I’m so sick of the gorilla story.
Reasons I am NOT sick of it:
1. I hate gorillas and think this particular one wasn’t important at all.
2. I think the mom did nothing wrong and is a special unicorn.
I’m sick of it because all of a sudden everyone knows two things:
1. That he or she would never look away long enough for said child to something idiotic and insane in the worst setting possible.
2. How he or she would react in such a situation.
I know exactly two things about myself/my family:
1. My kids are naturally pretty calm and well behaved. We didn’t do this. They came out that way. But Emmy is a wanderer. Every once in a while Grace’s brain shorts out, and she does something awful and completely out of character (like that time last October she stuffed her mouth FULL of vitamin D capsules she filched out of a tall cupboard). Thank God they have never done insane things in a busy street or a gorilla exhibit or with toxic vitamins, but it is not outside the range of possibility. I have lost Emmy at the zoo a few times. (This is actually why we don’t go anymore.) The last time we went, she just kept slipping away, silent like a snake. She once did a swan dive face-first off the changing table in the three seconds it took me to turn away and look at her sister’s owie. Sometimes it’s the well-behaved kids that do these things the most easily, since your guard is down. They know this and will exploit it.
2. Sometimes I surprise myself with how cowardly I am, and sometimes I surprise myself with how brave I am. I just never know what is going to happen. I am 99% sure jumping into the gorilla exhibit to save my kid wouldn’t even have occurred to me.
Can I say something crazy here? Can I say that mom could have done a better job in that specific moment, that this happened because she was too inattentive? Can I then also say that it could have been me? Or you? Or any of us? You can say a woman messed up without demonizing her. We can have compassion and be upset or angry about the situation at the same time.
If you do not leash, carry, stroller, or glue your child to your body every single time you are in the vicinity of something dangerous, this could happen to you and your kid.