I am a pushover, but if you write a comment on this post I’m sure you could persuade me otherwise. Get it?
But push came to shove last week, and I bucked up and confronted a parent on something. A woman parked beside me in the library parking lot and then quickly got her young daughter out of the car. I was in the midst of getting my kids back into the car. The spots are tight, so I had to watch her car as I tried to get my son in his car seat. There, nestled in the back seat was a sleeping baby boy!
The polite Canadian in me tallied up the reasons she might leave her child: her daughter might have needed to use the restroom in the library, she had books on hold and didn’t want to wake him. But the TCB American in me stepped in – no way do you leave your child for any reason for any length of time in a car alone!
I watched over the little guy and looked for her. I got my kids back out of their car seats and ran inside the library to ask the staff if they had seen her – they had not. I ran back out and kept an eye on him again. There was at least five minutes that he was on his own.
Finally the mother comes back. I asked if she knew that leaving her child in the car was illegal; it was entirely possible that if she was an immigrant she might not know this. She said “yes”. I explained that not only can you not legally leave your child alone in the car, but someone could have easily stolen her car. Her door looked ajar, and she yanked on the handle to show me that it was indeed locked. I then reached my arm through her open window and unlocked the door. It is entirely possible that someone would have attempted this in our neighborhood. As I walked back to my car, I told her that if someone had tried to steal her car then they would have taken her son too…and he looked like a precious little fellow. I hoped the “precious” part reached out to her as a mother and showed her that I was concerned about her child, not her breaking the law.
I had to call my friend to help me calm down because the confrontation unloaded every bit of adrenaline into my blood stream. The mother never really acknowledged that it was a mistake on her part, but at least she was pleasant. These sorts of confrontations can get nasty quickly if someone feels that they are being called out. My MIL got punched in the face after she called out a mother who was mistreating her child in a grocery store.
Have you ever had to confront a parent?
* When I tried to piece together where the mother had gone to, the most logical explanation was that she had dropped her daughter off at the preschool on the block. The school is on the other end of the block, putting her car nowhere in her line of sight.