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Forgotten Children

It's been the talker all week: In their haste to board a flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, a family of seven forgot one very important thing -- their 4-year-old. The girl was found in tears at Ben-Gurion International Airport by a police officer, who sorted through the mess. The parents learned she was not on the flight only after the captain notified them in the air. "Apparently one [parent] relied on the other, and this is what happened," the girl's grandmother told Haaretz.

In a tragic incident last month, a 21-month-old boy died in his father's sweltering SUV in Loudoun County after being left there for nine hours. The father apparently intended to drop the boy off at day care, Tom Jackman reported. The father's co-worker found the child.

When we last discussed parental forgetfulness, people hit both ends of the spectrum:

"There's no excuse for forgetting a child (other than maybe a car accident/heart attack/etc.) It's the parent's responsibility to pick up the child. Once Parent A picks up the child, Parent A needs to call Parent B to inform Parent B. If Parent B does not get the call when expected, Parent B needs to then call Parent A to find out what's up. Simple and sweet," wrote one commenter with the sig There's No Excuse.

Another wrote: "I used to walk home from swim practice when my mother forgot me. Happened more than once. It was a couple of miles only, but after dark in the winter with wet hair, not an amusing walk. I've never forgotten to pick my daughter up, but twice in 4 years I've driven past her day care turn-off and a bit down the road before remembering that I needed to drop her off!"

Clearly, forgetting a child is a nightmare for any parent. What are some of your parenting nightmare moments -- the kind you wish you could take back and do over?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  August 8, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Newsmakers , Preschoolers
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Comments


Eeek, like anyone is going to put their head on the chopping block for this one!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

"a 21-month-old boy died in his father's sweltering SUV"

Rack this one up as a car seat fatality!

Posted by: The Killer Safety Device | August 8, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

People need to tune in to their families. We're all so obsessed with our over-committed lives that we become bad parents. Yes - BAD PARENTS. How you can be driving and not remember who is in the car I'll never get. Time with your kids, even in the care, should be interactive and of quality. Children are a choice - live up to them if you choose them.

Posted by: Susan | August 8, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I drop my kids off at preschool/daycare every a.m. Even if I haven't had my morning cup of coffee, I think I can remember whether the 14 month old is in the back seat when I leave the premises!!!

Posted by: Dadof2 | August 8, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Two quotes from previous blogs were used in the OP column today. The first quote came from a person who listed his/her name as "There's no excuse". The second came from a poster named Olney, who has contributed 33 comments since the blog began.

Stacey, if you are going to use quotes from your readers, please give them credit for their work. Thanks.

Posted by: Blog Stats | August 8, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

With seven sibling, Mom & Dad would always have us sound off (1, 2, 3 etc) in order each time we went somewhere.

Leaving a man behind is for rookies!

Posted by: family of ten total | August 8, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I think they should give some Public Service Announcement advising busy parents to put their wallet or purse on the floor of the backseat when their child is in the car. Getting one's purse is part of the daily routine, while getting a child out is not. I have seen too many of these child deaths from well-meaning but forgetful parents.

Posted by: Neighbor | August 8, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to vote with Susan on this one. If we weren't running around so much, things like this wouldn't happen.

Posted by: Moxiemom | August 8, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

put their wallet or purse on the floor of the backseat

What happens when a police officer pulls the driver over & asks to see their ID, when it's in the back seat?

However, there might be some other essential item that parents could put on the backseat, if they don't find their child(ren) important enough.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

When I was in high school, my Sunday School teacher's wife left their daughter in the car and she died. While I cannot fathom how someone could forget about their child, I know that the mother must think of her child each and every day and be haunted by her actions. My wife always drops our daughter off at daycare and I always email her asking what our daughter did when she was dropped off. Part of the reasoning for asking is just being curious about my daughter, another part is the painful memory of another young girl who was taken too soon.

Posted by: Jason | August 8, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

So you reach behind you and get your ID form the backseat.

Posted by: mlc | August 8, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I have only sympathy for the airport family (assuming that they weren't actually trying to lose a kid!) It's actually not that hard to lose track of kids in a situation like that, especially if the family has split into 2 groups for whatever reason (one kid had to go potty, whatever.) We've had close calls ourselves.

Posted by: acorn | August 8, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I think it's easy to sit in judgement...but it was a horrible accident and we have no way of knowing what the heck was on the parent's mind. And wasn't the point of the blog what was YOUR worst parenting mistake...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

While loading kids (infant and toddler at the time) into the car, I put my guitar on the roof and drove off. I just thank God, I didn't put the baby in the car seat on the roof instead! Never did find guitar. But I have a healthy fear of making a disastrous mistake and that helps keep me alert.

