The #1 takeaway for me from the stories of the Cincinnati gorilla that was shot:
I really, really hope that none of my imperfect parenting moments happen in public or my normal good parenting moments make the news. My gosh, that mom was blasted. People out there (and on all social media) sure can attack people they’ve never met about incidents they never witnessed.
Today Noelle (2 yrs), Naomi (6 yrs), and I went to our local Atlanta Zoo. We were there 5 hours. At the end, they have an awesome splash ground. The girls got nice and wet and had a blast for about half an hour. Then, amidst much protesting, we went to the bathroom to change out of wet clothes.
The bathroom was busy, full, and we were shoved in a corner behind the door while I tried to dig out dry clothes for the girls. Naomi was dutifully changing her clothes right there without complaint. I got Noelle half undressed and then reached back into the depths of the stroller to get the shirt I thought I’d already grabbed. I finally freed it from under all the bags and turned around and Noelle wasn’t there. I stood there a second, looking around the big bathroom. Then I went to each stall and looked for feet. No Noelle feet. Naomi and I looked back at each other, panicked. I yelled, “stay there!” to Naomi, pulled open the heavy door, and ran outside. Looked left toward the train, not there. Looked right and finally saw her, all the way back at the other side of the splash ground. I guess when someone came into the bathroom, she went out. There would have been no way she could open that door.
She was probably out of my sight for a little less than a minute. So many things could have happened in that minute. She could have been abducted. She could have climbed somewhere she shouldn’t be (she’s excellent at that). Who’s fault would that have been? Mine for being inattentive and lazy? No, I was not. I was being a good parent. But I have had imperfect moments where I’m not paying 100% attention and SO HAVE YOU (parent or no).
Would it have been the zoo’s fault? No. There would be no fault to be placed. I’m not siding with any opinion in the gorilla incident. I am no gorilla expert and I’m the glad the child came out unscathed. But I do wanna ask this:
Do you know the mom? Maybe she IS lazy. Maybe she wasn’t paying attention. Maybe she was picking her nose or on Facebook or making out with her husband, I don’t know. Maybe she is usually a great mom. Maybe she was reaching for much needed water, tying a shoelace so there’d be no tripping, sneezing into her elbow. I don’t know.
Maybe this whole thing was easily preventable. Maybe it really wasn’t. Maybe the gorilla would have done nothing. Maybe he would have killed the boy in one swoop. I don’t know.
Where you there?
Must we so vehemently criticize her? Especially since we don’t know? We weren’t there?