hmm question ~ is this abuse?? Sleeping while children play... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok ... i saw this in another thread here and a LOT (a LOT) of posters said it was abuse / neglect for a toddler to be allowed to play by themselves while the mother sleeps. i've seen this before, too ~ that it's completely abusive and neglectful and just plain unhealthy to let children play while the parent(s) sleep.



as single parents ~~ what do you do??


i frequently sleep in in the mornings now that everyone is on vacation and my kids get up and play... they know that snacks and dishes are available to them and are totally happy, and when i get up i make them breakfast. i have never considered this abuse (even when i just had one child and would let my toddler get up and play ~ he was happy, i needed the sleep, and when i got up i would play with him). i don't mean i "doze on the sofa" (or in a common area) because i'm a light sleeper and can't rest around my kids ~ i mean that i lay in my bed in my room with the door open and i SLEEP.

i (obviously) do not consider it neglect or abuse ... my kids are well cared for and have all that they need, and i was really suprised to see so many people saying it's wrong.



what do you think??

:
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#2 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:09 PM
 
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I wouldn't call it abusive. I think I might say it's somewhat neglectful, but I'm one of those people who was always on top of my kids when they were little. And I was a single parent for a couple of years, and then every time my exH got deployed.

Sometimes I read posts about how a toddler destroyed a whole room in the house with permanent marker or something, and I think to myself "why wasn't the kid being supervised?"

I think kids under the age of four, or thereabouts, need a watchful eye.

When I was a single mom, I slept when my kids slept. Not to say I never took a 5-minute catnap on the couch, but I wouldn't go into another room and conk out while my kids roamed the house. I didn't feel comfortable with that.
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#3 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow.


so .... what do you do when you shower / bathe? you ALWAYS have your kids supervised ~~ by who??
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#4 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:22 PM
 
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my dd is 2 and a very good little girl, really never gets into things she is not supposed to. I do not let her get up and play alone, if sheis up I am up. And to answer you shower question, I shower before she gets up or after she is in bed or while she is napping. I would not take the chance she get the front door open and escape or get into something that could hurt her. I think untill they are about 5 they should not be unsupervised.
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#5 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i'm unlucky i guess in that if i run the water for a bath / shower it wakes my kids up. :
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#6 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:30 PM
 
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my dd is 2 and a very good little girl, really never gets into things she is not supposed to.

This language REALLY irks me. My ds is 2.5, and into everyfrickingthing alltheflippintime. Is he not good?
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#7 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:32 PM
 
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I think to a certain extent it is abuse / neglect, I didn't start leaving my daughter alone in a room until she was about 4-5ish, now she is 6 almost 7 and I will let her & my 17 month old play alone in the living room while I take a shower or cook supper, and sometimes when I take a nap, but I take a nap on the couch in the living room where they are playing. I'm not saying that it entirely says anything negative about your parenting, but there is no way I'd leave my kids at their ages now and go to my room / bed and sleep. I mean they don't get into things, but I just see it as really not "being" there for them. My stbx does the same thing, he will let them play in the living room and he'll sleep on the couch (which is his bed), this makes me feel bad because he is a very heavy sleeper and if something did go wrong you'd almost have to drop an anvil on him to get him to wake up, but that is just my opinion.
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#8 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:33 PM
 
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I'd also say not really abusive, but neglectful depending on the context. You also didn't say how old your child was, but that's a big factor too.

It also depends on the personality of the child...dd has never really mischevious, so I have taken cat naps on the couch while she is playing next to me. I'm a pretty light sleeper, so I could tell if she left the room or was getting into something. I wouldn't be comfortable with her up roaming the house alone while I was sleeping, just my own comfort level. I just recently (since she's been about 4) will shower when she's doing something else, often she'll come in the bathroom to keep me company (my biggest concern was if someone rang the bell, she'd want to open the door).

However, I also just got back from visiting my sil & brother. They have 3 kids under 3 & frequently don't know where they are or what they're doing. I know it's tough with them but it makes me uncomfortable that they're not supervised a bit more but they don't have a problem with it.
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#9 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:34 PM
 
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Showers and baths are easy to supervise, it's the pooping on the potty that always gets me in trouble. :


Showers, I usually put a video in and leave the bathroom door open. If kiddo (age two) is the only one home, I put off taking a shower until either my older kiddos (10 and 8) are home, or my husband is home.

When I was a single mom, with two toddlers, I had a trusted teenager that also babysat for me come play with the kiddos while I took a shower. OFTEN, that was just before work and it was included in the time she was watching the kids.