Posted by: anne | August 8, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

"What happens when a police officer pulls the driver over & asks to see their ID, when it's in the back seat?"

You tell the police officer where it is and ask if it is ok to get it. No brainer. I carpool. My purse is in the back seat because there is a person in the other front seat.

Posted by: Me | August 8, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

How often do you see a car driving down the road with a coffee mug or briefcase on the roof?

I saw a video on tv of a car that had the baby in a carseat on the roof. It fell off in the middle of a busy intersection and was a miracle that the child was not injured.

Posted by: Me | August 8, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Here's another close call. After switching between cars and moving car seats around, I buckled my daughter into her seat not realizing I'd failed to buckle the seat itself into place. I had to hit the brakes when someone cut in front of me and daughter (car seat and all) flew into the back of my seat. No one hurt but let me tell you, I needed half an hour in a parking lot to calm down before I'd get behind the wheel again after that one.

Posted by: anne | August 8, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

The worst thing we have done? I have had my husband forget to leave booster seats for me when I had to pick up the kids. I had to strap them into the car and pray that nothing happened.

So far no forgetfulness has occurred outside of that. We have actually had the opposite problem where both of us have shown up to pick up the kids.

Posted by: Billie | August 8, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Four year old was spending the day at Grandma's which is about two miles from my office. I was about 3/4 of the way home from work and realized that daughter wasn't at day care (where husband always picked her up) and I was supposed to get her. Had to turn around and back track in DC rush hour traffic. Luckily she was in good hands and my mother understood why I was late - habit had taken over when I left work. I think it is less you forget about your child as opposed to other habits, other children, assumptions about where they are take over.

Posted by: jbl | August 8, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Its so easy to blame the parent and take a hard line, "there's no excuse," stand. And the idea to have a Parent A, Parent B plan is a good one. But even the best laid plans...

I'm a single mom and by that I mean totally single--no support, no visitation, no shared custody. Long story, but that's how it shook out. My husband left us when my oldest had just turned two and my newborn was twenty days old.

I recall one incident in my parenting that is at once mortifying and yet which also gives me compassion for forgetful parents, even for those who lose a child because of it.

My girls were about two and four and, being used to waking up every night to nurse my two year old, I woke up and went into their room only to find them gone. I panicked, wondering if I had perhaps let them sleep downstairs in the playroom, though that was not like me. When I ran downstairs, they weren't there.

I ran out to the car to see if for some crazy reason I had let them sleep there after coming home, though I had never done that before and can't imagine having done it at night. They weren't there. I ran back inside.

By now I was in tears, and thinking I must have been wrong, they had to be upstairs in bed and as I bolted back up the steps I remembered midway up that I had taken them to a close family friend for a rare sleepover to give me some much needed rest. They were safe and sound and probably dreaming away and I had simply forgotten in the dead of night about that arrangement with my friend. Single parenting is hard and I had finally asked for some help.

But really, any parenting is hard, particularly with jobs, commutes, expenses and the buried stressors of modern life.

It breaks my heart when any child is left in a blisteringly hot car to die, or otherwise left behind. Just as much as anyone I want to say, "But seriously, how could anyone possibly forget a child?" The fact that it happens though, is proof that it just happens, in spite of our best efforts.

My forgetfulness may have had benign consequences, but it was forgetfulness just the same. I mean how could I have forgotten where I took my children? Somehow stress, years of interrupted sleep and the monotony of our daily routine conspired to be greater than the power of present, rational thought and even of simple memory.

Compassion goes a long way in evaluating actions which, although devastating in their consequences, may be innocent in their intent.

"There but for the Grace of God go I..."

Posted by: Lindsay Kate | August 8, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I think that accidently leaving a child in the back seat of a car is on the same level as someone who leaves their house and forgets to put on pants...

which leads me to believe that Britanny Spears losing the custody of her kids is probably a good thing!

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | August 8, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Actualy, Ben-Gurion is one of the safest places in the world to forget a child. No biggie.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I've never forgotten my kids anywhere, but I've definitely driven past daycare and had to double back or left lunch bags and diaper bags at the house. This week I had a major report to rewrite after a policy change but my kids wouldn't go to sleep- I'm talking 9:30 and they're begging for water. I finished the report and got to sleep at 2:30am and made it to my 9am meeting on time w/ 4 hours sleep, but I came close to many mistakes that day. When people talk about parents being forgetful, I want to ask about those allnighters that some jobs or graduate schools require.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I didn't forget my kids, but did have one bad weekend where I failed to strap them in. Several times.

