Whenever I think about what life was like when my kids were toddlers, an old expression of my grandmother's comes to mind: "Never a dull moment." Fitting, right? Little kids are nothing if not unpredictable, and they're always learning new tricks to be pulled out of their hats without warning. So I can't blame the parents of Hope Trott, the 3-year-old girl who walked a mile through the Maine snow in the dead of night. First of all, they were fast asleep when it happened.
Second of all, I'm pretty sure the last thing they were expecting their little girl to do at 4 a.m. was to hop out of bed, slip on a pair of ruby red shoes, toss a jacket over her nightgown, and walk out the front door.
Especially considering it was only 29 degrees outside. But apparently Hope was on a mission, and it involved the grocery store.
That's where she ended up, anyway: An employee found Hope outside the locked grocery store crying because she couldn't open the door and thought her mom was inside buying pizza.
Her mom -- who obviously wasn't buying pizza, since she was home sleeping in bed -- thinks Hope must have woken up in the middle of a dream about grocery shopping and gone on her little misadventure in a state of sleepy confusion. Hey, at least she thought to put a jacket and shoes on! (Too bad she didn't just click her heels together and say, "There's no place like home," when she found the grocery store door locked.)
And at least the employee who found the little girl was thoughtful enough to zip up her coat before he called 911.
My favorite part of this story might be the way police figured out where Hope came from: They followed her footprints in the snow back to the Trott house. Since the door was wide open (just like Hope left it), the cops thought they were walking in on a home invasion. They raised their guns ... only to find Hope's parents and two older siblings nestled all snug in their beds (presumably no visions of pizza dancing in their heads).
Phew! All's well that ends well -- and with a deadbolt and chain being installed on a family's front door. I can't even wrap my head around how terrified her parents must've been when they figured out what happened, or how horribly wrong this story could have gone. But thanks to one 3-year-old's uncanny sense of direction and a kindly grocery store employee, it didn't.
Can you imagine your 3-year-old pulling off a stunt like this one?
Image via jon feinstein/Flickr