Back to my first sentence... it is always when I am stuck on the potty, that my two year old gets into trouble... like the time when he was only a year old, and he undressed himself and went out the doggy door start naked.
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#10 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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apparantly my sisters and i are all abusive and neglectful then. amazing how we turn out such happy, healthy kids.
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#11 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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on showering with the door open ~~ when i've done that in the past EVERY TIME my 6 yr old comes in and peeks at me and makes remarks about my private parts..... which i find completely unacceptable, so i stopped letting it happen.:
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#12 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:36 PM
 
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... like the time when he was only a year old, and he undressed himself and went out the doggy door start naked.
:


:

that will be a story to tell when he gets older! Hopefully you're at the point where you can laugh about it now.
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#13 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:38 PM
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I recently asked a child abuse specialist this question. X is a heavy sleeper, and hearing impaired. He goes to bed and leaves dc alone to put themselves to bed. They go to bed whenever. Believe it or not, it is not neglect. The circumstances are as such that because of thier ages, 10 and 12, they are considered ok. However, if they were younger, CPS would become involved. It is considered a form of abandonment. This is magnified by the hearing loss, but it is definitely frowned on by CPS, to leave a young child, toddler, alone while you sleep.
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#14 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:39 PM
 
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I think it depends on:

the personality of the child
the personality of the parent (and their parenting style)
how safe (toddler-proofed) the residence is

I am not a hoverer and have personally ZERO trouble napping while ds is playing. I do stay in the same room with him, though because I can block out his playing but would wake up if he got into real trouble. That being said, he plays quietly and for long periods of time and doesn't really get into mischief much. So, maybe mistakenly, I feel like I know what he will generally do and I'm fine with being *in another realm* while I'm taking care of him. I am NOT fine with dh doing this, though because he is a very very heavy sleeper and just.will.not.wake.up no matter what's going on.

This horrifies my mom and other hoverers I know. Oh well.
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#15 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:43 PM
 
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I don't believe that it's either abusive or neglectful, assuming the house is childproofed, the door is locked, you don't sleep for hours and hours and hours while they're awake, and you are alert enough that if someone needs you, you can get up. It takes me 30-45 minutes to get the baby down for a nap. I have to do it with the door closed, or he won't go to sleep (and the older kids will be in every 30 seconds to ask me something that they wouldn't care to know the answer to were I not otherwise occupied). The bigger kids (3 1/2 and almost 6) know they can come get me if they really need anything. I have been known to fall asleep with him :
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#16 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok i guess that's where the difference comes in ~~ i am a VERY light sleeper and wake with every little noise, and even if my kids come and stand NEXT to me while i'm sleeping i wake up (which is why i can't sleep in the same room with them).


and man that story about the doggy door had me
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#17 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:46 PM
 
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I'm not a single parent, so you can skip right over my response if you want to. I am home almost all the time by myself with ds, though, since dh and I work opposite shifts so one of us is always home with him. So when I'm walking in the door from work, dh is walking out. And I usually go to bed before he gets home, then get up and leave for work before he gets up.

Anyway...

I wouldn't call it abusive at all. But I do think you are taking a calculated risk. Life is all about risks, though, isn't it. My ds is only 17 months. I would not be able to sleep if he was up and about. There is only one room in our whole house that I feel is safe for him to be in by himself unsupervised. And I don't think he'd be happy in there by himself when I was sleeping somewhere else. As far as showering, I do it when he is sleeping or I bring him in he shower with me. Granted, I wouldn't do that with a 6-year-old.

When he gets older, I'd feel comfortable leaving him unsupervised for longer periods of time, but I still don't think I could lay down and actually sleep.

If your kids are well cared for and have all that they need and you are certain that they are safe, then I don't think you need to be defensive about your choices. Somewhere I missed their ages (except the 6-yr-old dd), but you originally phrased it as "toddlers." IMO, there is way too much danger in the average house to let a toddler regularly be unsupervised.

I LOVE sleeping in, too. You know what? I simply don't get to do that anymore now that I'm a mom.

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#18 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:48 PM
 
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depends on the age, my two older boys no problem, but my 2.5 year old i get up with her every morning. I honestly can't imagine sleeping in bed and letting her roam around.
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#19 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:50 PM
 
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Unless I'm sick, I don't nap. And during normal days when my three year old is up, I'm up. My oldest two kids are in school, so I get up to get them off at 6:00. I shower before they leave. Baby girl is up and running at 8:00ish. She is a great player. She likes nothing more than to disappear to the family room upstairs and play with everything she can get her hands on. She makes it very easy for me to get housework done/visit MDC/cook/etc. I don't hover over her, but I do have my eyes and ears open at all times. This morning I slept in - the kids are on Christmas break, so my thirteen year old was up and they read stories till I got up at 8:00. It was heaven! Oh, forgot to mention that my younger two kids don't get out of their beds alone - my son will get up and go to the bathroom then go back to bed, but my little girl won't even do that - she'll call me to take her. I'm not sure *why* they think they need permission to get up in the morning, but they are happy to lay around and play with their stuffed animals until I show up, so I'm happy to let them! Again, this only applies to the rare sleeping in day, and since today was really the first one I've had since they were on summer vacation, I'm not telling them any different!