We'd gone out shopping or to the park that weekend while my wife was away for work. They'd recently learned how to climb up into their car seats, so I'd open the door and they'd climb in. I busied myself loading groceries, stroller etc. into the car trunk, keeping an eye on them. Then, I got into the driver's seat, strapped on MY seat belt, and started the car.

I set my rear view mirror so that I can check on them by flipping it. As I was driving out of the parking lot, I saw two, happy toddlers in their car seats. UNBUCKLED. Pull over immediately. Buckle them in. Resume driving while feeling like an idiot. Repeat. The first time I gave myself a break. After it happened two more times, I felt like turning myself in.

The boys still crawl into their seats, but now it's on my checklist of things to do.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | August 8, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"What happens when a police officer pulls the driver over & asks to see their ID, when it's in the back seat?"

You tell the police officer where it is and ask if it is ok to get it.

Yes, and very slowly. You don't want to set them off and become a news story.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I was just telling this to my DH the other day...

The community pool was walking distance to our house - not right next door, but a good walk (dad loved to do it, mom would always drive).

Dad and I went to the pool, I couldn't have been more than 7. I don't remember exactly what happened - but it must have been that we were going to change and go home - and we couldn't go in the same locker rooms, so he went to the men's, I to the women's. Okay, then I guess I got out, and I couldn't find dad anywhere. I probably didn't look too far. So after a few minutes, I guess I thought he left, and so I walked home - again, not right next door, a good walk, across one busy intersection. So probably a good 20 minute walk (if not longer). I got home and I believe mom was not all too happy, kept asking where dad was, etc. This was obviously well before cell phones. So eventually, the phone rings, you know my dad DID NOT want to make that phone call - to tell mom that he didn't know where I was. Well, she told him I was home, with her. I definitely remember most of the episode...
Of course, that wasn't really dad forgetting me as much as not really telling me where he was.

I do remember that once or twice I was in the supermarket and the kid was in the infant car seat. And so I'd unbuckle him if he was fussing while we were checking out or whatever, then I'd put him back in. And then I'd put the bucket in the car, forgetting to buckle the seatbelt, cause he was in there and I figured that I had done it. So I would drive off and pull over and buckle the seatbelt.

But I don't think we had any horribly terrifying incidents. Of course, I completely know how it could happen. And I feel sorry for the parents. It much be a horrible thing to live with.

Posted by: atlmom | August 8, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Every day, millions of parents drop their kids off at daycare without a hitch. Every so often a parent forgets and the kid dies--and it's plastered all over CNN. It's a tragedy, but I don't think you can call it an epidemic.

To those who say we are over-scheduled and whatnot, you're making a generalization about society and using freak, statistically-insignificant occurrences as justification. That's silly.

Posted by: Bob | August 8, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

The AIRLINE holds some responsibility if that family was treated the way we were on N.W. airlines. We have five children, and they were all under age 12 and the airline had to switch us to another plane (NOT b/c of our problem but b/c the other plane was cancelled. Who knows why - on a clear sunny day).

The airline assigned us 7 different seats all over the airplane, right as we were boarding. I was furious. Our toddler up to our 11-year-old were all supposed to sit with strangers??? I complained until we at last got put into 2 groups - but I wonder if that other family even knew who was sitting where. Once you get in those planes, you can't move around and check on each other until at least 20 minutes after take-off.

There is simply no priority for putting young children with their parents. The airlines expect you to do on-line check-in, etc. but that isn't always effective.

Keeping track of the children while following airline policy is tough, esp. with no kindness from the airline employees who are always pushing you around and telling you to hurry up and stopping you from boarding unless you are in a specific seat.

Posted by: Amelia | August 8, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Now that I'm going to be a single mom, I don't know what I'm going to do! I hope I dont forget my precious!

Posted by: Donna | August 8, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

How much parental forgetfulness is due to excess consumption of alcohol, or being under the influence of substances, legal or otherwise ("Mother's little helpers")?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"the airline had to switch us to another plane (NOT b/c of our problem but b/c the other plane was cancelled. Who knows why - on a clear sunny day)."

It was likely a profit motivated optimization. They realized based on the booking that they didn't need to fly both planes, everybody could squeeze into one. So they did.

You could complain that "they're only looking out for their own profits!" which is partly true; or you could say "that's what helps keep ticket fares down" or you could say "Hey, they made the GREEN choice by eliminating an unnecessary flight." They're all true.

I just wish they were honest with us instead of saying "mechanical difficulties." Bologna.

Posted by: CS Dad | August 8, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

You could complain that "they're only looking out for their own profits"

They were also looking out for their shareholders' best interests. That's the American capitalist way!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Now that I'm going to be a single mom, I don't know what I'm going to do! I hope I dont forget my precious!

