Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Watch your children, please!!! (sorry about the length)

Today the kids and I took a much needed trip to the mall with my mom, my 17yr old sis, A, and my 1.5yr old brother, G. It wasn't that we needed to go to the mall, we just needed to get OUT. Out of the house, out of the neighborhood, a whole new change of scenery kind of OUT.

We were really enjoying our walk around the mall. It was cute seeing my side-by-side double stroller with Little Man and Miss Mushie and G in his stroller. They interacted together, babbled back and forth, y'know, baby stuff. We decided after some window shopping, some returns we needed to take care of, and some lunch, that the kids needed some time to stretch their legs and play. So we headed to the kids play court.

The kids playcourt at this mall is really great. It's a sunken "lounge" area, complete with a bouncy type of floor, climbing stuff in the shapes of breakfast food, and seating all around the edge for parents to sit and watch their children play, if they choose not to partake in the play themselves ;)

Let me say that when M and I bring our kids somewhere that may have a lot of other kids or somewhere that they can climb and there's the potential for injuries, we hover over them "like white on rice" as the saying goes. Yes, we let Little Man run his heart out, but we keep up with him. Mushie crawls all over the place, and we are right there next to her, crawling and climbing. My eyes are CONSTANTLY in motion, watching my kids, watching the other adults in the area, making myself aware of who and what is around me. So what I saw in the play area today REALLY disturbed me.

There was a little girl, she couldn't have been any more than 2, and she was crying in the middle of the play area. None of the adults were "laying claim" to this little girl. After a few minutes, she stopped crying and went back to playing. About 10 minutes later, I see her. Again, laying on the floor, crying. This time, my mom goes over to her and asks if she's okay and the little girl starts crying out "Mama, mama, mama>" My mom proceeds to take her by the hand and walk around the entire play area, looking for this little one's parent or responsible adult. NADA. No one spoke up and said "Oh, she's with me" or "Here I am". After about 5 minutes of my mom walking around with this little girl, we start to consider calling security, when I notice a man, outside of the play area, completely engrossed in cooing over a baby in an infant bucket that's sitting in a cart. He was the only person left in the vicinity that we hadn't asked.

I walked over to the man, asked him if he had a child in the play area, to which he answers, "Yes." I ask him if it's a little girl and he says "Yes." I motion to my mom who is now holding the hysterical little girl and he says, "Oh, yes, yes. She's crying??". He puts his arms out to the little one and she lunges back, shaking her head forcefully, saying "Noo... mama, mama, mama" To which the man proceeds to tell me that her mother is shopping and he is watching the little girl and the 10 day old baby. A few seconds later, another man appears and the little girl lunges into this other mans arms and the man walks off with her. The first man says, "Her parents are shopping and I am watching their children."
Hmmm..... good watching skills, wouldn't you agree?? (note the heavy sarcasm). Mind you, the whole time we were looking around for an adult to match up with this poor child, I was aware of this man watching the baby. He didn't look at the play area once, his eyes stayed focused on the baby bucket. I almost didn't ask him because he was so engrossed in the baby, I thought for sure he couldn't have another child playing in the kids area without supervision. Boy was I wrong.

Now, if my mom or I had been dangerous child kidnappers, we could have walked off with this little girl in the blink of an eye, and NO ONE would have noticed for quite a while. Why was no one WATCHING this little girl?? What is so difficult about making sure she is SAFE??

I am a passionate person. I am passionate about breastfeeding, and cloth diapering, and attatchment parenting, and many other things that I try to talk to people about. But I recognize that others parent differently and may not agree with the choices I've made with my children. But this chaps my hide and is an area that I feel EVERY parent needs to take special care in, regardless of the other parenting choices you make. WATCH YOUR CHILDREN, PLEASE!!! Make sure you know where they are, who they are with, what is going on around them. BE AWARE of your surroundings. It only takes a moment for the worst to happen.


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