I Turned My Head for Two Seconds…

“I turned my head for two seconds…”

Boy, is that a phrase I’ve uttered a time or two or twenty as a parent. Maybe all you perfect parents haven’t ever said that, but I bet like me, you have plenty of times.

Your kid go in the kitchen and spill milk or juice or flour or cereal or sugar or diaper rash cream all over the floor while your eyeballs were averted for two seconds?

Your precious tot go play in the toilet water while you were looking at your phone or washing dishes for two seconds?

Did your ornery little munchkin go hide in the clothing rack at a department store when you were checking a price tag for two seconds and make you feel the panic of your life when you thought he may have got in the elevator to go to the bottom floor (or out into the street) without you?

Maybe you’ve been on vacation and your kid ran ahead of you to go to the bathroom at a restaurant before you could get up from the table, and instead ran outside and got in the car you thought you locked and you searched for him for 2o minutes and almost got the police involved before you saw him happily turning the wheel pretending to drive.

Maybe your kid is highly intelligent and got to talking with some teachers or something during a field trip and you left without realizing he wasn’t still with your group and you had to go back and find him, just hoping he was still there where he was the last time you saw him before you turned your head for two seconds.

Maybe you were tying one of your other kids shoe or something like that for two seconds when your kid slipped away and got into something he shouldn’t have and got hurt.

If these things or anything like that has happened when you turned your head for two seconds, does that make you a bad parent? Because I sure don’t think my young friend whose kid spilled stuff all over the floor is bad. I definitely don’t think my dear sweet coworker is a bad Mom for finding her son in the bathroom needing a good wash of the ol’ hands. I sure as heck don’t think my Momma is a bad Mom after my brother hid from her at 2 or 3 years old and caused her heart to drop. I know for a fact my sister in law isn’t a bad Mom even though Douglas gave her and my brother the scare of their lives. You know that I can’t judge Mary the mother of Jesus, the woman GOD chose as good enough to bear His own son on Earth, for leaving Jesus talking to some scholars when they got out of Dodge.

I can’t judge the mother of the child who crawled into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinatti Zoo. Know why? I DON’T KNOW HER. I don’t know what was happening when that kid got in there. But I sure do know that kids can be fast. Kids can be sneaky. Kids can do things in two seconds that would make your head spin. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t “watching” their kids when freak things like this happen. That’s what this is, you know. A Freak Thing.

An accident. A tragic, heartbreaking, Freak Accident.

I marvel at this day and age of social media, how anything and everything can make one an instant celebrity, for the good (Chewbacca Mask) or the very bad (your kid got where he wasn’t supposed to go at a zoo and a member of an endangered species got killed because of it). People can comment their two cents worth (like I am) for all the world to see. People say absurd things, like the family should be shot. Or because of this incident, they should have their kids taken from them because they obviously don’t care.

People who don’t care about their children do not take their kids to the zoo to enjoy a day with the fam. They don’t spend the money to make memories to cherish if they don’t care.

I don’t think that Mom is perfect. But I sure don’t think she was simply careless, or inept.

Things happen. Accidents have happened in mine and my kids’ lives that I’m glad the world can’t comment on. MISTAKES have happened in our lives that I wish I could take back. Times I’ve lost my cool and screamed and yelled over what eventually felt like nothing. Times I’ve went weeping to wake my children up and apologize to them for going off the deep end, and to let them know that I love them so very much. I’ve failed many times as a Mom, but I don’t think I am a BAD Mom.

I am utterly devastated and heartbroken that that beautiful creature was shot and killed. I don’t think he wanted to kill or attack the boy, and in fact, the scared shouts of the crowd might be what agitated him to the point of dragging the boy around. But I do realize that despite the human nature of placing blame, of pointing fingers to pin the fault on someone, sometimes things happen and they are just things that happen and it is what it is. If I was there and turned my head for two seconds and one of my babies quickly shimmied into an enclosure before anyone could stop it from happening, and kids almost have a magic power to do this, I’d probably be panicked and screaming. If I saw my child being drug around, despite loving the animal and being sad for it, I’d want my baby safe and sound above all. I am sure the boy’s mother is devastated about all of this, including the death of that gorgeous gorilla.

She will live with guilt for the rest of her life. She’ll live with the what ifs of motherhood for the rest of her life. But hopefully, she’ll live with her baby boy for the rest of her life, too.

I know you perfect parents might not understand what it feels like to turn your head for two seconds and have your kids do something that causes your heart to drop, or worse yet, get hurt because you had your head turned for those two precious seconds. Or two minutes. Or however brief amount of time your head was turned that your kid might get into SOMETHING, even if it wasn’t something that caused a tragic and heart-wrenching death of a beautiful endangered animal and generated a plethora of media attacks on your character that would consume your soul. You may not know what that feels like.

