One Way to Report an Unsupervised Toddler Without Calling the Cops

Found tbtsytreiz
this in the comments, by lollipoplover:

On finding an [unsupervised] 18 month-old child:

At both my mom and dad’s funerals, one of our old neighbors, Mrs. P, shared her “How I met your Mother” story.

Her family had just moved in down the street.  The movers were unloading furniture and Mrs. P was unpacking her car with her 4 kids in it when she noticed a toddler sitting in the driveway playing with her children’s toys.  She picked her up and noticed she was freshly bathed and happy.  She knocked on the house next door but no answer.  She went to the next house, and they said, “Oh, that’s one of (my Mom’s). She just got home from the hospital with her 10th baby.” 

Mrs. P brought my sister into our house where my mom was nursing a newborn (me).  My mom invited her in for tea and they started a friendship that lasted a lifetime.  She joined the bridge club that the moms in the neighborhood had running for 20 years.  Her family joined our church and we carpooled to sports with their kids.  I am still good friends with their youngest daughter.  All over a lost toddler.

I guess this could have gone in another direction if Mrs. P had an attitude of “I was like WTF was that bitch doing…” but as a fellow mom who loves kids she knew that parenting isn’t about perfection. A runaway toddler in her driveway opened up so many friendships for her because she cared and got involved and didn’t rush to judgement over a momentary lapse in parenting. –  lollipoplover

Lenore here: AND because she didn’t call 911!

Moving in: Potential pals or the secret police?

Moving in: Potential pals or the secret police?

49 Responses to One Way to Report an Unsupervised Toddler Without Calling the Cops

  1. SOA June 11, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    It could have ended another way too though. Keep that in mind. the mother could have yelled at her for interfering with her kid and thought she was being judged or just grabbed the kid and then slammed the door in her face. That happens too. Let’s be realistic. Life is not always so nice. I wish it was, but things don’t always end pleasantly.

  2. Vicki Bradley June 11, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    I just don’t get this knee-jerk reaction of immediately calling the police upon seeing what some people deem to be a potentially unsafe situation. I say potentially unsafe because these 911 speed-dialers don’t even seem to assess the situation first to see if there’s a problem. As I’ve said in previously submitted comments, the type of people who call the police instead of seeing if there’s some way in which they can be helpful are busybodies with too much time on their hands. I’m sure in almost every case that the police are called, it could have easily been sorted out simply by talking to the people involved. I’m pretty sure the police have better things to do than attending to these “non” situations.

  3. Marie June 11, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Our family has a similar story that goes back to about 1900. My great grandfather was a teenager working to clear brush at the back of the family’s farm in rural Ontario when he found a young girl of about five wandering lost in the woods. He picked her up and took her to the closest farmhouse where they were able to locate her parents and reunite them. About 15 years later, that little girl married the young man who saved her and became my great grandmother.

  4. SOA June 11, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    I would not have called the police for a child being in their neighborhood anyway. Not the same as a child in a parking lot near a busy highway. Two totally different situations. I would assume the child lived nearby and the mother was watching out the window or something. I would just keep an eye out and make sure they wandered home eventually.

    But if it was near a busy highway, that is a different story an you wonder how said kid managed to get to a parking lot near a busy highway alone. Kids in neighborhoods with families is pretty common and you know how they got there, they live there.

  5. Reziac June 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    And I’ll betcha the toddler wasn’t lost. The toddler probably knew exactly where she was and how to get home. After all, when kids roam around, they learn the basic skill of “neighborhood orienteering”.

  6. Karen June 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I’m so grateful to my neighbors who found my 3YO happily riding his tricycle on the sidewalk in front of their house (4 houses down) and brought him back and introduced themselves. They were so nice about it. Now we have friends and feel safe, instead of having enemies and feeling threatened and paranoid.

  7. Julie Colwell June 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    My daughter was brought home by a stranger (gasp) who found her on a scooter in the street when she was 18 months old. She’d squeezed through a gap in the fence and was off on an adventure. The man who brought her home was picking up his son from a daycare across the street. At first he thought she’d escaped from the daycare.

    An entire Indian family brought the same daughter back to us after she got lost at Disneyland. When we found each other, the dad of the family was holding her hand pointing out families that looked like she did, “Is it them? Is it them?”

