I first became aware of the gorilla incident when a friend posted the video with a caption expressing disgust at the negative comments. I intentionally have not read the comments, but some negativity has managed to make its way into my Facebook feed anyway.
I’ve spent a few days reflecting on myself as a parent. A tragedy like this could happen to anyone and I am no exception. I only have one toddler but she is extremely independent. When she was a baby, I thought independence was a trait to be admired and I wanted to build that up in her. Everything in moderation, I’ve learned, as now she is also difficult to control.
During toddler group last night while I was pushing my daughter on the swing, I watched with my heart in my throat as one little girl who was not part of our group wandered across the road toward the water. My eyes didn’t leave her for a second, but if a car had come speeding along I would not have been able to get to her in time to help. If something had happened to her, would we all be jumping to blame her mom? I would personally blame myself since I saw her walking toward the road and the water and did not stop her. Don’t worry- it turned out that she was heading down to the water to see her mom- then she came right back and asked me to take off her shoes and push her on the swing. Still, as far as I’m concerned, this girl was a toddler crawling into a gorilla enclosure and I did nothing to stop her.
We all so desperately need each other. I love my toddler group and the adventures that we have together. I wish the mom from the Cincinnati zoo had more of a community available to her. She would be so welcome here.