When my little one was about six months old I was sick. I mean knock-down drag-out puking up my guts, strep throat, double ear infection sick. I called my mommy to see if she could help me out and she was sick too. I kept my (then) nine year old daughter home from school to help with the baby. It was the only option I had. She was great - she brought me the baby to nurse, but other than that she took care of her the whole day. I'll always remember how much she helped me out that day.

When the baby was just a few days old we had a great stretch of warm weather, so I took her outside with me so my (then) five year old could play. I made her a little nest on the back porch, stretched out on the swing and promptly fell asleep. You know how those first few days are, at least for me if I blinked too long I'd fall asleep. Somehow I ended up sleeping out there for over an hour. I was right there, my son could have woken me up if he needed me, but I've always felt horrible about what *could* have happened while I napped. I found out later that my neighbor was also on her back porch that day (oddly enough the same doctor delivered my baby and gave her a hysterectomy the same week) and was keeping an eye on all of us.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with you sleeping while your kids are up, just that I can't do it...
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#20 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:50 PM
 
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I don't think I'd ever go into the other room and sleep while DS was awake but I've certainly dozed on the couch while he plays quietly nearby. I don't have a problem with that, and he's almost 4. I like to be close to my DS to at least be able to hear what he's doing or be there if something happens and he needs me.

He's always doing silly things like getting his finger stuck in a toy or climbing up on his dresser and not being able to get himself down, so I wouldn't want to leave him alone for long. I do leave him to watch TV while I take a shower. I shower quickly and leave the door open and let him know to come get me if he needs me.

I don't think I could ever fall into a deep sleep with him awake unless I knew someone else was there to watch him. I don't think it's abusive, but it could be seen as slightly neglectful and possibly dangerous.

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#21 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 05:54 PM
 
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:


:

that will be a story to tell when he gets older! Hopefully you're at the point where you can laugh about it now.

I laughed at it then,
I edited out the parts of me running out the back door with my pants half down after hearing the doggy door swing, having diarrhea cramps, trying to get him back into the house, him running and squealing from me, having to go back inside to spend more time on the potty,,, all while he ran around buck naked squealing.


I absolutely am not saying you are neglectful or abusive for not watching them every second of every day. I was just pointing out that many people have different comfort levels, and how I personally deal with my comfort levels.

Like now, I am at the kitchen counter with the lap top, my two year old is in the play room (open house design) playing with his cars. To some people that is neglectful and I am not in the same room with him.

To some mothers and authorities, the above incident with him outside naked during the winter in Oregon, would be abuse, or neglect. To me, it was just one of those days you end up laughing about.
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#22 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 06:20 PM
 
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Personally my DD is never alone. I never nap and I always wake up before her or wait until she falls asleep to take a shower. I just think it's one of those sacrifices i make as a single mom. I've been quite surprised at my abilities to operate on such little sleep!

Am i tired? Sure. Do I feel really dirty some days? Absolutely.

There is just too much that could happen when i'm preoccupied on other things though. She gets into enough when i'm awake! Sometimes she'll hop in the shower with me and I don't mind that at all. I wouldn't say it's "abusing" your child if you leave them alone, but so many potentially "neglectful" things could happen. I don't feel comfortable giving my DD that opportunity yet. :
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#23 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 06:55 PM
 
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I know personally I wont let my toddler about the house if Im out cold.I was a single mother for quite a few years and I still just couldnt do it. Every once in a great while I will lay back down for a few minutes when DS1(11.5) and DS2 (8.5)are up, because together they can contain the 2.5 year old. I will however put a video on and rest on the couch and kind of be half there.
I use to sleep when my oldest son was little but he literally never did anything, to the point I worried about it.I would put him in the playpen and he would stay there. If I didnt take him out to play he would have been content to be in tehre all day.
Then my friend fell asleep while her child and one other child were playing and they hucked matchbox cars everywhere and ended up killing one of the kittens. they were 3 and 4 years old (the kids not the kittens) I just couldnt even think about doing it after that

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#24 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 07:02 PM
 
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My happiest moment was when DD learned to open the bedroom door by herself. I say that tongue in cheek, but I do sleep while the kids are up. Not for naps, but in the morning when DD decides she needs to be up at 7 and I'm exhausted still. She is 3.5 and DS is 9. They go down and watch TV, play quietly together, etc. I have been letting DD get up w/o me since she was around 2.

