2 Kids Left at Chuck E. Cheese in 1 Week Is Outrageous, but Understandable (VIDEO)

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Chuck E. CheeseJust days after a 3-year-old was left behind by her parents at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Maryland, along comes another case. This time it happened in Texas when 5-year-old Azana Jackson was left at her own birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Her mother -- who notably has nine other children -- didn't realize she was missing until the next day.

First of all, WTF is it with that place? I know it's an overstimulating sensory explosion that numbs the mind, but still it's unbelievable that twice in one week, it's been the scene for such similar, frightening incidents. They are shocking and leave other parents wagging fingers with mouths agape, shouting, "How could they?"

While I gasped as well when I read these stories, I did so in part because I know it could easily be my story everyone is judging. You see, just last week I accidentally left my 3-year-old daughter on a playground.

It was Friday afternoon, and I had an hour to kill between the time I picked her up at school and the time I picked my son and his two friends up. We had plans to go get frozen yogurt, then head to the park with two other families. So she and I went to the school playground to wait. I chatted with moms as she happily played with the other children.

Then the boys came out with all of their 8-year-old, Friday energy. I rounded them up and kept them in line in the parking lot and out of the way of oncoming cars. I made sure backpacks made it in the minivan, seatbelts were getting buckled, and got them settled. Then I looked at my daughter’s car seat. She wasn’t in it.

Never have I run so quickly in my life as I did back to that playground, across the parking lot, my heart racing. She was fine, and another mother I knew was standing there. “I wondered where you were going without her,” she said as tears streamed down my face, and I scooped up my sweet baby.

Now I never left the parking lot, and if I’d have left her anywhere, she was in the safest place she could have been, where plenty of other parents know her and would have looked out for her. Also, there's NO way I wouldn't have realized she was missing within minutes, much less overnight. BUT STILL. I shudder and tear up when think about it.

I’m not in any way excusing these parents or myself; I’m just saying I can see how things like this happen, even though last week I probably would have told you it would never happen to me.

HOW could it have happened? I can give you a whole explanation as to how on Wednesdays I pick up the same group of boys without my daughter, so my brain was in Wednesday mode. Or the fact that I had a lot on mind, or that I was ridiculously tired after my husband had been traveling all week. None of those are excuses, but they are reasons things like this can happen to otherwise pretty good, conscientious parents.

Maybe the parents in these Chuck E. Cheese incidents are unfit and should be chastised for their actions; maybe I should be chastised too. I, however, believe that for the most part, we’re all doing the best we can, and sometimes, unfortunately we can and do make mistakes; and that we do a better job than anyone else at beating ourselves when we do.

Have you ever left your child somewhere? Can you see how it can happen?

Image via melissaclark/Flickr

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nonmember avatar whatever

According to the linked article, "The woman left the restaurant at 10 p.m. with her other nine children and it wasn't until she was getting them ready for school the next morning that she realized her mistake..." Ummm I have no words....

chigi... chigirl1228

Forgetting to put your kid in the car after what...like 10 minutes is one thing. But to forget about your kid overnight is something entirely different. She didn't notice all through dinner bedtime and breakfast that one of her kids was missing? That is not ok. I forgot my daughter in my house when we were leaving for the grocery store. I put the baby in the car started it and looked in my mirror and was like oh crap. Ran into the house and there she was going into a preschoolers survival mode: flipping on the tv and binging on granola bars. All in the span of like 3 minutes. I felt bad but knew this happens to everyone at some point. But forgetting about her for more than an hour and I would feel like I should be nominated for worst mother award.

Bonnie Bruns Williams

I've never left one of my kids anywhere, however I did something similar. I have  4 kids, the older two are in 4th and 5th while my youngest are 3 and a baby.  The combo of mommy brain plus a busy Friday after school where I had to talk to the teacher AND leave the school to make it to another appointment (also my day for the carpool!), I hurried into the school with baby on my hip, big kids with me... but no 3 year old! I was in such speed mode that I didn't wait to see if my 3 year old was still following behind me.  She actually tried to go to the school playground and that where I found her a few minutes later.  She was with some mothers I know, so no harm done, but I know it can happen that you momentarily forget a child.  However, that was only a few minutes, just like the author of the article.  The people leaving their kids overnight?  I'm not sure about that...

nonmember avatar Erika

I agree...there is a huge difference between getting in the car and realizing your child isn't in it, to leaving them overnight. Even if you do have other children. How do you not notice one is missing? Isn't it common practice (especially with as many children as 9) to do a headcount when leaving places like Chuck-E-Cheese? I'm sure kids have tried to hid from their parents to stay there. Not to mention the article says there were 3 adults for a party of 19 kids? How could they NOT get overwhelmed? I would love to hear the mom's side of this story.

Craft... CraftyJenna

I read in both cases the parents thought their children were going home with other family members, which would make it a misunderstanding, not neglect.

nonmember avatar Christie

I think you presented a wonderful example of why these parents are negligent....notice how as soon as you got everyone (well almost anyway) in the car you noticed your daughter was missing....I think most parents have had things like you described happen to them at one time or another but there is a HUGE difference between a momentary lapse in memory that you catch and correct right away and full out forgetting your kid and going home...And the one in MD who made excuses "oh I thought she was with so and so" there is no excuse for that...If I am leaving my little one with someone else I never leave the site fully without taking them to whatever aunt/grandmother is keeping them and telling the adult and child that I am leaving and who is in charge of them while I am gone....it is wrong to do otherwise for the kid and for the adult that you are leaving in charge

Whipp... WhipperWhirl

This isn't "understandable". There is no excuse for not noticing for that amount of time. I don't care if they thought the child was going home with someone else.

Kristin McShane

Also why was a five year old having a birthday party until 10pm on a school night?

Angie Nicholson Pitcher

I agree. Forgetting you have another child with you on a busy hectic day when you don't USUALLY have that child with you is one thing, but to not notice that you're missing a child for 12+ hours...CRAZY!

nonmember avatar Helena

I don't even have children of my own but when we have a birthday dinner or party at a public place, I always double check to see if my sister has her 5 children. If I'm taking 2 or 3 of them, I usually confirm that with her at least twice. I know she gets a little bugged at me for asking her a few times but at lease I'm playing it safe for the kids sake. And I'm always the last to leave just to ensure that all the children are where they're suppose to be.

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