    It should not be a liability to be part of the solution…. ever. The cops are for criminals. We are for community. (And look, both good Samaritans were MEN.)

  8. pentamom June 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    “It could have ended another way too though. ”

    Actually, it couldn’t have happened any of those ways you listed, because the mother was an actual person who was NOT the kind of person who yelled at people for being genuinely helpful. The way it actually ended was the only way it “could” have ended because we’re talking about actual people not hypotheticals.

  9. Havva June 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Why does it even matter if it “could have ended another way”?

    a)Wow, what is with that worst first thinking of your?
    b)If you think a kid is in danger; the act of returning the child to the parents isn’t for the parents. It is for the sake of the kid. In that case it doesn’t matter one iota if you get yelled at, or get the door slammed in your face, all that matters is that the kid was removed from a dangerous situation. A nice friendly ending (which I’ll argue is more possible they you give it credit) is just a bonus.

    c)Do you realize that if you never give people a chance, you will never know what they are like? This applies to both talking to neighbors and talking to that presumed 18 month old. Maybe the kid could talk, certainly the kid could point.
    d)Is it really so traumatic to you if someone isn’t as nice as you would like them to be? Rude people will find a way to be rude to you whether you engage them or not. I’m sure you have had plenty of that ‘trauma.’ But you can’t really enjoy the nice people in the world if hide from human interaction because someone *might* be rude to you at some point.

  10. Andrea June 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Thank you for your post, Havva. I had the same reaction to SOA’s post, and your response was spot on.

  11. Warrem June 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Have you ever spoken to a mental health professional to address your paranoia? Seriously, from all your posts on many topics, you have demonstrated paranoid and anti social behaviour.

  12. Havva June 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    I should also add to point (b) that unlike you I do presume that an 18 month old with no parent in view or in shouting distance is in actual danger. My mom was considered excessively lax in the 80’s (when free range was still normal). My memories kick in around 3. And in those early memories I remember I wasn’t allowed to ride my trike past, or wander past, the yellow house and only if mom was in the front yard. The yellow house was as far as she could see/yell. A while later she trusted me to run ahead to the park and all that good stuff but not at 3 and certainly not anywhere near 18 months.

  13. pentamom June 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Well, we all know there ARE people who would yell at you for interfering and slam the door in your face for doing something like that. Probably not common, but they do exist; there are some awful people in the world.

    The question is, what that has to do with anything? If helping a child get home is actually NOT about you and NOT about how you are treated when you do it, does it really matter that much? Does it make it any less of a happy ending that the child gets home safe?

    I guess Dolly’s trying to make sure that we don’t all get starry-eyed ideas about how every good deed is going to result in a lifelong friendship. Most likely, we already knew that, and besides, that wasn’t the point of the story. The point of the story is that there are sensible, simple ways to help a lost and possibly endangered child that don’t involve cops and emergencies.

  14. Elisabeth June 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    this (lovely) story reminded me of when I was 9 and walked down to the bay 3 doors down from my house, one early summer morning.(Yes, I was allowed to go down to an un-lifeguarded beach to play by myself – Oh! The scars I suffer from all those “near misses” with my safety!)It was only about 8 a.m. and it was a little foggy and cool so no one was really out yet. I discovered on the beach a baby – about 20 months – playing with a puppy – about 10 weeks. I, of course, recognized that this was not ideal for either of them to be unsupervised at the water. I managed to wrangle both of them (herding toddlers and puppies is right up there with cat herding) and led them up the street to my house. My mom called the police to report it.

    What never occurred to me before until I read this story, was both that the police didn’t appear to have any intention for dealing with this other than reuniting the baby with her family and that it never occurred to me (or my mother, I’m pretty sure) to judge the mom for the fact that her baby was alone on the beach. 10 minutes after we called the police, the police showed up with the mom and I just remember seeing how intensely relieved she was. She cried (but not too much because she obviously didn’t want to scare the baby) and held the baby tight. She could barely manage to thank us she was so overwhelmed – but that was fine. The police officer basically stood back but informed us the family was staying in a beach rental about 6 houses down the strand from where I’d found the baby – and that they had no idea where the pupy came from. The mom had called the police moments after we did and thought the baby had managed to get out the gate to the beach and may have left the house via a cat door. After the joyous reunion, the police just her walk home with her kid. I don’t remember them lecturing her about safety – they may have said something about blocking the cat door and seeing if the gate could be secured. But there was definitely an attitude of “stuff happens – what a relief that this 9 y.o. was outside to find her.” Afterward, my mom said she would get me a reward and that she was proud of me. She didn’t say snot about the woman’s parenting except to say how scared she must have been and how clearly relieved she was.

