Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Mothering Dilemma- So, tell me, what would you do?

Clearly this is a post that is in past tense, since the scenario has already happened. I have been racking my brain all day about what I witnessed this morning at the mall. I can't undo what has been done, but I am wondering, what would you do?

I had my very own mall rats at the indoor animal climbing play structure for over an hour.



They were completely enjoying themselves and were busy buzzing all over the place.

I was chatting it up with some other parents on the sidelines when we noticed a baby crawling out of the area and into the mall. This little girlie was no more than a year if that. She motored herself half way around the outside perimeter of the zone, yet no one went after her.

We were all OMG, who's baby is that? We split up from our chatty patty circle and one of us went to scoop up the girl while the rest of us asked questions of all the other parents. "We were all worried and scurrying around asking, "Is that your child?" You could hear the panic in our voices.

Seeing her crawl so far away, clearly unsupervised was really disturbing. Anyone could have snatched her up and ran off. We all know that malls are full of moms and perverts.

The baby was just outside Saks Fifth Avenue when one of us finally caught up with her. More than five minutes went by and no one had claimed the cutie. Then a panicked looking ten year old boy came over, grabbed the little one's hand, and shuffled her back into the tot lot. All the moms were aghast.

Just to put the area and ratio of space in perspective this is Natalie shown inside the play area.


You can see how far down the Mall it is to Saks Fifth Avenue. Can you believe that this baby just crawled away and got this far before the bad babysitting (brother?) noticed?

We could not believe someone would leave their baby in the charge of a ten year old boy, who clearly was not even paying attention. We thought perhaps the mom had a quick mall errand a few stores down but time went on and the boy was watching the baby girl. He was either completely ignoring her as she crawled down the mall, or he was acting inappropriately with her, like doing this:

After I filmed this I decided to confront the parent when they showed up to reclaim the kids. I planned to just let them know what I saw and make them aware. Obviously a concerned parent would have never left these two kids alone in the mall for so long, but regardless I wanted to spill the beans on the escape situation. That was just it though, no one ever showed up while I was there. I was there for AN HOUR!

ONE WHOLE HOUR.

The fellow moms and I were trying to determine what to do. I had to leave to pick up Argenida and I could not wait indefinitely for someone to show up. At the time I was leaving. We (as in the moms who were actually there) collectively decided to call mall security and alert them to the situation, and let them decide the appropriate course of action.

I am wondering what I could have done differently? This was not any of my business so to speak, yet it has tormented me all day. I have that motherly gene of panic and guilt, and this is a dilemma. Do any of you get put in these situations?

What do you do? How do you get over it in your own mind? Here it is 9:00 at night and 12 hours later I am still un-nerved. Gahhhhh!

8 comments:

Stephanie said...

OMG!!! That video turned my stomach! I think I would have reported it to mall security too. I mean, I probably would have minded my own business if the boy was good about caring for the little one but she was flipping that poor baby around in the air and letting her wander away into the mall, FOR OVER AN HOUR! I'm just floored that any parent would allow this! I mean, they have to know that that is how he plays with the baby.

Nothing shocks me anymore... said...

Well.. I HAVE been to your mall and I know the set up.. I am also former CPS worker so to be honest I would have called mall security and had them locate the mom.. page her, call her cell SOMETHING.. Let them call local police to come address her blatent neglect... Poor kids... Both need proper supervision...

Alicia said...

Helene, I seriously feel sick after reading this and seeing that video. The poor baby looked all thrown off and wobbly after being flipped like that. I honestly don't know what I would have done differently. I think you did everything you could have. It's so sad that there are family situations like this. It breaks my heart.

loren said...

I would have done the same thing.

Wait it out for the mom and even THEN probably call mall security. Usually on the signs around the play areas, they have rules about children being accompanied by an ADULT for that very reason... people leaving all their children to fend for themselves.

In Milwaukee just this past year, I was out shopping at a 3-story-ish shopping mall with my cousin when a little boy, about 2-3 years old, came BAWLING down the hallway and wandered into Hot Topic for no apparent reason.

We stopped him, asked around to find parents of the boy, looked at everyone's faces - WAITING for that frantic parent face to come around. NOTHING. We handed him off to mall security after about 10 minutes of standing in front of the store holding onto him. I don't think he spoke English, either.

I *still* worry about what happened to that little boy, so I don't think you ever get over that worry for innocent little kids, even if they're not yours.

Amy Thompson said...

Ok, so this just makes me sick!!! I would have done the same thing plus called a hotline in on the mother. This is definately lack of supervision. Have you followed up with Mall Security? This is terrible!

ree said...

Years ago when I lived in Houston, my boyfriend and I were at the mall, I think In JCPenneys. As we were walking around the men's jeans, a mom with two kids, a brother and sister, maybe 8 and 9 were also shopping. The kids were being kids, and I don't think they were misbehaving or being obnoxious. All of a sudden, mom comes up and punches the little boy in the back. I can still hear that thud in my head.

I couldn't move, I didn't know what to do. When my boyfriend walked up to me, he asked me what was the matter. I told him the story and he immediately confronted the mother. Her excuse was that she was having a bad day. No kidding! I bet your son's day was even worse! He had the cashier call security who showed up very quickly. They had the area we were in on camera so they held the woman while they went to review the tape.

According to security, if they saw the punch on tape, they would call local authorities.

We left her there bitching and moaning. Her son looked so sad, I just wanted to hug him. This was over 10 years ago and I still wonder how he turned out.

Sabrina said...

I would have called the police. That is unbelievable. Also, that video made me sick, I wonder how many times he's dropped her. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I would bet that boy has at least one other younger kid he is "watching" at the same time. I once saw something similar at Ross'. When the baby fell out of the shopping cart the boy was hanging onto, mom calmly checked out and then took the kids outside and smacked the crap out of him. If any of us had said anything, I suspect he would've got it even worse.

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