Posted by: Donna | August 8, 2008 9:55 AM

How ya doing hon? Is your husband still acting as if there's nothing wrong with sleeping with your brother? You should keep your children away from them!

Posted by: Nancy | August 8, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse


As for the family at the airport, I still don't get that. I mean, somebody must have been holding an extra boarding pass for the kid. Wouldn't you notice if you had two stubs and one whole ticket left? Why didn't they assign kids to each parent. Dad, you keep track of A,B,C and mom has D and E. Why weren't they in line together? You may have separate seating, but as a family you can usually board first if you have small kids and board together. Sounds like they were majorly unorganized and rushing, which will mess you up every time. We all mess up, but that was pretty bad.

All we can do is learn from our own (and other people's) mistakes and try to do better.

Posted by: Kay | August 8, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

My mother and I were talking about this the other day. If cars have alarms that beep at you when you leave your lights on, how hard would it be to have something similair if you try to lock the doors while someone is in the backseat?

Oh- and as for this
"How much parental forgetfulness is due to excess consumption of alcohol, or being under the influence of substances, legal or otherwise ("Mother's little helpers")?"
I would guess some of it is probably due to sleep deprivation.

Posted by: reston, va | August 8, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

In this day and age it is so easy to blame everyone else. It was the daycare’s fault because they switched their hours; therefore I left my kids there until dawn the next day. It was the car manufacture’s fault for making such a big car that I couldn’t see my two year old in the back seat now he’s dead. It was the contractor’s fault because he didn’t put the medicine cabinet up high enough and my two year old took an overdose of my pills.

Honestly, is it ever the stupid parent’s fault when things go badly? Is Madeline McCain missing because the hotel failed to realize that her parents would rather eat dinner than ensure her safety?

Now, I am not perfect, but I would never leave my child in an airport or in a car. Leaving a child in an airport may make for a great movie, but in real life, it is just neglect.

Worst thing I have ever done? I bought my daughter one of those convertible beds. My husband converted it into a bed with a steel frame; one night she fell on it and busted her nose. Nope, I didn’t blame anyone else, but the bed was gone that night and I told my daughter how sorry I was that she hurt her nose.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 8, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the poster who noted that airlines are quick to divide up a family, regardless of how young some of them are. there should be policies that require one supervising adult to be with their child at all times. What if there is an emergency?

Posted by: Kay | August 8, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

In this day and age it is so easy to blame everyone else. It was the daycare’s fault because they switched their hours; therefore I left my kids there until dawn the next day. It was the car manufacture’s fault for making such a big car that I couldn’t see my two year old in the back seat now he’s dead. It was the contractor’s fault because he didn’t put the medicine cabinet up high enough and my two year old took an overdose of my pills.

Honestly, is it ever stupid parent’s fault when things go badly? Is Madeline McCain missing because the hotel failed to realize that her parents would rather eat dinner than ensure her safety?

Now, I am not perfect, but I would never leave my child in an airport or in a car. Leaving a child in an airport may make for a great movie, but in real like, it is just neglect.

Worst thing I have ever done? I bought my daughter one of those convertible beds. My husband converted it into a bed with a steel frame; one night she fell on it and busted her nose. Nope, I didn’t blame anyone else, but the bed was gone that night and I told my daughter how sorry I was that she hurt her nose.

Posted by: irishgirl | August 8, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

sorry for the double post, I got some weird message so I tried to post again.

Posted by: irishgirl | August 8, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I've definitely done the get to work, reach to get purse out of baby seat (I always put my purse *in* the baby seat or right next to/on floor under it) and realize that on my 40-minute commute the baby fell asleep, I was stressing about a presentation and forgot that this was my day to drop off. Back to the daycare center we go...
I have also stopped to drop child off at daycare, reached to get child, slapped my forehead and said "duh, Daddy's driving her in today". Exactly the same thing, but in reverse.
Definitely the best advice, to always put the purse/bag whatever in the back seat, by the baby seat or car seats. That way when autopilot kicks in, you have a back-up reminder and can't leave the car with the child in it.

