Today, I decided to take a semi-short (not shorter in distance, but at least you don’t have to hit all the traffic lights in town) cut through a highly populated subdivision near us. I do this quite a bit, it is a busy road through this neighborhood. It is a pretty packed place, the houses don’t have much lawn at all, and it is popular with people who don’t want to do a lot of yard work.
Anyway, I was driving through, and I saw 2 little boys playing in some sort of pushcar thing on the sidewalk.
It really unnerved me, they didn’t look older than 5 or 6, and I could see no adult in sight. They WERE in front of a house with the front door (barely) cracked, but again, no grown-ups in sight. And yes, they WERE on the sidewalk, but this is a BUSY street. I cannot pass total judgement, because for all I know there was a grown-up who was outside mowing the lawn or something, but again, I did not see anyone. The speed limit is pretty low through there, but that doesn’t mean that someone won’t speed.
I am not trying to judge their parents. I am not a parent, but my goodness do I know what it is like to be responsible for someone. I really do get it. Last summer, I was the sole caregiver in the toddler room…with FIVE toddlers…all under the age of two. For several hours. Everyday. I get that every minute can be “look at me, look at me, look at me” or “I need this, or that”. I get that it can wear on you. I know, these boys were older than toddlers, so how about my fourth grade class? Fourth graders can barely be trusted to go to the out of sight bathroom without causing mischief …(Don’t believe me? How about the time that 2 kids decided to “chug” milk at breakfast and then, not surprisingly, puked it all up all over the bathroom…and then neglected to tell anyone. Yeah.) I get that parents (or anyone exposed to small children for a long period of time, haha) need a little break. If the kids had been in the backyard with no adult, I would have thought nothing of it (ok, I am paranoid, I might have, but I would have assumed that someone could see them out of a window). If I had seen 2 little boys sitting on the bench outside the women’s bathroom at Dillard’s, I would have thought nothing of it . But 2 little boys playing alone (albeit, on a sidewalk) right next to a VERY busy street? Yeah, I thought something of it.
Maybe I am overreacting. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for kids playing outside, even alone. I just want them to do it in an area where they can be safe.
And to me, alone next to a busy street, is not safe when you are five.