Tag Archives: toddlers

Check the Back Seat!

I’m not a parent, so I don’t get it: how do you forget your kid is in the car? Our local news paper reports that child deaths in hot cars are on the rise.  In that article, they interview the Kids and Cars founder ( who knew there was such a thing?). She had this to say:

“The worst thing any parent or caregiver can do is think that this could never happen to them, that they are not capable of inadvertently leaving their child behind. This can and does happen to the most loving, responsible and attentive parents.”

She then provides tips for how you can avoid accidentally leaving your kids in the car while you go to work:

  1. “Put something in the back seat, so you have to open the back door to get it.” (Surprise! Your kid is still in there, too. You forgot to drop him at day care!)
  2. Put a stuffed animal in the child seat when it’s not in use and move it to the front seat when your child is in the car. It will serve as a reminder that the child seat is in use.”

I can see how both of these options might help you remember there’s a tiny human in the backseat of your car.  And I know parents are busy and get frazzled and, thus, forget things.  But things and kids are different. I guess babies fall asleep in the car, so since they’re not making any noise you could forget them. But I don’t know. I check my backseat before I get out of the car at work just to make sure I didn’t forget an umbrella or a bag or something (I have accidentally taken my gym bag in to work because I did that). I feel like I’d be even more paranoid if it could potentially be a child (of course, I’m super paranoid anyway–I check to make sure the car is locked at least 3 times before walking away from it–and to do that, I have to look back through the window at least once). But I don’t know–like I said, I don’t have a kid (so I’m not judging–just saying I do not understand it).

If you do, check your backseat! Because I also cannot imagine what it would be like to be responsible–accident though it may be–for your own child’s death. I’m not sure how one might get over that–ever.

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Filed under Ripped from the Headlines

Empathy in All the Right Places

Toddler left on stranger’s porch

Earlier today I got a push notification on my tablet for this story. To summarize, this little girl, age 2-3, was left on a stranger’s porch with a note that read “Please Call DCAF” (DCAF = Department of Children and Families, aka DSS).

Heartbreaking: I think we can all agree.

Most people, though, immediately react by condemning someone who “could do such a thing.” But that isn’t really fair.  This little girl deserves our empathy–but so do those who gave her up. This child appears to have been well cared for.  She also bears a scar that is likely from a heart surgery–something that was probably very expensive, especially if her parent(s)/caregiver(s) has no insurance. And who knows what other things may have been going in this child’s or her parent’s lives?  There’s a very real possibility that whoever left this child on the porch was a lot more heartbroken having to do it than we are having to read about it.  Chances are, he/she/they were at the end of a fraying rope–this was a last resort.

toddler-clothes-1-of-2

“Auntie Loves Me”

This child is in foster care until the Sheriff’s Department can locate any family. Hopefully, their search will yield a relative placement and hopefully, those relatives will accept help and guidance from DSS, so she can go home where she belongs–to people who clearly love her (did you see the “Auntie loves me” shirt?).

For me, this story serves as an example: not all children in the foster care system are there because of abuse or purposeful neglect–they’re not all unloved. Every time DSS intervenes, it’s not a case like Fred’s. Sometimes, it’s a case where a parent is unable to care for a child properly–or doesn’t know how to. Reunification is always the first goal when a child is removed from home. Relative placement is the second. DSS offers every parent/caregiver a treatment plan designed to provide them with the skills, resources, and other help they need to provide a safe and stable home for their child(ren). Terminating parental rights, like in Fred’s case, only happens when there are no other options.

Here’s hoping for some options for this little one.

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Filed under Foster Care, Guardian ad Litem, Ripped from the Headlines, Social Problems

Lessons from a Toddler

Yesterday I got to spend some one-on-one time with a toddler while her mommy got out of the house for a bit. These are 5 important life lessons I (re)learned:

  1. Keep it simple. Sometimes, a plastic bucket is the best seat in the house. Don’t put style over practicality, especially if practical is equally or more comfortable.
  2. Waste not, want not. If you drop a piece of Cap’n Crunch on the floor, just pick it up and eat it. There are starving children in this country who’d love that slightly dirt-bespeckled Crunch Berry. Just be thankful you have the cereal and the floor to drop it on.crunch berries
  3. Don’t take life too seriously. Sometimes, you just need to put on your “pretties,” twirl around, and laugh your head off for no other reason than it makes you feel good.
  4. Do what works for you. Just because society says socks come in pairs and must be worn as such doesn’t mean you have to do it that way.  Do what works for you.  If having one sock on and one sock off makes you happy, just do it.
  5. Stop and take some time to soak in the sunshine. This kid took several breaks from playing, eating Crunch Berries, and watching The Tigger Movie to run to the window, draw back the curtain, and just stand in the window, saying “sunshine!” It made her totally happy. My doctor’s been pushing this idea for years now. It’s all about the Vitamin D, people. It improves the mood!

This kid’s so smart.

Fun fact I learned: Tinker Bell is named Tinker Bell because her fairy job is “tinker;” she fixes and makes things. Good to know.

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Filed under My Life, My Opinion