I sure hope you never will.


27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa Turner
    May 29, 2016 @ 21:44:55

    Very well said! Makes ya think! So true though. Thanks. 😊


  2. Heather
    May 30, 2016 @ 19:04:50

    Well said how true that it.


  3. Kristin Mcgeehan
    May 30, 2016 @ 19:33:15

    Yes I’m a parent, yes I’ve said ‘I turned my head for two seconds’, but I also KNOW MY CHILDREN enough to know in a public situation of any type (and ESPECIALLY 1 involving wild animals), my child will be wearing her backpack with attached leash. Call me cruel or inhuman for ‘putting my daughter on a leash like a dog’ I don’t care what you think of me for doing it. My mother put me on one almost 4 decades ago, for the same reason I put my little one ‘on a leash’…peace of mind. I know for sure she won’t run away, I know for sure she won’t get taken, and I know for DAMN sure she won’t climb or fall into a wild animal enclosure at the zoo.


    • Chrissy Herrell
      May 30, 2016 @ 19:44:30

      There is no need to curse on my blog. I had my son on a leash as well with the little animal backpack when we were to that very zoo several years ago. But I would say for every kid on a leash, there are dozens who are not, and it does not mean their parents are bad.


    • Christopher
      May 31, 2016 @ 06:04:22

      While I understand where you come from, please don’t allow that leash to give you a false sense of security. It would take little to know effort for a child abductor to cut that leash without you even realizing it. So when you say “she won’t get taken,” know that she could and that you still need to be 100% aware of your surroundings.

      We chose to use one of those leashes with out first child. We have not for our other three. In looking at my children I am more concerned that my oldest would do something like this than the others. She has always been our daredevil, our climber, and our puzzle solver. If she wants to get to something, she WILL find a way. We KNOW her well and we do what we can to keep her safe (while still attending to the other three). I have seen nothing that talks about the mother and what was going on during this situation. Does she have other children or is this her only one? What exactly was she doing? My kids have gotten into many things (thankfully nothing life threatening) while we take care of another child (or two). This is not reflective of bad parenting. It just shows how fast things can happen. That said, our 4 year-old has recently started to act out and do things he NEVER has done before. I KNOW my children, but would NOT expect him to do something outrageous. This could easily be the situation this mother has faced. What if the tot that did this was the one that is NORMALLY well-behaved and doesn’t stray or do this sort of thing? What if she was keeping a tight reign on the one that was most likely to do this sort of thing and, as a result, gave opportunity for this tragic thing to happen. Do you really wish to place blame on her? Without knowing anything other than what is reported by the media and then spun by online commentators and the internet community as a whole? I hope for your sake that you never find yourself in her shoes. The judgment of the internet age is nothing short of hate.


    • krystal
      May 31, 2016 @ 17:07:05

      oh i see we have a perfect parent here. HEY EVERYONE WE NEED TO GET THIS WOMAN A AWARD FOR MOTHER OF THE YEAR!!!


  4. Sandy Macfarlane Nebergall
    May 30, 2016 @ 19:55:57

    Thank you …that’s what I think too


  5. Jess
    May 30, 2016 @ 23:40:21

    I don’t blame nature…or the parent really..it is society as a whole….20 yrs ago kids did not dare move without permission….now…kids can divorce there parents…they can cry abuse…because they were punished….let’s go back to respect your elders and spare the rod spoil the child..can I get a amen


    • Rebecca
      May 31, 2016 @ 12:56:14

      I agree completely!! We discipline our children when necessary and they are taught respect. I think that there were a lot of things that went into play in this incident and I am glad that they little boy was okay.


  6. Tina Robinson
    May 31, 2016 @ 08:23:32

    I am just heart broken over the situation so happy that the child is safe and was not critically hurt so for that Amen .On the other hand a 17 year old beautiful animal lost his life in his home due to humans this poor guy asked for none of this he was doing what he knows to do his territory was invaded he deserved so much better than to have his life ended in such a cruel way while in his habitat his home .Just like people who are attacked by sharks well it is sad to say the least but we are invading their territory but yet they want the shark put down it is just sad.Dont get me wrong I do not feel animal over human but there are times these poor animals need protection from us humans .He was in a what they would call a safe habitat for him and the other gorillas but look that same captivity that was suppose to protect their existence took his life .So the fault does lie somewhere I the mother of this poor child would of had him under control and by her side he would not have been hurt and this beautiful creature would be alive and in Protected Habitat.today he paid the ultimate sacrifice for human mistake high price to pay .Further more parents you let your child climb a tree and they fall and break their arm you can get child endangerment charges, your child gets curious and gets household cleaner or laundry soap and they ingest it you are charged with child neglect and child endangerment,you take your child out of the car and they so called get away from you and god forbid they get hit by a car you are charged this happened to a dear friend of mine thank god the 4 year old was just scrapped up but they were charged with child neglect and child endangerment so this child gets over a barrier through a wire fence through the bushes and falls into a gorilla mult and yet all we hear is I only turned my head for a second what’s the difference responsibility lies with the patent of their children and this child was hurt so the responsibility needs to be placed with the person who is solely responsible for their child .


