Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Would Walk 500 Miles

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.


The Stevens said...

good point.

Irish Cream said...

I know I've had a few "run aways".

There was the morning I was trying to get my purse and keys, and had inadvertently (in loading the car) let the 15-month-old out the door. Her 3-year-old sister was outside, too.

Next thing I know there's knock at the door and I see a truck idling in the middle of the street. I go to the (open) door and there's a man holding my 15-month-old's hand. She'd wandered into the street!

Yeah, it only takes about 15 seconds. You could really be doing anything in that amount of time. Talking on the phone, going to the bathroom, fixing dinner, starting some laundry, or watching a soap opera eating bon-bons (cuz that's all moms really do, ya know).

Glad he's home safely!

Megan said...


Tara said...

The media either have no children or have nannies raise their children, so they have no clue what children are really like. My youngest sister wandered off when she was around 18-24 months. My mom would let my sister go in the backyard to walk around with the dog on a leash while she remained in the house. The gate was always locked and there were lots of windows to look into the back yard, so no problem, right? Well, one day the gate managed to not be locked. So what did Katherine do? She stripped down naked, opened the gate and let the dog take her on a walk. When my mom realized that Katherine was gone, she went out looking for her, calling the dog. Like the kid was going to come when mom is calling. She was down the street a ways when she heard the dog. Someone down the street had found butt-naked Katherine and the dog coming out of a field and picked her up and put some clothes on her. They had no idea whose kid this was, so they called the police. My mom found them before the police arrived. The cops came over and talked to my mom a bit just to make sure things were ok. It's a good thing this didn't happen today or CPS would have been all over my parents. And that was how we meet the neighbors down the street.

Big Bahama Mama said...

I'm laughing so hard I almost wet myself. God bless Katherine!