Posted by: inBoston | August 8, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I think it is crazy that you will remember your purse, but not the baby?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The King (Latino) may be gone, but he ain´t forgotten. My son, Cristian Manuel, may be thinking that his father abandoned him. Wrong. It was his mom who did so, and of course, I never got full custody. So when I had to return to my homeland, for security
reason, I returned my son to his mom, as my purpose wasn´t to hurt him or her. Now she is hiding my son even from my mom, he seems to unhappy. Let me be clear: If anything happens to my son, PASUPATA TIMES

Posted by: samurai3 | August 8, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The King (Latino) may be gone, but he ain´t forgotten. My son, Cristian Manuel, may be thinking that his father abandoned him. Wrong. It was his mom who did so, and of course, I never got full custody. So when I had to return to my homeland, for security
reason, I returned my son to his mom, as my purpose wasn´t to hurt him or her. Now she is hiding my son even from my mom, he seems to unhappy. Let me be clear: If anything happens to my son, PASUPATA TIMES

Posted by: Can someone please translate | August 8, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Worst scare I ever had was my 3rd child's first day of preschool (age 3). I dropped middle and youngest at preschool, and then went to the grocery store to shop, as was my habit. When I got to the store, I opened the door of the minivan, and I about had a heart attack that my son wasn't there. In the 15 minutes it took to get to the store, I had already forgotten that I dropped him off.

Posted by: pamsdds | August 8, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Hey Stacey! What's up with the gloom and doom, horrifying, dead baby glog on a Friday? Most people wake up in a good mood on Fridays for no other reason than It's a Friday. Us parents are headed into the weekend thinking fuzzy bunny thought about spending time doing fun activities with our spouse and kids. Then we read your column about a few horrifying parenting episodes, and it's like, "OOF", a kick in the stomach. Ugh!

How about doing ugly on Mondays and saving the uplifting and lighter parenting topics for Fridays? I know it's a tough crowd here, but maybe, just maby, if you tried to create a happier atmosphere, the participants would think more positive.

Then maybe, just maybe...

We would begin to treat each other with kindness, compassion and understanding..

The word would spread...

Smiles would appear on the faces of us overworked, frazzled, exhausted parents...

Anxiety would melt away, fear dissapate...

The mood would spread to our offspring and fill the streets with sounds of laughter of excited children to our streets as the kids would hold hands and play nicely throughout the neighborhood...

Birds would sing in unison as to declare a newfound serenity...

Peace would break out throughout the entire world...

And then the human race could become one with nature, one with the world, one with the universe, as it was in the beginning!

How about it Stacy? I know you can do it! Please, oh please! I just know you can!

Posted by: DandyLion | August 8, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

And maybe DandyLion will start using condoms.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Or Mother of 4 will go on the Pill.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse


Amen to the pill comment. Perhaps one child was left behind because, uh, five is too many?

Posted by: anonymous | August 8, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Irishgirl - do you mean one of those cribs that converts to a bed when the baby gets older/bigger?

Posted by: tsp 2007 | August 8, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

How many of you can make a bottle (correctly) in a daze? Yah....I think someone would have a better chance of remembering their wallet/purse than a sleeping child after a 40-60 minute commute that starts at 6am...it's called autopilot.... you have a better chance of remembering how to get to work in a daze than a change in routine.

In the case of the new father with three months experience in child rearing who accidently left his child in a hot car to die...tragic.

I've never forgotten my child, but if I had like 7-10 kids to keep track of, I think that, between the two of them, the odds of forgetting about one of them, once or twice, would be likely to occur over a period of 365 days, 18 hours a day, over 18-25 years. Cut them some slack already.

Posted by: changingfaces | August 8, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't have a baby, but I find it easy to forget my wallet, lunch bag, coffee mug, whatever in the car. I also sometimes leave the lights on and I always thank my car when it reminds me by dinging. As someone else mentioned, why not a similar alarm to indicate the baby is still strapped in?

A while back I read an article that presented statistics showing an increase in the number of these types of deaths after the push was made to move child seats to the back seat. Out of sight, out of mind (especially if that mind is stretched thin by the dual demands of parenthood and employment). You can only say "I would never forget" until the day you do forget.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"And maybe DandyLion will start using condoms."

No effing way!

Posted by: DandyLion | August 8, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

tsp 2007

Yes, it is a convertable infant to child bed. We liked it when we bought it, we just never thought she would hit her face on it. I still feel bad. There was a lot of blood and we had to have the neighbor who is a nurse come over to help us.

I really cannot cut anyone slack who loses the best thing in their life. Accidents happen, but forgetting your child is not an accident.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 8, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"And maybe DandyLion will start using condoms."

No effing way!

Posted by: DandyLion | August 8, 2008 11:43 AM

Proving, once and for all, that DandyLion is a selfish pig.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Maybe not "a selfish pig" but at least an effing ham?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Hey Stacey! What's up with the gloom and doom, horrifying, dead baby glog on a Friday? Most people wake up in a good mood on Fridays for no other reason than It's a Friday. Us parents are headed into the weekend thinking fuzzy bunny thought about spending time doing fun activities with our spouse and kids. Then we read your column about a few horrifying parenting episodes, and it's like, "OOF", a kick in the stomach. Ugh!

