Writer’s Workshop: Step On First


5.) A time a stranger helped you.

When my daughters were just little things I took them to the mall with me to return some clothes. I carried baby Laina and held toddler Maile’s hand as we went up the escalator to the second and then on to the third floor. On the way down, toddler Maile insisted on going by herself without holding my hand. I stood behind her and she cautiously stepped on to the moving stairs that carried us down to the second floor. Once on the second floor, toddler Maile insisted again on riding without holding my hand, but this time she insisted I step on first.

Since we had done this successfully with her in front of me 30 seconds prior, and knowing if I insisted she go first I could be facing an epic toddler tantrum, I went ahead and followed her instructions.

I stepped on to the escalator to go down with baby Laina and I turned to watch toddler Maile carefully step on, except she didn’t step on.

As the escalator slowly brought Laina and I down, down, down…Maile had decided she was actually too afraid to go by herself with me so far away.

And just like that I became that mom at the bottom of an escalator, spinning in circles with a squirmy baby. Do I leave my position to go around the store and up the escalator on the opposite side? Do I dare take my eyes off my toddler, who at any moment could decide to go down on her own after all? Do I attempt to go back UP the down with my baby in tow?

What was I thinking stepping onto the escalator without holding her hand? I encouraged Maile from the bottom, “Go on honey! You can take a step! Just like before, go on now!”

But she just stood there and stared at me with a look on her face that told me she was going to break down in sobs at ANY moment.

And then our angel appeared. A woman came around the corner to head down the stairs and saw my darling toddler standing there alone. She looked at my girl and then down the stairs at me waving with my baby, “Helllooo!! Hey so long story, but I actually left my toddler up there…would you mind helping her onto the stairs?”

And of course she did.

Because it takes a village.

And when she handed my daughter off to me at the bottom I was all, “Oh thank you so much! You know how it goes!!” and she was all, “Oh absolutely!” even though I’m sure she never in her life left a toddler on the second floor of a department store.

I love helpers.

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) A blog post inspired by the word: Spoiled.
2.) A favorite candy when you were a child. Is it still a favorite?
3.) You know you’re getting old when…
4.) Something that frustrates you.
5.) A time a stranger helped you.


  1. says

    Helpers are the best. That sounds terrifying! Being separated from your child but still being able to see them is the worst feeling ever. Thank goodness for good people.

  2. says

    I love this story! Toddlers can be SO BIG until they see it the way it really is. That was a great helper story and a grateful mommy, too.

  3. says

    I can totally see the same thing happening to me, especially with my oldest. She’s a daredevil! I still don’t like my youngest to go on the escalator without holding my hand, and she’s six. I think I inherited that fear from my mom who was scared of us going on the escalator.

  4. says

    You’re not crazy. You were trying to avert a tantrum disaster. I get it. I’m still scared to death of my kids, especially my daughter. And she’s 11!

    Had the stupid escalators not been separated on each side of the store (as they never should be) this would not have even been a problem.

    I blame the store.

  5. says

    I totally understand the “do I leave and run around or do I stand right here” scenarios playing out in your head. It’s great that a kind person happened by before you had to decide.

  6. says

    Three cheers for helpful, non-judgmental people. I too did the same thing, except I tried to run up the down, tripped, fell and put a gash in my knee that needed several stitches. It truly does take a village.

  7. says

    Ha, love that. You’re right, if she ever had toddlers, she probably didn’t ever leave them on the second floor. She probably did much crazier things than that. Thank God that there are people EVERYWHERE who have been through this before and totally get it.

  8. Tara Gauthier says

    I could see my daughter getting separated from me on an escalator, because she of course would want to do it by herself with no help. I am just glad someone stepped up to help you out. Escalators scare me sometimes.

  9. says

    Ugh! I had anxiety just reading this!! Shortly after Christmas my husband and I brought the boys to the mall to spend some gift cards. Xander, my almost 5 year and Noah my 2 year old, both wanted to go on the elscalator. I was wearing the baby on me, so figured we could easily do it. Both of them have done the escalator with no problems, just never both at the same time. I had Noah in front of me and Xander behind me. So Noah hopped on with no problems but then as Xander got on he either slipped or had second thoughts of going because he fell down and was just left to hit the moving stairs. I had to let go of his hand because I didn’t want to continue to drag him and couldn’t let go of Noah. Everything moved in slllooooowww motion and my heart fell to the floor. I’m so very thankful a very nice man helped Xander get on his feet and to me or it could have been worse.

  10. says

    I would have done the same…because I wouldn’t dare walk around to the other escalator and take my eyes off the child up there!