    So, as the police officer was leaving, we asked, “what about the puppy?” Not the police’s jurisdiction. I spent the day trying to find the owner (but not very hard because obviously I wanted to keep it and thought he was the most fitting reward for my good judgment). One of the neighbor kids recognized him when I was out trying to walk him and he went home at 9 or so that evening. I think I got a Beach Boys album for my reward instead.

  15. anonymous mom June 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

    @pentamom, I totally agree with your post above, but want to add that dealing with the situation like this is far more likely to lead to positive relationships between neighbors than either doing nothing or calling the police.

  16. SOA June 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    I have dealt with a lot of mean people in my life. Many times I have done something that most people would consider kind or helpful like the situation described here, only to either get yelled at or ignored or brushed off.

    This is not a leave it to beaver world. Some people don’t wanna be your friend. Some people would not care if you brought their kid home, they would still never speak to you again. Or they might even go so far as to yell at you for bothering them.

    I have been told off by people for even speaking nicely to their child nevertheless picking them up and taking them around trying to find out where they belong.

  17. SOA June 11, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    But I do agree with pentamom that that does not mean we should stop doing the right thing anyway. I still try to do the right thing no matter what. But I also am realistic and know to watch out for my own back. Thus why I am scared to pick up random kids because next thing I know I am getting the cops called on me for kidnapping. That kinda goes with what is said on this site all the time. People assume the worst now and that can work both ways. They can assume someone being nice and trying to find where the toddler belongs is trying to kidnap them.

    So do the right thing, but don’t assume it is going to make you BFFS now or that you will even get thanked, because the world is just not that nice of a place. Too many jerks out there.

  18. lollipoplover June 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    @Reziac- She wasn’t lost, she was found!
    Actually, our bedroom window faced the road so she probably eyed those big moving trucks with a toddler’s natural curiosity. She was found by a lovely mom who just wanted to get mother and child reunited and didn’t have any other motives. Our families have been friends for over 40 years.

    I remind myself of this story when I think of all the MISSED encounters with others when we automatically assume the worst in every situation. You know what makes a good neighborhood? Good neighbors. Look out for one another and little kids. Try being kind to one another and you will get it in return.
    You don’t always have to take the Debbie Downer approach to every human interaction.

  19. SKL June 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    If I was trying to reunite a tot with his mother, I’d be thinking about how unhappy they probably both are and how important it is to get them back together ASAP. I would not be thinking about what my brownie points were going to be. I would probably not notice whether or not I got thanked, I’d be as emotional as that mom and kid once they found each other.

    But then, I don’t judge whole families based on a momentary encounter with a tiny tot. Good thing, because most tots have been found sitting in poop, eating their boogers, screaming like banshees etc. at some time or other.

  20. Paula June 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    The majority of people in the world will not harm your child and, if they see a young child by him or herself, will likely chip in and help. I once saw a little girl crying for her mommy in TJMaxx. Her brother was nearby and wasn’t crying at all. I asked the little girl her mommy’s name and she told me her mommy’s full name. I then asked (b/c we live in an area with a lot of Spanish speakers and she was Latino) if her mommy spoke English or Spanish and she said Spanish. I then walked her up to the counter and waited with her while the store called her mommy by name over the loudspeaker and told her in Spanish that her children were waiting. The mom came right over. She was clearly a good mom and her daughter was equipped with all the info she needed to get un-lost, so it was just one of those things. Sometimes kids wander off and, in the vast majority of cases, no harm comes to them as a result.

  21. Sharon Davids June 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    I was at an oudoor festival with my daughter and my daughter noticed a little girl (about age 2) wandering around with no adult present. She did what I always do she watched the little girl until her mom appeared, made sure she did not fall into a little fountain, and did not call anyone. The mom appeared within 30 seconds and no police were called.

