We go to the beach a lot. We love the beach. This weekend, while at the beach, a little girl came by to play with the boys. I love that about kids. They see another kid & they just start to play together.
And this girl is ADORABLE. She has beautiful cafe-con-leche skin; crazy, happy hair with a tiny blue barrette in it, and a precious pink gingham bikini. This child was friendly and very charming. This is the kind of child that makes me wish (a tiny bit) that I had a little girl.
What she didn't seem to have were parents.
I asked where they were & she said "they are in the white car". . .I looked -- saw the white car, but no parents.
Her name is Olivia, and she is 3.
THREE. Almost 4, apparently, but still. She's 3.
The waves at Bob Hall Pier are not too bad, but it's very easy to get out too far without realizing it. Especially if you are 3.
My son is 3 and I won't let him NEAR the water without me or his dad. I won't let the 6 or 9 year olds near the water without me or their dad.
I have this thing about water safety. I think it is important.
I think that one of the duties a parent has is to ensure that children are safe around water. Pools, lakes and beaches. Beaches with strong undertows that can sweep a child out into the ocean as fast as you can say David Hasselhoff.
We could not see this girl's parents anywhere.
When it was time to go, I said "Olivia honey, we have to go. Let's go find your mommy, OK?"
She said "No -- I am going to find some other kids to play with" and she skipped over to another family playing not far away.
I approached the family and explained: "I don't know who she is, but I am going to call the ranger. Can you keep an eye on her?" The Mom said "I thought she was yours".
By the time I got to the car -- Viola! Her mother shows up.
Her mother looks just like you'd think she'd look. 19. Tramp Stamp. Piercings. Gangster Boyfriend who obviously is not Olivia's daddy. (How do I know? Olivia is clearly half white and half black. Gangster Boyfriend is clearly Hispanic. Not Olivia's daddy.)
It's not that I have a problem with moms being 19 with tramp stamps and piercings and Gangster Boyfriends. (well, the 19 & Gangster Boyfriend parts aren't cool). I do have a problem with letting your 3 year old play by the water without proper supervision.
Sigh. Poor Olivia.