I’m Not Your Babysitter Unless You’re Paying Me

At my daughter’s ball game tonight, a young boy, not yet two, was wandering around the field. I recognized him from practices, but didn’t know who he belonged to. He wandered into the dirt where the kids and coaches were warming up, dodging balls that flew precariously close to his small, unprotected head. Later he threw sand in a little girl’s eyes, who happened to be playing quietly near the bleachers with her family. He stared her down, then stomped on her fingers with his tiny, blue Nike.

The girl’s family and I couldn’t believe his parents hadn’t come to relieve us of their tiny terror. We discovered his mother a few moments later when she realized he’d ventured off towards a neighboring field where older kids were playing ball. She meandered over and coaxed him back to her seat. A few moments passed and he reappeared again, alone, and headed into the nearby woods. His dad was the one to chase him down this time. Mom was too busy playing on her smartphone. Read that last sentence again carefully.

What could have been more important than keeping track of her toddler at a baseball field? Was she updating her Facebook status? Checking her email? Playing Candy Crush? Texting her best friend? Blogging about what she ate for dinner? Who knows?! Who cares?! If you are going to bring your child to a public space, please be responsible enough to care about their safety and pay attention to them. If you haven’t seen your child for ten minutes, maybe it’s time you got off your butt and looked for them. Put down your damn phone and watch your kid so the rest of us don’t have to.

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