A 3 year old wandered away from his home in rural Missouri. Don’t worry—a searcher found him dirty and tick-covered but smiling and ready to eat. Here’s what I want to talk about:
The media, in every single story I read or heard, felt it necessary to explain that the father was sleeping and the mother was talking on the phone.
Is there a normal, living parent who can’t understand how a 3 year old could walk out the door without being seen?
If you know where your children are every second of the day, and if they’ve never managed to hide in the clothes racks at the store or turn the corner on a sidewalk before you’ve reached it, then don’t talk to me. My children wait until I’m on the toilet or in the shower and then head out to the front yard, where they are never allowed without my supervision. They run as far away from me in the mall as my voice will carry and they don’t come back until I’m hysterical screaming at the top of my lungs that big scary men will steal them and make them clean toilets unless they come back RIGHT NOW AND I MEAN IT!!!
How can a 3 year old, with arms and legs, walk out a door without a parent knowing? Um, he turned the handle and left. Easy as pie. And how dare that mom talk on the phone? Next we’ll find out that she had dirty dishes in her sink and hadn’t showered yet. Gee, sounds like my whole life. And the dad was sleeping? Probably because he was A) working at night or B) awake all night with the 3 year old. And what if he wasn’t? So. So he took a nap and his child broke a rule. If sleeping while your kids break rules is a crime, parents of teenagers all over the world better watch out.
Here’s the other twist: turns out, the boy was on his way to visit his Grandma. And he was only half a mile from reaching her, after walking for about 4 miles. Sounds like a kid who knows where the goodies are and how to get to them. And it sounds like a family who visits each other enough that a child can figure out how to travel from one house to the other. They aren’t dogs, you know. They don’t have good tracking instincts. If my children were dropped at the back entrance of our neighborhood, I doubt they could find their way home. ‘Course, they’d have more incentive to head to Grandma’s, but then again, she’s more than 5 miles away, so good luck there.
I’m glad the baby is back, safe and hungry for hot dogs and milk. I’m glad Halpin, the worker who found him, saw the dogs sniffing and went to investigate. I’m glad his parents have a happy ending to their story. And I hope the media, who have apparently never raised a single child among the lot of them, back off and let the family have a moment to regroup.