So I sat on this for awhile.
You know… with that totally illogical fear that by the six degrees of Kevin Bacon, the person you are writing about will stumble upon your little blog, recognize themselves, and be totally ticked off at you?
But this is eating at me.
I’m not really offended by people who might call me a helicopter parent.
One: it takes someone who has experienced years of infertility (who WANTS a baby) to understand what it is like to suddenly have a huge miracle laying in your arms.
Two: It takes someone who is deaf to understand that my eyes are my ears… and if I can’t see or hear my child, your imagination doesn’t do justice to the guilt I feel when he IS hurt and I cannot find him.
And since most of you probably aren’t two for two on those, I don’t feel all that terrible if you roll your eyes at the tight Itty Bit radar I keep when we are out in public places :)
A very busy children’s museum during the weekend. Chaotic would best describe it, so my job was simply to not lose track of my kid.
Who suddenly had to pee.
(of course… remember his public restrooms quest?)
Insert Helicopter Mom: there is no way the kid was going to go to the men’s room by himself in a very crowded public space.
So I ushered him into the women’s restroom – which was uncharacteristically empty.
Except for one little boy.
Insert six degrees of Kevin Bacon (or person who I’m going to tick off)
I knew this little boy.
He was two years old.
And he was crying. Frightened sobs.
Tearfully trying to shake a stall door open with real fear in his eyes.
Mama Mama Mama Mamamamamamamamamamama.
I saw his mother’s shoes behind the stall door and suddenly realized that she had intentionally locked him out.
I was stunned.
I immediately stooped down and reassured him over and over that his mommy would be right back. I tried to keep the shock off my face as I wondered why the stall door didn’t fly open for Mama Bear to check who was talking to her little one.
Somehow, the fact that he was still a breastfed little one made him seem all the more vulnerable; and the situation all the more confusing.
Recall what my kiddo looked like at two years old?
He looks so teeny. Now picture him crying his head off because he’s scared, been left alone, and now some woman he doesn’t recognize is talking to him in a strange bathroom.
The poor kid had tears and I was absolutely helpless.
I got Itty Bit into a stall and I kept an eye on the abandoned little one.
Another woman entered the restroom and sympathetically looked at the distraught toddler.
And as overly-careful as I can be accused of being, I was still trying to figure out why someone would trust a huge building full of strangers with her beautiful defenseless boy.
Call me paranoid, but as someone who has firsthand experience in vetting criminal histories for people who target these kind of places… one time is too many.
I feel ill even writing this.
And quite possibly there will be backlash in real life – depending on who reads this. I hope they know this was written in genuine concern.
What do you do?
Would you have handled this differently?
At what age do you send your son into the boy’s restroom by himself?
Am I paranoid?
(and for the record, I’m not a mean mom who takes pictures of her kid crying :) here’s the original blog post about his little freak out)