Little Madeline

The little girl who was kidnapped in Portugal brings all sorts of feelings to the surface. 

I come from a family where as a kid, no one left the house without being told to “keep your wits about you.”

Paranoia about unseen events, the possibility a piano could fall on your head, was king.

So, would I ever go to dinner and leave my four and two year-old children alone?  Hell freaking no.

Not that I haven’t wanted to do such things.  I can’t count the number of times I wanted to leave the kids in the car while I ran into a convience store for toilet paper or the Starbucks for coffee.  And how many times did I settle my colicky kids finally into slumber and want to walk out of the house to exercise–you know just a few times around the block?  They’re asleep.  I could make it around in two minutes…what the hell could happen?

Thankfully I had my mother’s voice in my head going “the sky will fall, dear Kathie.  Or that piano.”

And for that poor family vacationing in Portugal, it did.

I know I sound like a jerk, like somehow I’m better for never slipping into the grocery store while the kids kept themselves busy in the car, but I don’t think that or feel that.  I think I’m lucky.  I can be absentminded–losing everything from the car keys while in the car to the contacts on my eyeballs (okay, I’m not the only one that happens to, but it sure is bizarre).

I always worried that I’d be the lady driving to the gym, arriving there with no kids in the car.  I’m not kidding, that could easily have happened to me.  I swear that’s why God gave me cranky, vocal kids, just to be sure there was no way, absolutely zero chance of me walking out of the house without them.  The quiet would have shocked me.

I am so sad to hear of that missing girl and perhaps she would have gone missing if the parents had been sleeping in the next room (also a point of paranoia since kids have been snatched from bedrooms) but my God, why take that chance.  Am I really that weird?

Hopefully this is the end of my sanctimonious posts.  But I can’t promise that…

5 thoughts on “Little Madeline

  1. Heck no I wouldn’t leave my kid alone either, and like you I’ve wanted to! The most I’ve ever done is leave him in his crib screaming and having a temper tantrum and gone outside on the porch for a few minutes to regain my patience.

  2. But where is the line drawn? Thats my question. I go out to get the mail while the kids are sleeping, or maybe I take care of some important paperwork in the apartment office (which is like 50 yards away, and I have a clear view of my house.) Sure, anything could happen, and I would never run to the store or anything, but how horrible is it to leave a sleeping baby in your house for a moment or two? I always feel wrong doing it, but then again I think Im over reacting. Hard to know.

  3. JC and Jessie, I know, that’s the issue–where’s the line? When my husband’s out of town I walk the dog into the side yard to poop. The kids are in there sleeping or playing for a few moments–anything could happen, but most likely wouldn’t. They come with me when the weather’s okay, but mid-winter, at 7:00 am, I sure don’t bundle them up for the two minutes it takes the dog to pee.
    The piano scenario doesn’t kick in when I do that because it’s more of a have-to situation than a want-to situation–situational ethics, I guess.
    And I actually make fun of a friend of mine who has two kids aged five and three who still has monitors in their rooms. Monitors!!! So, while the piano scenario kicks in, it doesn’t always do so.

    What’s especially funny is that my mother-in-law and father-in-law make fun of me because I won’t let my son walk to kindergarten alone next year–across Hulton road (35 mi. per hour). They think I’m insane because their sons road the city bus at that age. I guess the line is always shifting and we just have to hope nothing bad happens when we’re doing the “have-to’s.” I guess I feel like your pressing your luck when you do something frivolous–certainly not working in the house. Balance is the answer, maybe???

  4. Great post. I was think the same thing, but you had the guts to put in writing.

    Thanks for reading my blog. I posted before I read your blog and I see you already know that you have to pour yourself into your writing. I’d be happy to include your link on my blog. (I just learned how to do that!)


  5. Like you, I never left my kids alone in the house when they were small. We lived in Japan, where it is the custom for many mothers to leave small children while they run errands. Japanese mothers love their children every bit as much as other mothers, but this is something we found very different, and we were always a little troubled by it. (We were also privately known as overly protective, rather paranoid parents.) Conversely, Japanese friends of ours who went to live in the States were surprised to find that they were expected to get a babysitter if they wanted to leave their children at home while they went to the post office for 30 minutes; this would never be expected of them in Japan. There have actually been cases of Japanese parents being prosecuted in America for leaving their small children asleep in the car while they ran errands. Unfortunately, this has become yet another issue of international dispute…

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