Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cannot Fathom..

Ok, so I admit I am painfully aware that every parent/caregiver makes mistakes (I accidentally closed the bathroom door while the baby I take care of, lets call her N, had her fingers in the hinge.. oopsie and ouchie.. she forgave me though) but sometimes I am apalled at some of these mistakes.

On my way to work today we were driving down the same busy street we always drive down, 4 lanes, high speed traffic. All of a sudden we're stopping in the middle of the street (no lights or crosswalks near by.) And what do I see, a tiny little girl, must be about two years old, walking back and forth in traffic! Luckily everyone had come to a complete stop on either side of the road. Searching either side of the road (there are houses on both sides though why anyone would want to live on such a busy street is beyond me) I see no parents/adults/caregivers in sight. And as I'm about to leap out of the car to grab her (we were aways back in the line of traffic from the girl) two elderly people get out in the front of the line and help the little girl cross to the house she is pointing at. They go and knock on the door and a dog leaps up at the screen, and is quickly shoved aside by a lady (I'm assuming the mom) who grabs the child and it appears she gives her a good whatfor as she drags her into the house. (Verbally, not physically that I saw.)

I just about had a heartattack. Here is a baby girl probably the same age as N, out in the middle of the road crossing back and forth by herself. I know parents make mistakes.. but you live on a very busy street, think about a.) investing in a fence, b.) keeping your doors locked so baby can't open them and go outside on her own.. or c.) my favourite of all, watch your toddler a little better. I barely leave N alone to go to the bathroom, half the time I take her in with me, and this is in her own house.. I understand you don't want a toddler tied to your leg all day long, and maybe I am paranoid but there is just so much she could hurt herself on.. She could climb up onto the couch and fall off, she could tip over the tv stand and crush herself.. I mean she is 2 she gets into everything!

When I do have to leave her for a few moments, like if I need to take a shower uninterrupted for a minute I'd put her in her excersaucer because she can't get out of that and it entertains her, and turn on some educational baby show. It isn't ideal and I only do it like once every few months, but at least I know that she is safe, and I leave the door open so I can hear her if she cries or whatever, (the tv is like 4 feet away from the bathroom, if I poked my head out I could see her and check on her). I don't know if I sound paranoid or what, but I watch her like a hawk because I couldn't imagine letting anything happen to her.

When I saw this baby out in the middle of traffic.. right after an emergency vehicle had passed down that street too, my heart just stopped. And an ambulance went by a few seconds after they had gotten her back in the house. I just hate to think what would have happened, she's very tiny had the ambulance not seen her and she walked out in front of it at the right moment she would have been history. I hate to feel like I am passing judgement on this mother for making a mistake.. I mean it might be a onetime thing.. maybe she turned around for second and the baby was gone.. It can happen so fast.. But on the other hand I keep thinking like couldn't you prevent that from happening a little better? I get that mothers have a million things to concentrate on at once and you get tired and little things slip past you.. but wow, just seeing that kind of thing makes my blood run cold.

What do you think? One time thing/accident? or neglectful mother who should be paying more attention?


Mrs. Spit said...

Honestly, I think we can't know. Don't know if mum had a fire on the stove, a baby who went bumping down the stairs, or was just not paying attention.

It would have scared me. Thank heaven's for the good samaritans that walked the little girl across the street, and took her home. Thank heaven's that she made it home, and that the people who stopped to help her were safe people who had her best interests at heart.

Antigone said...

I caught a similar story on the evening news a few months ago. The mother was arrested.

I have zero experience with children, so I have no idea how easy it is for them to wander off like that. I suspect if I actually get one eventually I'll have her tied to me on a very short rope.