    I told my daughter in about 10 years maybe she will do the same thing for the next generation of a little girl.

  22. EricS June 11, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    And that is also why “stranger danger” is an outdated, and very inaccurate term.

    Almost everyone we know today, casually or family like, were at one point, a “stranger”.

  23. Havva June 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    We have all tried explaining the social cues you didn’t understand with the 18 month old and in many other situations we have discussed in the past.

    So I am going to skip over the temptation to try explaining again, and just say what is almost too rude to mention. I’m, sorry if I hurt and seem like a Jerk, but it needs said:

    You most likely have Autism. There is therapy that can help you.

    None of the other Americans on the board have had so many, and so harsh of reactions as you have experienced. TN can’t be that different from the rest of the US, your problem goes beyond our culture.

    Your problems socially, your sense of how many ‘jerks’ there are in the world, most come the misreading of cues you have described clearly enough that everyone here can read them even without the help of seeing the situation and the body language. And despite our explanations, you still don’t understand what went wrong. You would rather believe that all of us are wrong, and practically all the time. I’m sure sometimes we are, but not that wrong,that frequently, and this unanimously.

    Not being able to read social cues makes the world scary to you. What is more, it causes you to do thing that seem innocuous to you, that one way or another frighten or anger others and we can see that too. You want the world to bend to you, but it never will. The only way out is to learn how to understand this world and function in it.

    You have mentioned you have a son with Autism. Autism often runs in families, manifesting itself to varying degrees. A huge number of people went undiagnosed when we were kids. Many have realized the source of their issues, only after a child was diagnosed with Autism and gotten help. I have a friend who was diagnosed with Aspergers before that got renamed “high functioning Autism.” He has been through therapy on reading social cues. He assures me that the reading of social cues is actually highly teachable/learn-able, with the help of a good teacher. This has made an enormous difference in his life. He still has social nervousness from years of being bullied. But, the learning of social cues was life changing. He is now very successful on many fronts: he manages a team at work, gets along with his neighbors, has many friends, and works with the public at large conventions (as a hobby not as work), he is also married many years (though his wife is unusually tolerant). Most importantly he is not getting constantly hurt in social interactions anymore.

    So please, get help.
    Your life doesn’t have to be this way.
    The social cues therapy will make a huge difference in how people treat you, and how you understand what is happening in your life.

  24. Ant June 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    With relatives in law enforcement I hear these happen all the time in at least this area of upstate new york and its truly a waste of police resources chasing these “unfounded” calls. We live in an area of many busybodies its not uncommon to have 5 or more calls in one shift in a 5 sq mile are of unattended children, animals, birds flying, cows farting… etc and so many “suspicious persons” in between its such a wild goose chase. One busybody called just last week because in the in the 75 degree summer heat a person was wearing gloves and jeans in the summer! HOLY MOLEY! Call the Army the Air Force & National Guard! There are these people in my community that are out there and its so scary!
    The police are there for arresting criminals/difficult people who I think busybodies should be included, and worse case discharging their weapon to put down a threat. THATS IT! They are not the communities babysitter for every snot and sneeze they have more important criminal matters to deal with while they all waste time chasing busybody calls.

  25. Vicki Bradley June 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Who the heck is Dolly? My curiosity was piqued by the replies that were made to her comments, so I went through all of them to see what she had said but I don’t see anyone called Dolly.

  26. Havva June 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    @ Vicki Bradley,
    Dolly is SOA. I don’t know why the other name, and I don’t use it, but others call her that most of the time.

  27. Jessi June 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    I wish more people felt that way.

    I just got removed from a local fb board because I defended a guy who was driving slowly through the neighborhood and sat on a public bench when kids were walking to school. They were hysterical. Screaming that he was “hunting children”

    Turns out, he was an out of state dad visiting his children. So he didn’t know the neighborhood and was enjoying our lovely morning weather with his coffee each morning.

    But there’s no talking to some people. Even when he was discovered to be “innocent” they were saying he shouldn’t have been acting “so creepy” and that he shouldn’t be offended because they’re just looking out for the children. This despite people saying they’d be standing out with guns the next morning. Prepared to shoot this man on sight because he existed. Who would be offended by a mob wanting to kill you for no reason?

    I just don’t care enough about my children. Obviously.

