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Unfiltered Story #247581

, | Unfiltered | November 14, 2021

(I am five or six, and while on a shopping outing with my mother and her friend – whom I’ve never met before – they decide to leave me to watch the other woman’s toddler outside a store. I have no siblings and have never looked after smaller children before, but when they first tell me to do this the child is sitting securely in a stroller so I don’t think much of the request. He is maybe a year to a year and a half old – he can already walk but is still wobbly.)

Friend: “Be careful with him; he has a soft spot on his head.”

(I’m somewhat alarmed at this, even though I’m too young to really understand what this means.
I’m even more alarmed when the woman *pulls him out if his stroller* and leaves him to freely walk around. I can already tell this is a terrible idea and I won’t be able to look after him this way.
Neither the friend nor my mom give me any chance to say anything, nor provide any further instructions on how to safely watch over a toddler who’s free to just walk about on the street – they just tell us to wait for them there outside the store and go in to shop.

Unsurprisingly, I don’t do very well in looking after him. He keeps trying to walk off in all directions and won’t listen at all when I tell him not to. I have very limited success in corralling him as I’m unsure if I’m allowed to even touch him much, and I’m too wary of trying to grab him since at my own small size and with him wearing a puffy winter outfit I’d likely just unbalance or drop him. After about five minutes of this, he ends up tripping and falling over, gets a scratch on his forehead, and starts wailing inconsolably. My attempts to cheer him up are fruitless and I don’t know what to do for him or how to tell if he’s seriously injured. I also have no way to get our mothers from the store as I can’t leave the boy alone. For the next several minutes he’s sitting on the ground shrieking his head off while I have no clue what to do.

Possibly someone else alerted our mothers, because they finally come out of the store. The boy’s mother goes to fuss over him while I tell my mother that he’d fallen. My mother and her friend exchange some words over my head that I can’t make out due to the boy’s loud crying, then the friend puts the boy back in the stroller and carts him away while we just stand there watching her leave. )

Me: “What’s going on? Where are they going?”

Mother: *extremely matter-of-factly* “Well, you let him fall and he hit the soft spot on his head, so that means he’s badly injured and his mom has to take him home now.”

(I am shocked and upset, but mother says nothing else and just has us continue to go about our day as if nothing ever happened.
I felt terrible and spent years feeling guilty whenever I remembered the incident – I still recall it now three decades later. I never found out what happened to the boy; I’m pretty sure we never saw them again.)

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