At the lake, there’s a little playground, one of those metal-bar things painted green with plastic slides. This boy of no more than three tries to swing himself across the monkey bars and falls, landing right on his traumatised little arse. The poor dear sets to bawling.

I ran over to tend the boy, and because he wasn’t my child, asked him, “Where’s your mummy?” He pointed at a bench more than twenty feet away, where Mummy was deep in conversation with two other layabouts. The boy’s brother was quicker to notice than his mother, for pity’s sake.

So I stood up and asked, quite upset: “Will one of you please lay claim to this child?” Because if you’re going to bother having children, I’m pretty sure you should parent them as well. And his mum gets up, all surprised that her kid got hurt — why so shocked? You weren’t minding him!

I’m childfree because I know I couldn’t do it well enough. Why was I the only one noticing the unsafe situation, then? Why not, oh, wild stab in the dark, the parents involved?


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