How about doing ugly on Mondays and saving the uplifting and lighter parenting topics for Fridays? I know it's a tough crowd here, but maybe, just maby, if you tried to create a happier atmosphere, the participants would think more positive.

Then maybe, just maybe...

We would begin to treat each other with kindness, compassion and understanding..

The word would spread...

Smiles would appear on the faces of us overworked, frazzled, exhausted parents...

Anxiety would melt away, fear dissapate...

The mood would spread to our offspring and fill the streets with sounds of laughter of excited children to our streets as the kids would hold hands and play nicely throughout the neighborhood...

Birds would sing in unison as to declare a newfound serenity...

Peace would break out throughout the entire world...

And then the human race could become one with nature, one with the world, one with the universe, as it was in the beginning!

How about it Stacy? I know you can do it! Please, oh please! I just know you can!

Posted by: DandyLion | August 8, 2008 11:23 AM


Hey DandyLion - why dont you come on over to the Celeb Blog. Thats always fun and cheerful. We have lots of delightful pix of soccer players and we make fun of all the MM's on this blog. Plus every now and then we'll come on this blog and instigate some trouble. Go Lizards!

Posted by: Regular Celeb Blog poster | August 8, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Oink!

Posted by: DandyLion | August 8, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Irishgirl - sorry you and she had to go through it but thanks for the info. I doubt that's something I would focus on when buying a crib.

Posted by: tsp 2007 | August 8, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Regular Celeb Blog;

Hmmm... Let me think about it.

I don't know squat about cellebrities, and I doubt I can even spell the word correctly. (not that I'm claiming to know anything about parenting as I make it up as I go along) I can't really do picts either.

And the thought of leaving Irish Girl and Emily and friends I've made along the way isn't very appealing.

Of course, it wouldn't hurt to take a peak at it.

Maybe I'll give it a shot.

Posted by: DandyLion | August 8, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Once I loaded my 4-year old twins in the car in our carport, got in the driver's seat, closed the door, put seatbelt on, key in ignition, ready to turn the key. At that point I realized the baby was still in the house in her crib.

This is the closest I have come to forgetting anyone.

I was traumatized by my mother not picking me up from the first day of my new school when I was 9 years old. I waited for hours and finally started walking. My mother thought there was some after school event I was going to participate in. She didn't really apologize and the feeling of being forgotten stayed with me for a long time. I have vowed to do my utmost not to put my kids in that position. My husband and I often check in with each other as to who is supposed to be where and with whom.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my God! I FORGOT TO HAVE CHILDREN!

Posted by: 40 year-old | August 8, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I have never forgotten either of my children, probably because of what happened to my mother in 1943, eight years before I was born. She put my one-year-old brother in the bathtub for a bath and went downstairs and began talking with our next door neighbor. Meanwhile, my brother pulled himself up by the faucet and accidentally turned on the hot water on. He was dead when my mother found him some minutes later. For this reason I never, ever left either of my kids in the tub unattended when they were babies. This is a true story - I can't imagine how horrible she must have felt.

Posted by: titusmom | August 8, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I never forgot to get children from daycare, but my husband wasn't totally trustworthy. He didn't have a regular schedule of doing it. I had one day a week when I needed to work late.

I'd pretty much pester him with calls to be sure he got everybody home.

I never thought he was a bad parent, just that he wasn't totally reliable about those sorts of things.

My children are 4 years apart so the older one would remind his father if he hadn't gotten his little brother.

Posted by: RoseG | August 8, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

but my husband wasn't totally trustworthy.

More than enough reason to dump the bast*ard!

Posted by: To RoseG | August 8, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

One time I was confused about the time to pick up one of my sons (age 12 then) after soccer practice. I got there about 20 minutes after practice, when it was dark & cold. I ran all around frantic and finally found him. All the other parents would have happily driven him home or called me, since I do that for everyone all the time. It was horrible, and I still feel bad about it over a year later. I apologized profusely to him, and we set a lot of other backup policies in place. And, I am usually the quite-early mom, too.

Posted by: LindaP | August 8, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

face it. our children have turned into just another thing to do, another errand to run, another thing to drop off, another thing in the way of getting things done. as long as this attitude persists things like this will continue to happen.

justify it all you want with the "if i'm happy, my family is happier, we both need to work full time to put food on the table (since the DC area is apparently the only place to live)" but we need to review our priorities and put the family back at the beginning as opposed to personal fulfillment. until we do, things like this will continue to happen. stop passing the responsibility for your children to different people all the time. they are your children, raise, care and protect them.

