Sunday, June 28, 2009

Busy parents, forgotten kids, hot cars

It's summer time again. Time of year for swimming, picnics, and sadly, story after story about parents who for whatever reason, forgot their babies in the car. Seems like there's a new one each week, and it's so incredibly sad. Also mind boggling to me. Most of the stories are about parents who, being in a hurry to get to work or who don't normally take their baby to daycare in the mornings, somehow forget about the kiddo in the back seat. I can understand it, thinking logically, but as a mom, I can't wrap my head around it.

As autism mommies (and daddies!), it seems logical that we'd be tired, a little overstimulated, maybe totally burnt out at times. I know half the time I neither know the day of the week, nor that I've put away the maple syrup in the freezer or the ice cream in the microwave. I'm one of the most scatter-brained people on earth, there are days I forget what I'm saying- mid sentence! But I have never, ever, forgotten a child. Forgotten to give meds, yes. Left a kid in the car, no.

I just can't understand it. I'm neurotic. even when I KNOW my kids are in the car, I look back to make sure I have both of them. When we get out of the car, I look to make sure we've got both. It's stupid, and makes me look like a weirdo, but I'm ok with that. Ialways double check everything, because I know that I'm forgetful. I like to catch myself before anything bad happens.

I can see how it would happen. Baby asleep and silent in the car seat, dad on the phone. I've been fortunate (sort of) in having loud kids I guess. When I have kids in my car, you KNOW that they're there! But, I guess if you're busy talking or in a hurry to get to work, and baby is silent.. It's possible.

So what do you guys think, as far as punishment for parents who inadvertantly kill their kids this way? On one hand, it's inexcusable idiocy to let it happen. On the other hand, we're human. My opinion originally had been that these parents deserved the harshest sentence that could be imposed upon them- their negligence killed innocent babies, in a horrible, slow manner. Then I read this article (and you should too) and it kind of showed things in a different light.

Regardless of circumstances, I firmly believe parents who cause their kids death by leaving them in the car deserve to suffer with the memories for life. However, I'm not sure jail time is appropriate. There is no greater punishment on earth than sprinting to the car in the middle of the day when your spouse calls wondering why baby didn't get to daycare, and finding that poor child dead in their carseat. Just the thought of it chills me to the core. I cannot imagine being in that position, the horror and guilt they must feel. I doubt it ever truly goes away.

Some people, however, do deserve to go to jail. The article talks about a woman named Lyn Balfour, whose comments serve to trivialize the death of her child. I don't know why, but everything about that woman rubs me the wrong way. Her child died because she was raching to a fertility clinic to have another child. She feels no guilt or remorse for what happened... I guess it's how she deals with it, but it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

It happens, that's obvious. I think that remorse and guilt are something that any sane, feeling person would have to deal with- I don't understand how life would go on the same. Same car, same bouncy seat, and being able to nonchalantly discuss it... Freaks me out.



And a Jaymes update! Jaymes has been doing SO well in OT/PT/Speech, and behaviorwise too. He has learned to answer the question "what is your name" by saying "name Jaymes" and tapping his chest. He understands the difference between MY nose and YOUR nose, MY shirt, YOUR shirt. He loves to use his little safety scissors to cut out cards for people, and he actually draws shapes now, instead of scribbling with crayons until they're dead little stubs. He swims in his kiddy pool every day, and we do little art projects at home. He and Sierra both nap every afternoon. Not always for long, but he goes down without a fight, and I'm proud of him. We've also started to have a social life! I made friends with another mom from therapy, who has a slightly older son with autism and a little guy Sierra's age too. Jaymes and Devon play really well (side by side, not together- surprise surprise!) and Sierra has little Wyatt bringing her cups of Kool Aid and driving her around in his little Cozy Coupe. It's incredibly cute. It is so nice to have friends who can relate, and who understand Jaymes.

Jaymes lost a tooth! His first one! I'm not really sure what age kids normally start losing them, though, so I'm not sure if this was a natural baby tooth getting loose and coming out, or if he banged himself enough times to get that tooth knocked loose and eventually out. I noticed yesterday it was kind of wobbly, it was gone this morning. He's got a gap toothed little grin now. Not sure how I like it on him. Never did find the tooth, I'm sure he swallowed it. I would have liked to keep it because I'm sentimental like that.

Summer school starts next week. Tomorrow we have an open house to meet the teacher. It's not his normal school, and apparently this school is in a bad neighborhood and according to other parents and Jaymes IEP team, summer school will be nothing but daycare. I'm trying to be positive going into it though.

I'll miss him, we've actually been having a lot of fun, despite the destruction. I like having my little buddy around.


dressage_x said...

I'm so happy that you, Jaymes, and Sierra have found some more friends!

you need to get a picture of Jaymes' new smile! I bet he's even more adorable. :)

hobsoncrew said...

Quick comment about the lost tooth, I found this website when my oldest had some teeth problems.

proudmomma said...

Yes!! We need snaggletooth pics! BTW, my daughter lost her first tooth at 5 too. Completely normal. :)

Jasmine said...

The car situation is a very touchy subject, I guess. I don't think parents should be that busy that they could accidentally forget about their kids. It's only my opinion, but parents should pay more attention to their children because nothing should be more important.