Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Their bad mother?*

Ohh, have I got a tidbit for you!

Today's burning question: do you ever leave your children in the car?

I'm asking under the assumption that no one who reads this blog leaves children alone in a parked car for more than a few moments. I mean to run in a petrol station to pay for gas, dash in the post office to post a letter, or step into the pizza place to pick up your take-away order, for example.

I do.

And I always have. (Here's babycenter's poll on the subject.)

If it's warm, I leave the AC on full blast; I always have the emergency brake on and always have the car locked (but running) and have my spare key with me. Obviously all of mine are strapped in their carseats.

Now, having said all that, let me tell you about my day...

I had to take Fiver to his well child check up today. 'Well' was a misnomer as he's just cut two teeth and has caught the sniffly,snotty crap (our first illness of the child-in-school syndrome!) that the others had. He'd been miserable all day.

Anyway, due to circumstances beyond Dr. Clemson's control, they were swamped today and running behind. My appointment was at 4, I got back on my side of town (with rush hour traffic - whee!) at 6:45.

THCTD was with us and by the time we rolled through Chapin she was starving. Fiver had had FIVE shots and an oral vaccine and after much crabby screaming had finally fallen into a troubled sleep.

I knew It was too late to get home and fix supper so I decided to stop at Subway and grab EGH and THCTD subs.

I arrived in the sleepy town of Chapin and parked directly in front of the Subway (you know what those wee Subway's look like, the whole front is glass). Rather than drag THCTD and a hot, sore, sleeping infant out into the heat, I decided to leave the car running and leave them inside.

I could see the car clearly from anywhere inside but I stayed glued to the front glass, giving my order long distance to the bewildered employees.

I spotted the waddling woman eyeing my car, immediately.

She circled my car, never looked around for the mother (me), but did exhort a random passerby; a stringy old lady who whipped her husband into a frenzy. Both produced their cellphones.

Now, note that at this point, I'd been out of the car for about 3 minutes. The car was on, emergency brake on, AC on, doors locked, and I had the spare key. And I was under 20 feet away.

I innocently thought perhaps Fiver had woken and was crying, so I hurried out (leaving the Subway bint with her mouth open) passing both women. Nope, THCTD was cool and singing happily, Fiver was still dozing. I got something out of my handbag and looked around for the two women. I was going to tender explanations, maybe garner a bit of mommy sympathy.

They both had dematerialised.

By the time I got back into the subway, the police had arrived (had her lights on as well! I felt so Jesse James like!)

So there followed a lengthy explanation wherein I told her about the wait, the drive, the shots, the hunger, etc, etc ... she said I should never leave kids in the car; I pointed out the AC and that I was just a couple dozen feet away ... she said they could be abducted; I explained the car was locked and I had the spare key ... she said I should have gone through a drive through; I explained that I didn't feed my kids fast food much at all (that stunned her into silence)

Let me pause in my tale to make a statement:

I am NOT angry that these two women rang the police. Better safe than sorry, I say. I am disappointed that these two cowardly moms didn't just TALK TO ME!

I walked right by you! Why didn't you speak to me? Did I seem that imposing, edgy, desperado-who-would-nick-your-nappy-bag-like? (I was wearing my new, official, One Tough Mother t-shirt, lol)

What would YOU, blog readers, have done?

I personally would have - off the top of my head - said: "Hey, you look like you've had a day! Ya want me to stand here and keep an eye on these cuties while you grab your food?"

Even if someone is overtly abusing a child, like striking him (not spanking him), I have the ovaries to walk up to their faces and go: "Hey, bitch, you are so wrong for that. You wanna punch someone, try punching me!" (or whatever, you get my drift)

But to see two cool, peaceful, happy children in a car, witness their close by mother come and check on them, and then ring the cops, and THEN slink away is just too much.

If you feel so strongly about something then you should stand up and say so.

I have been mothering for about 5 and a half years now and I make judgement calls all the time. I will continue to do so for the next 18 or so years, minimum. Not all of them will be right, correct, or good, but I stand by them. I'm doing the best job of moming that i can do and if anyone has a problem with it, well, they can get stuffed and I'll explain it to the police, LOL!

*Apologies to Her Bad Mother!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 7:01 pm   4 comments


At 9:21 pm, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

I do, occasionally, leave my children in the car. Their older now - eight and ten - and I really never left them in the car when they were younger: this is a new thing for me. They are MUCH happier reading in the car while I dash in to do some of the things you mentioned (though, most often, they're in the car while I get my (literally) two minute chiro adjustment). The car is off (it never gets too hot around here and, if it does, they come in wherever with me for the A/C that I DON'T provide), they doors are locked and my children know the rules.

I'm right there with you - the callers SHOULD have talked to you. I'd probably have said the same things you suggested - "Oh, look at the cuties! I'll stay here and flirt with them while you go get your sandwiches!" - and I'd probably have called off the cops, too.

But, as we've already CLEARLY established, I'm really not much like other people....

At 4:06 pm, Blogger Michele said...

I have a mini-van and the windows are tinted. I have left my boys, sleeping snug in their car seats, in the locked van during cool weather while I ran into the convenience store for milk or coffee or money from the ATM. They are in full view of me the whole time and I dont think it is a big deal.
That being said, I dont think I would do it without the tinted windows, so I guess I am a hypocrite. But I dont think it is a big deal when I see someone else do the same thing as long as it is a quick trip or if the kids are older. And it does depend on the weather, It is hot as hell where I live in the summer and several kids have died in the last few years in tragic accidents. But leaving the car running with the AC on is enough to prevent an accident, and I definitely would have waited by the car and not called the police unless the kids were in danger, in which case I would have broken a window.
I guess I am kind of all over the place here.

At 10:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm sorry - you have been victimized by the cowards of today that shield themselves with the Big Brotherish CPS legislation that is killing all of us.

Since when does the STATE know better than I how to raise my children??

Too bad you did not get the cowards' license plate numbers. THAT could have been fun payback!

I am EVIL!

Kiss your babies and welcome to the club of false accusations.
Wish I could say this will be the ONLY time this will happen to you...

Katya Mom of Five with 15 years experience and much frustrations!

At 12:20 am, Anonymous Heather said...

I don't leave my kids in the car at the market, gas station, or other public domain. I have on occasion left them in the car in my garage or driveway if I had to run back in for something. However, I do NOT live in a sleepy little town.

I did at one point have the police called on me because my screaming child did not want to accompany me into a joint rather like subway (but chinese food). He sat on one side of the completely see-through glass door while I place my order on the other side of the door, no more than 8ft away. I went back out to sit near him while my food was prepared and then back inside to get said food. My friend was watching him any time when I wasn't. Some girl at the gas station next door took down my license number when she saw me a few minutes later take him to the car and proceeded to call the cops. I found a card on my door a few days later from a police detective who had come while I was away. I had to call the detective back and explain the situation. It really galled me that the girl saw me (she came into the restaurant and saw me watching him while I was ordering), didn't have the balls to say anything to me but still called the police even though I was clearly watching him. @@

Back to the issue at hand though, in my town I don't think that you should leave a child in the car to run into a building where you can't see the car. If you can see the child at all times however, and have insured that the doors are locked, then I think you have taken all necessary precautions.


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