I was really tempted to write "and you'll never guess what happened next" at the end of this blog post title. I just couldn't do it - click-bait headlines are my biggest online pet peeve (other than nasty trolls and stupid people.)
Because honestly, nothing happened. We've read the sensational headlines about the Maryland couple whose kids have been held by child protective services, after the 6 and 10-year-old were allowed to go play at the park alone.
Our house backs onto a park, so I can't say my daughter was totally out of my sight. I was busy trying to get some mushroom compost worked into the gardens, and she just wanted to play.
"Go on," I said. "If any grown-ups ask, just point over here and tell them I'm your mom."
No angry parents came to talk to me, and CAS wasn't called (phew). But the thought crossed my mind - because if it were me at the park, and I saw a little girl playing all alone, I'd be inclined to ask the same questions.
We're so used to being with our kids at all times. If not us, then at least their teachers or daycare providers. The ramifications of leaving our children to play alone, even if it's what WE did as young children, could be devastating. And I'm not thinking of abductors or abusers - I'm thinking of the mom next door who's going to call the cops on me.
My daughter came back 15 minutes later, happy as a clam. She'd found a playmate, and had her share of fun while Mommy did the grunt work. Freedom and fun....oh to be a kid again.
I'm curious to hear from other parents - my daughter is 5.5 years old. Is she too young to be at the park alone?