  28. no rest for the weary June 11, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

    Don’t any of us realize that the way we’ve set up our culture is working against us?

    Who could possibly keep absolute tabs on a wandering toddler in every single situation, especially with competing children to mind?

    The truth is, human beings were not designed to be able to do that. Hence, we lived in cooperative groups of about 30 – 50 people of all ages, and children were provisioned and cared for by the group, not the mother.

    Yes, Mom was the one the child slept with at night, but during the daytime, in many hunter-gatherer cultures, the child spent easily 80% of their time in the care of others in the community.

    This story of a toddler wandering to a neighbour’s house is how it’s SUPPOSED to be. It’s not a “lapse in parenting” in terms of how our species biologically evolved, it’s only one in terms of the ridiculously unnatural structures we’ve set up for ourselves based on personal property ownership.

    In pre-agricultural human existence, this is a non-issue. For us, today, in 21st Century North America, it’s a constant issue. For my part, I’m sick to death of having to pretend I can be hyper-vigilant every moment of the day. No one can. There will always be “lapses.” Why not build our communities around the facts of human existence, instead of ideals of “independence” that are unattainable in the first place?

  29. kate June 11, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    Twenty plus years ago, this would have been a perfectly normal occurrence. It would never have occurred to any to involve the police in a matter like this. These things happen, kids wander off. If you saw a kid you would help him/her find her way home, end of story.

    The one family we knew that were somewhat protective parents were seen as an anomaly and everyone wondered what had happened to the parents to make them so paranoid.

    Social norms have changed so much in the last generations. When I was a kid, there were more permissive parents and more strict parents, but the schism we see today was not there. The general values were the same and there did not seem to be the divisiveness we see today. If my parents met the families of my friends at all, I don’t think they were as judgmental as we are today.

  30. Ant June 11, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    I have to guess its constant bombardment by the media then to word of mouth with negative thoughts and ideas. Why doesnt the media start releasing weekly traffic accident injuries and fatalities. There is a major disconnect in this world today

  31. Ant June 11, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    As we know how dangerous driving is in relation to busybody worries and even worse traffic these days but EVERYTHING taken for granted so much these days!

  32. anonymous mom June 11, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    To some extent, I think the problem is that many of us are too safe. It’s amazing to me how much more afraid people are in low-crime-rate suburbs than in inner cities. I think it’s that, when you don’t see any real threats, you invent them. When you are in a setting where there are real threats to worry about, that tends to put irrational fears into perspective. You start to think that everybody is a potential threat, and view them as such, instead of feeling like, because there are some genuine threats, you have to trust and rely on your neighbors. Like, my neighbor and I are not great friends or anything, but we get along, we have friendly chats, we will sometimes hang out if we’re both outside. We have nothing in common. But, our neighborhood does have a good deal of theft, and so neighbors get to know each other and watch out for each other out of necessity.

    To some extent, being able to ignore your neighbors or have a feud with them is something of a luxury for those who don’t need any community interdependence.

  33. Elsie Kleeman June 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    A few months ago, in an unfamiliar neighborhood, my 2.5 year old ran around the block and refused to come back. I left my newborn in his carseat on the sidewalk and went after the toddler. He thought it was funny and ran into the street where an approaching car braked. At the same time, a woman in her front lawn was also running for my toddler. I think I yelled thanks (but I can’t really remember), never acknowledged the car driver (who so kindly and observantly stopped), scooped the toddler into my arms and hurried back to the newborn around the block.

    All I cared about was that I had my toddler back safe and that we took that opportunity to have a learning moment about why he needed to listen to me and stay on the sidewalk (something that he always does in our neighborhood). Maybe the driver thought I was rude. Perhaps the other woman running toward my son thought so too. Maybe people around the corner thought I was negligent for leaving a newborn baby in a carseat on the sidewalk unwatched and unprotected from who knows what.

    I was filled with so much worry and adrenaline that other people were my last consideration. I’m thankful for everyone who helped out, and I certainly hope I can help out others in a similar way sometime. But it never occurred to me to have any concern over the feelings of others in that situation, and were I one of the bystanders in that situation, I would think it strange if the mother didn’t scoop her child up and instead was more concerned about the other adults than her child.