    • Chrissy Herrell
      May 31, 2016 @ 08:33:33

      Parents do not normally get charged every time their child gets into an accident or, Heaven forbid, gets hurt, or NO ONE would be able to keep his or her child. I read a post made by a woman who was right there when this horrible gorilla incident happened, and she said the mother of the boy (who also had other children) WAS paying attention to him. He was right beside her with his hand in her pocket and she was taking a picture when he quickly slipped it out and got into the bushes and fell in before anyone could grab him (because as I said, kids are quick), and the Mom was frantic and beside herself, needless to say. She is being ostracized for a freak accident, and this incident by no means indicates that she wasn’t paying attention to her child. Who thinks their kid is going to be able to jump into a place that quick? I certainly didn’t when I visited that zoo several years ago. Hindsight is 20/20. It is sad, and everyone is heartbroken that the beautiful Harambe had to be put down, but I don’t think that this mother, who loves her son, should be charged with something that was an accident. What kind of precedent would that set? Freak accidents happen, unfortunately, and I am sure people’s stories about what they think this family should have to pay for this one would follow a different tune if the shoes belonged to them.


  7. Steve Murray
    May 31, 2016 @ 11:37:11

    I’d also like to know how many of the self-righteous have done things to ensure that zoos aren’t the only place such magnificent animals will live in the future, or how many outraged parents vented their spleen texting while driving. It’s easy to go after people who are down.


  8. Marilyn Humphrey
    May 31, 2016 @ 12:03:38

    In the blink of an eye…………but as Jack Hanna, former director of #2 Zoo in the United States stated………..he would have made the same choice. It’s a shame that the animal had to die, but the little boy is safe………Could have been different in just seconds………


  9. Donna Spallo
    May 31, 2016 @ 12:31:01

    Exactly how do you know how long she took her eyes off her child? And what the woman who posted her account of the incident is recalling it as it truly happened? You don’t. Nor does anyone else. But everyone is going to have their opinion as you have yours and, if it differs as mine does, it doesn’t mean those on the other side view themselves as “perfect parents”.


    • Chrissy Herrell
      May 31, 2016 @ 13:01:40

      That’s right. Like myself, most of the world wasn’t there to see exactly what happened, yet so many are passing judgment, presuming she was a careless parent not watching her child. They are getting out the proverbial torches to burn her at the stake. What happened is a horrible tragedy, but it was an accident. Accidents happen every day, but the difference is that most people’s accidents don’t result in the death of a member of an endangered species. If that hadn’t have happened, no one would have passed judgment on this woman as if she wasn’t watching her children. Yet, she might have taken the same amount of time to snap a few pictures with her eyes off her little tot as she did in the moments he got away from her and tragically fell in the enclosure. People can mourn about this most difficult situation, as they should. I feel so brokenhearted about the whole thing. I wrote about how I feel because I know that I wouldn’t want people saying these things about me if something like this happened, Heaven forbid, because NO ONE loves their kids more than I love mine. In fact, I have been called Mother Hen and “overprotective” more than once over the years, mostly by my own Dad. But still, there are moments when my kids have got hurt when my eyes haven’t been on them, like when they have been playing in our own fenced in yard in our small town where everyone knows everyone. There are moments parents have to go to the bathroom for 2 minutes and their kid might climb up on a chair and fall off and break their arm. Does this mean that parent who just needed to take a pee is a bad parent? Of course not. That is an accident. (That was just hypothetical, but things like that do happen.) I know those examples are ones that happen at home, and people say, “When you’re in public…” I do get that. Even now, I usually have a vice grip on my kids’ hands when we are in public walking across a parking lot. But we’ve gone to places like zoos and such and I love to take pictures so there have been seconds worth of time when I’ve had the camera up to my eyes taking pictures to keep these memories to cherish. That’s all it takes sometimes for a kid to get away from you, maybe just a few feet away, and you have to holler at them to get back over with you. But I don’t think anyone would think I’m a bad Mom if my kids stepped a few feet or even yards away and I said, “Get back over here next to me!” Unfortunately, the few feet or yards away this woman experienced was enough for her kid to drop into an enclosure. Things happen so fast. It is definitely a reason I am a fan of the leash on younger kids, but I don’t think people are awful for not having one. No one thinks their kids is going to do this. She had her other children with her, too, and could have been speaking to one of them or anything. We only have two eyes in the front of our head. But like you said, we don’t know because we weren’t there. But I do know as a parent that things happen sometimes and people should think and place themselves in those other shoes before they say the most absurd things. Things that incited me to write this blog in the first place. Anyway, like you said, everyone is definitely entitled to their own opinion, even if they differ. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and add your input because it is good to have a dialogue. ❤


