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Do not leave your child unattended

Justus Njoroge

Last week my daughter was not feeling well. I have a soft spot for my girl and never take chances on any illness. So, I decided to take her to hospital. We went through the registration process and queued for the triage. In one of the walls, there was a conspicuous notice “Do not leave your child unattended”.

There is one strange thing with children. Whenever they get to the confines of the hospital, the gloomy and sluggish eyes suddenly brightens up. A child that was barely able to lift their feet off the ground is now running and screaming her voice hoarse along the hospital corridors. My daughter was moving all over the place.

I asked her to sit down next to me and wait until it was our turn. When she asked why, I pointed her to this notice. She didn’t take it kindly. After a big debate she decided to remain sitted albeit with murmurs of complaints. Before I became a parent, I used to have strong opinions on parents whose children would ‘misbehave’.

Whether it’s running along the corridors of supermarkets or church aisles, my assessment was that it was a parent’s failure to contain the children. I would give, especially the mothers that evil look that signified they had failed. After getting my own children, I’m now wiser. I know that for young children, mobility is their second name.

Once they learn how to walk, they would love to walk endlessly. Where they can, they would test their running and shouting skills would be perfected. The children are just being who they are meant to be­ —children.

I now give more allowance to such parents. I don’t silently scream at them anymore. And although such kind of notices are placed in many places ­­— I’m sure they are meant to keep the children safe and not stop them from being who they are really are — children.

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