    On another note, this same toddler made a friend today while we picked strawberries. An older woman was picking at the same field about fifty feet away from me. He helped her for about twenty minutes until it was time to leave. She loved it, I didn’t mind, we had a nice chat when I came to get him, and although we’ll never see each other again, it was a beautiful way to build a sense of friendliness and community. Everyone was happier for it.

  34. JP June 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    The moral of this story is almost painful, when reflecting upon current attitudes in society.
    There were no bad attitudes involved. No worst first thinking. No recriminations, retributions, legal proceedings, martial, military or police actions involved. No social workers, psyche evaluators, court proceedings.
    No “professionals” needed. No plethora of cooks to spoil the flavor of that particular soup.
    And……..wasn’t that soup nourishing?

  35. Kaetlyn June 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    To SOA’s point, I’ve intervened?/interfered? a couple of times with neighborhood children who I judged to be in potentially dangerous situations. Once I let the parents across the street know that their five year old had been climbing out of a second story window and running around on the roof. Another time I got out of my car to check on a toddler who was wandering around alone in the middle of the street, close to a busy intersection. I think I did the right thing both times, but the parents seemed pretty suspicious of me and I felt embarrassed after both incidents.

  36. pentamom June 11, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    Nobody’s denying that there may be mean people and you might get a rude reaction for helping; the point is that that is totally irrelevant to ANYTHING. It’s not just irrelevant to whether you should help, it’s just plain irrelevant, because how someone reacts to you is not only not of primary importance in a situation like this, it’s not important *at all.*

    The reason people use “Dolly” is that she used that name previously when she commented here, then went away for a while, and came back as SOA. I don’t know why anyone specifically chooses it other myself, and my erason is just that Dolly is just more of a real name to me than a three letter combination is, and it’s how I remember her from years past.

  37. Kaetlyn June 11, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    @pentamom, I don’t know–I’m not sure that I agree with the assertion that a rude or suspicious reaction to a person trying to help is truly irrelevant. I feel like one of Lenore’s major points is that we live in a culture of fear cultivated by the media and corporations. Being greeted with suspicion when trying to gently help seems like it might be a product of that fear. Obviously I’m only dealing with anecdotal evidence–two measly data points. But 99% of the interactions that I have with people on a daily basis are positive ( I live in Montana–people are exceptionally happy and nice here). So I think that it is interesting that these two incidents that I describe, where I intervened to try to steer someone else’s kid away from potential danger, were remarkable to me in their awkwardness. I also want to mention that, as much as I love Free Range Kids, and will continue to read Lenore’s posts, I’m really disheartened by the way that some regular commenters bicker and tear each other apart. It makes for a very unproductive discussion, and I plan on skipping the comments from now on.

  38. JJ June 12, 2014 at 8:19 am #


    FWIW,those incidents you describe–I would have said something to the parents too. Both of those sound potentially dangerous to me and you were doing it in a constructive way. I bet the parents were embarrassed at least temporarily.

  39. Ann June 12, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    That’s funny. It reminds me a little of how I met a mom in our neighborhood this weekend. My free range 6 year old is ALWAYS out on her bike in the neighborhood. If I tried to be out there watching her every time she wanted to ride her bike, I would spend every waking hour of the day following her around. Anyway, we were at our neighborhood pool this weekend, and a mom said, “Are you Addie’s mom?” I said yes. She said, “Oh, she’s so friendly! We live at the bottom of the cul-de-sac. She turns her bike around in our driveway all the time!” 🙂 I might not have spoken to this mom at the pool otherwise, but my little free-ranger had broken the ice, and we ended up having a nice conversation at the pool.

  40. pentamom June 12, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Kaetlyn — I don’t mean that it’s totally unimportant. I mean it’s not relevant in the way that Dolly’s commenting on it suggests. She brought it up as if to say, “Don’t be fooled, people might be mean if you do this!” Well, that’s certainly true, and to the extent it’s true, it’s an unhappy feature of life and might be a symptom of a larger problem, and not something that can be entirely dismissed.