Posted by: lolly | August 8, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I have to believe that drugs and alcohol are to blame in many of the instances. I find it almost impossible to understand HOW a parent could simply forget about their child!! Perhaps if you had ten, like in the movie "Home Alone", and you just couldn't keep track of that 10th kid. But we are talking about cases of an only child being forgotten. It is simply and utterly mind boggling.

I just don't know how you can teach people to be more responsible for their OWN KIDS! My God, if they aren't attentive or interested enough, how can you possible make them be more responsible.
I shudder to think how these people can look themselves in the mirror. Really, unimaginable. Good luck to them, but more so, good luck to the poor child.

Posted by: D. Rodriguez | August 8, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't know.

I have a lot of compassion for parents who make one tragic mistake and something awful happens. We all make mistakes. Most of the times the consequences are not so deadly.

At the same time, since having my son I have never forgotten he was in the car. I can't quite wrap my head around it. But then I only have the one.

Posted by: Shandra | August 8, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"I've never forgotten to pick my daughter up, but twice in 4 years I've driven past her day care turn-off and a bit down the road before remembering that I needed to drop her off!"

I have the opposite problem. My daycare is close to my regular shopping center. Everytime I go to that area for something other than dropping off the kids I always turn into their daycare first. I am programed to drive there.

I do not believe there is any excuse for forgetting your child. But forgetting to make turns or the like is not the same thing. Both examples cited the parents were not aware anything was wrong until someone told them. That is completely unforgivable.

Posted by: SE | August 8, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Okay, not really relevant, but funny. When I adopted my second child, I booked a seat for her on the way back only (obviously). And adoption trips are short notice, so I was one of the last to purchase tickets, and when we arrived to check in at the airport in Hong Kong, the ticket agent informed me that the plane from Newark to DC was overbooked and they'd booked my 3 yo on a different flight from me. I just looked at the ticket agent and said, "well, that's not going to work." And of course it all worked out, but I will never forget the moment of wondering what in the world the airline was thinking.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

When I saw today's title, I assumed this would be about helping orphans in Darfur, or Rwanda.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

they'd booked my 3 yo on a different flight from me.

And, yet, if the airline has asked the age of each passenger, you would have screamed Invasion of Privacy! Why do you need to ask ages?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

no Anon - it is about spoiled first world parents who are too busy to remember their children in the car or on their way to Paris. things are tough all over.

Posted by: lolly | August 8, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

When I saw today's title, I assumed this would be about helping orphans in Darfur, or Rwanda.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 2:44 PM


So what is stopping you from taking some action?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"So what is stopping you from taking some action? "

Nothing more tiring than the tyranny of do gooders.............

Posted by: not my problem, that's why | August 8, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 44-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her.

That makes it perfectly ok for a slimy lawyer apparently. Scumbag

Posted by: knew he was a phony | August 8, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

In almost every case of a forgotten child in a hot car, the problem is that there is an unusual schedule for that day. Like usually one parent drops off the kid, but today the other parent has the kid. And just a little thing distracts them, and they are not used to having the kid in the car, so this happens.

So please tell everyone: ESPECIALLY ON DAYS WHEN THE SCHEDULE IS UNUSUAL, CHECK ON THE KIDS! BE EXTRA CAREFUL!

Posted by: pat.99 | August 8, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Nothing more tiring than the tyranny of do gooders.............

No, not do-gooder but do nothing but talkers!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I went on my honeymoon and forgot the groom! I was so use to being single (and having attending so many weddings!) I just got into the car and drove off!

Posted by: not even saying my name! | August 8, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the poster who noted that airlines are quick to divide up a family, regardless of how young some of them are. there should be policies that require one supervising adult to be with their child at all times. What if there is an emergency?

Posted by: Kay | August 8, 2008 10:47 AM

My experience with the airlines has been the complete opposite of this. I've had several occasions where the gate agents bent over backwards adjusting seat assignments when we were flying with the kids because weren't seated together.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

My experience with the airlines has been the complete opposite of this. I've had several occasions where the gate agents bent over backwards adjusting seat assignments when we were flying with the kids because weren't seated together.

Couldn't dump the little b*ggers, eh?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't have kids yet, but the one piece of parenting advice my father ever gave me was "If you put your kid on the car, make sure you put them on the hood." He said there was more than one occasion when he and my mother got into the car to see the baby (my older brother) sitting in his car seat in front of them! Embarrasing to be in that situation, but definitely an effective deterrent. No stories of me on the hood - by that time they had apparently gotten the hang of it.

