Check out this little cutie. Never mind that she's about four years old, is wearing an adorable outfit and has a pacifier in her mouth. (It was 9:30pm, after all, but that's beside the point.)
If this were your little girl, how far would you let her get away from you in a mall before you freaked out?
I went shopping with my MIL tonight and came out of a store to find this little girl standing alone in the busy mall. I approached her and asked, "Where's your mommy?" She just stared at me. I looked all around and saw no one looking for a small preschooler. I asked, "Is your mommy in that store?" gesturing towards the store I had just come out of. She shook her head. I wasn't sure what to do; she didn't look very upset, but I certainly couldn't just leave her standing there. However, there was no one to claim her.
I took a short walk, all the while on the lookout for a desperate, fearful mother. There was none to be found. I approached the nearby kiosk salesman and asked if it was his daughter. He answered in the negative.
My MIL and I stood there with that little girl for 2-3 minutes. During this time, she just kind of wandered around; I didn't want to put my hands on her, so I just kept calling her back over by me. I took her photo in a moment of "Now what do we do?!"
A mall cop strolled by, and I called him over, "This little girl is by herself." He looked interested and approached us but said nothing. I asked the next kiosk salesman if he knew the little girl. He replied, "No, but I think her mom is in that store over there; I saw her go in there a little while ago. She's pushing a stroller."
I left the little girl with my MIL and walked down to the store, two doors down. About twenty feet inside the store, I saw a woman with a single child in a double stroller. The mom and her friend were admiring some sweaters and laughing. "Are you missing someone?" I called to her.
That's when I expected her to freak out a little, suddenly realizing her small child was not where she had expected. However, she did not turn around and look towards the stroller in surprise. Instead, she turned to me, pointing the direction her daughter was in. She nonchalantly replied, "No. She's just down there."
Uh, yes, Ma'am, she is "down there"-two doors down, wandering the mall on her own, and you're worrying about your fall wardrobe, you dumbass! [Notice there are no quotes here. I said it inside my head.] Did I mention that it was 9:30pm?
Finally, she casually walked to the doorway and called something to her daughter in (annoyed, yet calm) Spanish and gestured for her to join her. The little girl ignored her. She apparently then decided that her child was worth a little attention, because only then did she leave the store and go retrieve her daughter. She said not a word to me, and I turned and joined my MIL.
I'm sorry--I know we lose sight of our children in stores sometimes, but what is up with her lack of concern over her child? Am I missing something??