  10. Susan Plueger
    May 31, 2016 @ 12:35:24

    I agree with the blog sometime things happen in a blink of an eye. My only problem in this situation is that the parent was having an agreement before it happened with the little boy saying that he wanted to go by the gorilla and the parent not knowing their child and how they are going to act when they being defiant. That is the only problem I have with the parent. Myself I know which of my 2 girls that I had to watch when I said “No” to. The minute you say that word it was a battle of wills that I had to win every time. I would have know we had to move on to the next exhibit. Once that boy was in the cage, his life was more important than the gorilla as it should be. The zoo to me is not at fault. I think some people think animals think and react like humans and then are surprised when they act like an animal. The zoo wasn’t going to win. Kill the gorilla to save the boy and they are bad… do nothing, the gorilla rips the kid apart are bad. That gorilla, unfortunately, was dead the minute that boy entered the cage. I am glad the boy is okay and one day understands the cost of disobeying.


  11. Connie
    May 31, 2016 @ 16:19:50

    I haven’t spoken up on how I feel anywhere because I don’t want to be slammed. If you think this mom needs to be charged then so dose every parent who’s ever had there child snatched or hurt or killed in any type of accident. It happend the same way they got away for a second and that’s all it takes. Yeah the mom who was shopping and her kid snatched no one feels she’s a horrible parent, neither do I.


  12. Kelly
    May 31, 2016 @ 16:26:54

    It took more than 2 seconds for that little boy to get to that gorilla… A lot more than 2 seconds!!!


    • Chrissy Herrell
      May 31, 2016 @ 17:15:06

      It may have but it just takes a couple of seconds for a kid to get away from your side. From other posts I’ve seen, people saw him run into the space and tried to grab him but he was too quick. We can’t know for sure but I just think people shouldn’t be so quick to judge, myself included. I try to put myself in others’ shoes often to see things from all sides as best I can.


  13. K
    May 31, 2016 @ 16:28:57

    Why are ppl comparing lil accidents to this? The little boy did not run in front of a car to get the ball. That’s a quick freak accident. The daycare worker/mother didn’t pay attention to the boy that was able to run free because she was giving 100% attention to her baby in a secured stroller? I don’t get it. Yes I feel bad for the little boy knowing he got hurt but that could’ve been avoided if she kept her eyes on him a little better especially knowing he likes to run around


  14. Andrea
    May 31, 2016 @ 20:00:42

    I commend you on writing this. I am disgusted with the social media comments on how this mother is horrible. Possibly she is or possibly as you said she simply turned her head for two seconds too long. I have four of my own and have literally had stiches and broken bones. I really find society disgusting for tearing someone apart they don’t know.


  15. In Him
    May 31, 2016 @ 20:41:16

    Reblogged this on In Him and commented:
    In light of the news and everyones comments, this mom so wonderfully says what I want to say. Thank you.


  16. Jack
    Jun 01, 2016 @ 05:13:06

    Evеryone ⅼoѵes it whenever people get together and share views.

    Great website, continue tҺe good work!


  17. Erica
    Jun 01, 2016 @ 10:32:02

    My youngest child was my dear devil. She was fast as lightening. I had to make sure I was up before she opened her eyes in the morning. It was tough. I could turn my back to tend to her brothers and she would get into something just that fast. My heart goes out to this family because I too could have been labeled a bad mom at times for turning my back to tend to my other children, cook dinner, or turned my back to put something in the shopping chart ( and she unbuckled herself and stood up to climb out as she was known to do) and a tragic accident happened. I just thank God it did not. I prayed EVERY night for her safety during those years and still do.

    I also wonder what everybody else was doing when they saw this child alone and better yet climbing over the rail. I thought it took “a village to raise a child” not to shame a parent and be a bystander and watch the unthinkable happen. Just a sad situation and easy to judge if you weren’t there, not a parent or never experienced a dare devil of a child.


  18. anne Miller
    Jun 02, 2016 @ 22:37:38

    Easy done. Happens to us all. By the way when you learn to be a smart parent the Job at that stage is easily done. always a parent Judge you not, What is a smart parent? you be the Judge


  19. Mgriffin78
    Jun 03, 2016 @ 13:39:56

    I agree this situation is out of control. It’s nonsense. Seriously, is this the only things people can talk about now? Everyone needs to watch the Chewbacca lady and be happy . Lifes too short and no one should be judging anyone. That’s only one persons job and it isn’t us. I will say if my child told me he was going to go in there, which hers did. There is no way I would take my eyes off him!


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