“So I left Li’l Fatty alone in the car today,” I said casually to Learner Dad.
I’d been on the school run. Li’l Fatty had a cold and it was blowing a gale and pouring with rain.
I knew he was more in danger of suffocating from snot if I got him out of the car than suffocating from anything else if I left him in it.
So I found a spare space in the staff car park and left him in the car.
I walked about 50 metres away to a point where I could see both the car and Master Seven’s classroom and waited.
Standing there, I was trying to be the best mum I could be. But I felt like the worst.
I wasn’t worried somebody was going to abduct Li’l Fatty, or that he was going to stop breathing.
I was only worried that somebody was going to notice.
“Isn’t that illegal?” Learner Dad said later, when I told him.
I pounced. “No it’s not! It was raining! And windy! You could have offered to pick him up! Sorry for trying to protect our son!”
I obviously still felt bad about it because it was quite the protest.
But I swear the rules on leaving kids in the car have tightened considerably since I had Master Seven.
I’m not talking about leaving your baby in the car while you go shopping for a pair of new boots.
I’m talking about dashing into the corner store for a carton of milk.
While pregnant with Li’l Fatty, a father friend said to Learner Dad: “You wait mate, you can’t go in to pay for petrol without taking them with you. Isn’t that right Ali?”
“Er, yes,” I said, thinking ‘Are you serious?’
But then, can it ever hurt to choose ‘safe’ over ‘sorry’?
Recently, I pulled up outside Video City.
I knew which DVD I wanted and where to find it.
I didn’t relish the chance of having to wake Li’l Fatty and drag both he and Master Seven inside.
I sat there and weighed up my options.
I knew nobody would drive off with them (you have to leave your keys in the car for that).
I knew they wouldn’t drive off themselves (Master Seven pushes boundaries but not that hard. And again, keys).
I knew they wouldn’t suffocate (it wasn’t hot and I wasn’t going to be long).
And I seriously doubted they’d be kidnapped.
The Maddie McCann warning to every parent flashed through my head.
So I set off for home to see what was on Ausstar.
A few interesting news articles on the issue: