Spoiled Princess took cupcakes to school today for her birthday (don't worry, I'll share pics in the next post) which means I had to take her to school, get out of the car with Fishing Pole & TheToddler in tow and carry 24 newly frosted precariously balanced cupcakes into school. Or I would have if Daddy Chaos hadn't called off sick b/c he messed up his back yet again. Instead I made him ride along and sit in the car with the boys. The point here is that I would have done it.
Just the same, the boys were napping when it was time to pick the kids up from school so I left them all at home and drove to the school early to park and go inside to help Spoiled Princess carry out the tray and any leftovers (Gasp! Yes there were 3 leftovers. Sin, pure sin.). Yet again, had Daddy Chaos not been home with a bum back I would have unbuckled the boys, put their coats on them (no coats in car seats- it's not safe) and crawled around the van to find TheToddler's shoes which he had probably pitched in different directions.
Instead I went in alone.
It was weird.
When I came out of the school with 2 kiddos in tow, two new cars had parked next to me. As I'm sitting in my seat waiting on my super slow kiddos to get their coats off and get themselves buckled I happened to see a little flash of movement out of the corner of my eye.
What was that?
I turned to the van beside me and sure enough there is a baby (less than 1) waving her little hand around at the mirror installed for her rear-facing infant seat.
I looked a little closer and there is no parent in the car. No adult anywhere within viewing distance. Ohh and there's a preschooler strapped in too.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I sat there for several minutes even though my girls were buckled in until the mother showed up because even though until that point I had no clue who's children these were I , as a stranger, didn't feel safe letting them stay there alone.
Several minutes later their mother comes along with the school aged child that she had went up to the school to get.. Clearly out of line of sight. I cannot be 100% certain but I did not hear any telltale click, nor did I see her keys in her hand (because they were in the ignition with the car running) so I am fairly certain the car was not locked either.
Sure we live in a small town. But I would NEVER EVER leave my little kids alone in a vehicle. (With the tiny exception of my parents house- they live in the country virtually alone and I have been known to park at their garage and run in to pee or what not for a moment- in fact I will stop there if it's on the way rather than wait til I get home because I live and town & won't leave the kids in the car in the driveway)
If I am craving a pop, sure I could park right in front of the gas station where I could clearly see the car at all times and just leave them in the car because it's more convenient than taking 2 kids in where one will likely run the minute his feet hit the ground & the other will likely cause some kind of scene.. BUT I don't! I never have. If I need to run into the post office, the little ones run in with me. Sure it takes me 2 or 3 times as long but I know they are safe. The only time I leave my kids in the car is if Drama Queen is in there as well & she is in charge. If you aren't old enough to babysit then you aren't old enough to be left alone ANYWHERE.
Is it just me? Maybe I'm crazy over-protective but I don't understand how people can think this is ok.. Ironically once the mother came back, I realized that I know her from MOPS. I should have said something but I didn't.
Everyone , please leave me a comment and tell me what you do. Do you leave your kids in the car alone? What are the circumstances? When do you feel it's "ok" to do it? I really want to know your responses even if they aren't the same as mine.