    But it has NOTHING TO DO WITH the OP. Dolly’s history here suggests that she thinks that how you are treated when you do something like this is not merely a detail that might be a signal about larger issues, but an actually important feature of a given incident. It’s just not. If I were involved in a situation like this and got a nasty reaction, I’d shake my head sadly about how people are so unkind/paranoid/whatever, but it wouldn’t occur to me as something that really “changed the story,” if you see what I mean. The story is about how a child can be in need of help, and you can help. How people react to you doing that is incidental, not central, to the story.

  41. Vicki Bradley June 12, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Thank you for the clarification regarding who Dolly is. @Kaetlyn: you sound like a well-educated, articulate person who posts insightful, interesting comments; I think it would be a shame if you stopped contributing to the “Leave a Reply” section. I understand your point about the bickering, and agree that it’s counterproductive (we’re supposed to be on the same side here, people) but I simply ignore that aspect of the comments and focus on the good stuff. Just my two cents worth.

  42. SOA June 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Hawa: so yeah………..let’s say you are right. I do have autism. So what? Because do you actually think that would change anything at this point in my life? LOl I am 34 years old. I have graduated high school and college manga cum laude. I own a home. I am married. I have held down jobs. I have had two kids. I have raised said kids. I pay my bills. I handle pretty much anything that needs to be handled in our lives. So you know, as a mom of a kid with autism those are things that I will be ecstatic if my son can achieve the above. That is like the goal of “Curing” autism. For them to assimilate completely into society.

    What am I going to do? Go to speech and occupational therapy or social skills classes. lol I think I am beyond that at this point.

    and you act like I have zero social skills and no friends. I have friends. I have a husband. I have family. So you know, again, I have pretty much met the goals they set for people with autism.

    So even if you are right and I do have autism, so what? I would have already conquered it at this point.

  43. Havva June 12, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    The thought was rude, and reaching, and I shouldn’t have brought it up. I knew better than to say that, and I said it anyway. I apologize to you as well as the rest of the people here.

  44. SKL June 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    I recently discovered a list of characteristics of women with ASD, and I have the majority of those characteristics. (And ASD does run in my family.) I actually found it rather fascinating that there was a category I fit into. LOL. Of course I’m not about to go get diagnosed or seek therapy at this point in my life.

    I may loathe social-professional situations and dress like a janitor, but I do OK overall. We’re all weird in our own way, aren’t we? 🙂

  45. SOA June 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    I mean I think most of my family members have some characteristics of autism. Most people do when you boil it down. But that is not autism. Autism is having those things and them being so profound they keep you from functionally normally in our society and cause you severe mental and emotional pain. Sure I hate crowds and try to avoid them. But I don’t fall down in the floor and cry in a crowd like my son does. So yeah, he has autism. I don’t.

  46. Yoda June 13, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    I think what we are missing is that SOA/Dolly is really trying to say that she has been hurt. Her comment was to help others possibly avoid this hurt and most commenters took her comments as fear-mongering instead. We all have been hurt by the mistrust of the society around us (otherwise this blog wouldn’t exist) and it IS painful to receive rudeness when you are just trying to be kind. This should be one place where anyone can come and feel there is a community of people who doesn’t expect perfection and will help those who have been burned one too many times know not everyone out there is a mistrusting jerk. SOA – I think that people’s reaction to your comments were just them trying to stop the very thing that’s causing this societal problem – because unfortunately, the more we point out the jerks; the mistrusting; the more it breaks down the community we SHOULD have. Have hope and keep striving towards a trusting, united community so that our children and their children can live the lives we all want for them. 🙂

  47. E June 13, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    I wanted to say (belatedly) that I loved this story in the comments and I like that it’s featured.

    My mother (in her 80s) has/had friendships that lasted since she was preschooler because of the community of her street. I could easily see this happening (and it probably did). Her older sister had 3 little friends (all preschoolers) and they would play , but fight so much that one of their dads labeled them “the happy girls” (as sarcasm). The name stuck. They created a “club” that expanded when they were in HS and then they continued to get together as they married and had families (we had “Happy Girls Picnics” in the summer with the large group of large families). The women would meet twice a month for dessert and coffee and gossip and mend socks or put buttons back on clothing.

    It is sad that those relationships are difficult to cultivate these days. Kids don’t go to the same schools, both parents work, etc.

    Anyway – thanks for sharing this story!

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  49. Dirk June 19, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    Yep. Nice when someone from your neighborhood acts like a neighbor.