bruised up, thinking OMG, did she just break 3 fingers??? before I realized it was leftover pigment on her skin from the painting she'd been doing earlier. It all came off in the bath :-)
So all is well, but damn, that was scary.