Posted by: Kelydtha | August 8, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

At a kids' swim party, I got caught up in conversation a moment too long--and my son went into water too deep for him. I was able to quickly pull him out (another mom actually jumped in as I was lifting him out) but boy the guilt and fright stayed with me for a long, long time.

Drowning is one of the most common causes of childhood death in AZ and I suspect many other places.

Posted by: ItshotinPHX | August 8, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

fr Kelydtha:

>...He said there was more than one occasion when he and my mother got into the car to see the baby (my older brother) sitting in his car seat in front of them! Embarrasing to be in that situation, but definitely an effective deterrent....

What a GREAT idea! My wife and I want to have at least one child, and I'll definitely pass along THIS story! I can just SEE baby staring us from the car seat thinking "what are mom and dad doing there?"

Posted by: Alex | August 8, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Never left a kid anywhere, but in moving the car seat back and forth between cars, usually first thing in the morning when in a rush to get to work, we've forgotten to actually buckle the car seat into the car. So now if one of us starts out in the morning and realizes we have the car seat but aren't supposed to, we place it in the other vehicle sideways so the problem is immediately apparent. Or someone tries to have good enough sense to do it the night before. We had a lot of close calls before figuring that one out.

Posted by: its hot here too | August 8, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards seems to have forgotten about his wife while spending time with his mistress. Also forgot to love his mistress as an excuse for forgetting about his wife.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I have never forgotten my kids, but my SIL forgot my 5 year old at dance class once. I was at a training that night and had her drop DD off at class. My husband was due to come home after work and she was going to be dropped off by her carpool. Well, my MIL decided to invite SIL and my kids to dinner so SIL went there and DH took the bus right to her house. When he got there the other 4 girls were running around and her assumed 5 year old was there as well. Meanwhile, her carpool dropped her off at home. Thankfully one of the neighbors noticed and sat on the front porch with her to called me. I was angry that the 3 adults who were left to be responsible failed so miserably. But it is yet another example of how a simple change in routine can cause someone to be forgetful, even of a child.

Posted by: Momof5 | August 8, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I haven't had any child forgetting events (knock wood), but I do have a classic story about my grandmother and father in the 1940s. He grew up in Queens, where there weren't any major supermarkets, just neighborhood markets you walked to. Because they were small and cramped, all the mothers just left their babies outside in their strollers. One time, my grandmother just walked home with her groceries, leaving my father outside. Family legend says she didn't remember until my grandfather got home from work and asked where the baby was. He was still outside the market. Amazing to think how times have changed in some ways, but not in others.

Posted by: Agent XX | August 8, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Agent XX-
That happened to my grandmother too! My mom told me that story just last month. Same thing, left my uncle in his "pram" (they're Scottish) outside the store and walked home without him. My mom said Gran was mortified. apparently my granddad thought it was hilarious, but then again he has a peculiar sense of humor.

Posted by: leap1 | August 8, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

My husband left our son at the after school program twice. I work quite a distance from the school and home. Each time my husband was playing golf. We have 1 child. An elementary school aged child knows when they aren't as important as a golf game. Our son is now a college student and he still hasn't forgotten the feeling. BTW- I came to the rescue each time and dad suffered mightily.

Posted by: Michelle | August 8, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Michelle, I'll bet you never miss an opportunity to remind your son of how much more you loved him than his dad. You could have encouraged your son to understand his dad's mistakes, but you were happier feeding the insecurity. And they wonder why some children of divorce fare better than others.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 9, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Until your children are good swimmers, you need to be an arms length away from the kids at all times in the pool. If they're in the pool, you're in the pool, not talking to anybody on the sidelines or reading a book. Safety first. (and don't be fooled into thinking that they're automatically safe because they're wearing swimmies or something). Arms length. no exceptions.

Posted by: Former Lifeguard | August 10, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, I wouldn't call this a nightmare but, I do remember being extremely embarrassed. I have two boys. At the time my oldest was only 19 months old and going to daycare two days each week. His brother was 3 months old. I remember two times when I dropped my older son off, obviously bringing my 3 month old in a carrier into the building as well. I would set the carrier down, get my 19 month old settled in and then walk out the door. I would be in the driveway and one of the caregivers would come running out because I forgot my 3 month old (at the time they could not watch infants). I was mortified, but obviously not mortified enough because I did it one more time!
That is my worse confession.
raelynn
www.kidzcomfort.com

Posted by: Rae Lynn | August 10, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering why the daycare center didn't call one or both parents inquiring about the child's whereabouts. My oldest daughter is in daycare part-time and if she wasn't there on one of her scheduled days, we would definitely receive a phone call. Such a sad story.

Posted by: MW2 | August 11, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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