We just moved over 1000 miles from home. So I have no sitters, there are no drop in daycare centers, DH works from pretty early in the AM til the evening, I have no family nearby to help me. My oldest DS is 12. He is amazing with his baby sister, very protective.
Last week we went to town (25 mile drive one way) to run errands. DD fell asleep (she is 2.5). I had one last errand to run that I couldn't just do the next day, or later in the afternoon, since the drive is so long. We are in temp housing til our house sells so it isn't exactly ideal. I had planned to go to Target. We needed laundry detergent, and some more laundry baskets. We were completely out, and the mountain was growing. DH was going to be working late.
My DD is a temper tantrum thrower, my boys (both much older than her) never threw tantrums. She ALWAYS throws tantrums in the store. It's inevitable. But to wake her and take her into a store? Well you may as well start world war 3. So I found the nearest Dollar Store. Pulled into a parking space at the very front, told DS to text me from his phone if need be, locked the doors, air on, windows up, emergency brake on, DS sitting in the front seat so it didn't look like an empty car just sitting there running. I ran inside, bee lined for the laundry aisle, got what I needed and got in line and waited. I could see my car and children clearly from where I was. All was good. Not even 5 minutes had passed.
Enter Crazy Lady... This very loud lady with her child (he appeared to be about 8) comes barreling in the store. She is screaming at the top of her lungs "OH MY GOD SOMEONE LEFT THEIR SMALL KIDS ALONE IN A CAR OUT THERE. WHOSE CAR IS THAT??????? THERE IS A BABY ALONE IN THAT CAR, THERE ARE CHILDREN LOCKED IN THAT HOT CAR" She continues, and it took me a minute to realize that she was talking about me, because 1) I have a 35" tall toddler, and a 12 year old. 2) The car was running and the air was on and 3) well I don't consider 12 being small.
I tried to assure her that my DS was nearly a teenager and quite capable of keeping his sleeping sister for a few moments and she just became louder and more irate. She called me a liar and a negligent mother.
Now... According to the American Red Cross. children as young as 11 can become certified babysitters. There is a program in the town we live in for "junior life guarders" and it starts at 11 yrs old. At church children the age of 12 can volunteer in the nursery.
I wasn't in Wal-Mart, Target or a bar. I wasn't goofing off. I was in and out in less than 10 minutes (which would have been less had she not caused the entire store to freak out and stop working for a few minutes.)
She ended up calling the cops, I told her to write down my tag number as I pulled out and they could come to my house and question me, but I wouldn't allow her to upset my kids. Since clearly she didn't care if she was upsetting her own child, why would she care if she upset mine?
I got to my car, DD was still snoozing, DS unlocked the door, crawled in the back, buckled up and not a word was mentioned. I gave him some cookies that I had snagged at the front for being such a responsible helper with his sister, and I never heard another word about it.
So.... Has your older DS or DD watched your youngers for you? Did this lady over react? Or am I truly negligent and just don't realze it?
Lady was insane. I don't have a kid old enough to 'watch' the baby, but I see zero harm in what you did. And I can not tell you how jealous of you that you had the opportunity to pop in some place quickly without having to wrestle the baby out of the car seat.
by Anonymous 1 - Original PosterJuly 1, 2013 at 2:20 PMAnd if it were just her, I'd never leave her like that. But her Big bother was watching her, so why wake her and cause her misery from waking her from her nap if not necessary?
I only have one, so he always goes in with me
by Anonymous 1 - Original PosterJuly 1, 2013 at 2:21 PM
I litterally had nightmares and began questioning my mothering skills and judgement :(
by Anonymous 2July 1, 2013 at 2:21 PM
I've had my 5yr old keep an eye on his sister while I run to the bathroom or jump in the shower. Basically just to make sure she's not grabbing something she's not supposed to. He even fills up her cup sometimes (I have never asked him to do this). He likes helping like that. Though he isn't old enough to sit in the car alone with his sister, unless I'm pumping gas and right next to the car. I don't see a problem with what you did since you were just running in for a few minutes to get something. Why wake her and have her all cranky for 5-10 minutes in the store.