It never occurred to me to wonder if it was abuse.
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#25 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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LotusBirthMama ~ what you said makes me wonder how many other mamas will actually pass out when they're exhausted .... i never believed my sister when she said her dh does this ~ i just thought he was a jerk who wanted extra sleep ~ until it started happening to me.

for awhile before my drs put me on all the new meds i'm on right now, many times the only sleep i would get were the couple of hours in the morning when my kids were awake. and yes there were days i actually passed out from sheer exhaustion. so i figure, it's better to be at least somewhat more alert and able to function then try to take care of a child on no sleep ... yk?


boobybunny ~ your last post made me think of a set of neighbors i had awhile back who used to let their two daughters (who were around 2 years old and 4 years old at the time) play outside in their underwear, in winter, while the mother prostituted + did crack. yes there is a HUGE difference between a once in a lifetime doggy-door incident (funny) and every single day (abuse)!!!
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#26 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 07:58 PM
 
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i dont think it is bad you are there as long as you are not dead to the world it dont matter if it is night time or day if you are sleeping even if the kids are sleeping if you are a single parent or not most parents are able to listen for them even while your are sleeping that is why you are woken up when they are crying, babbling or even talking in their sleep (well maybe it is just me when they are there i dont sleep dead) it dont matter if you are peeing, pooing, geting a drink, answering the phone or door, at the pc, watching tv, cooking, doing dishes or any other thing that needs to be done on a daily bases a chlid could get in to things you learn really quick what you chlid is bound to get in to and what they are able to do on their own each child is different it is also how you parent if you know your child is fine doing something no matter their age (eg. you know when they are able to play fine with out you watching over them, when they can pee by them selves, when they can get a drink or a snack by them selves) you as a parent just know your chlid it dont matter their age the marker thing yes it has been done here not while i was sleeping it was when i went to go pee and the door was open!!!

i live my kids with all my heart i do everything for them i would never put them in danger my daughter will come to me for everything if i am up or sleeping she will ask me can i do this or can i have this can u get me this... lots of times she wakes up plays for a bit then comes in to my bed and goes back to sleep i know her i know what she does alot of time where she plays i can see her but i can always hear her my house is more for the kids then me everything is touchable everything is fine she knows the few things she is not to touch
i live in a apartment the doors have the door alarm things the go off if they are opened and boy it is loud the windows have child locks on them can only open about 4 inches my dd was good she got in to more stuff when i was peeing or washing dishes then she did when i was sleeping still is that way she use to wake up turn on the tv (i have a older one i can block out all channels she could only watch treehouse) and play... she is getting beter but she use to sleep for a few hours and be up for hours and hours the most was almost 36 hours with out sleeping...
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#27 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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... i would never put them in danger my daughter will come to me for everything if i am up or sleeping she will ask me can i do this or can i have this can u get me this... lots of times she wakes up plays for a bit then comes in to my bed and goes back to sleep
my kids do this too. the past few days they've been coming in and snuggling w/ me in the morning and falling back asleep for awhile.
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#28 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 08:17 PM
 
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Showering: I found a toddler plastic fence, and made a "yard" outside the open bathroom door, put in playthings for dd. She was content. Never let her be about the house by herself... toddlers are unpredictable... accidents happen noiselessly sometimes.

Letting them be up without you, look after themselves... maybe promotes independence--that's a good thing. Kids though... the fact is, that they will quickly identify the times they can do what they are not allowed to do while you're on alert... just because you don't know what they're up to does not mean that they aren't up to trouble. I'm sure you and your sisters are very good mothers, but just because nothing's happened... is it a good idea to not wear seat belts since no one in your family has ever been in an accident? No one in my family had been, and then I was hit head-on at high speed by a one-ton truck, whose grill my body would have been tangled in had I not been wearing a belt.

Your six year old is probably developing a "little mother" or "little father" personality as he/she is kind of "in charge" of younger sibs. That's kind of the way I was raised: my older bro kind of took charge when parents were not right there. That's not a bad thing, usually. Maybe the eldest left in charge gets saddled with a certain amount of responsibility that may be a bit premature, and that makes them a different adult. Good? Bad? Who can judge? It depends on their personality, their genetics, their environment. We're all different, responding to different cues. You do what feels safe... and you can always change your mind or alter your approach if it's indicated based on cues your kids give you.

My seven-almost-eight year old gets up without me... since age fivish, I've always left fresh fruit, bite-sized cut, for her to get her own snacks when I was right there. I'd have my coffee, and let her serve herself with what I'd prepared the night before. We'd be together, but she'd be serving herself. By the time she was six, I was letting her get up and feed herself while I slept a little longer. I had her well-habituated to fruit and/or cereal in the morning, and laid out irresistible projects to occupy her if I knew I was hoping to sleep in.

Trust your intuition. Abuse... no. Abandonment... well, yeah. If they got hurt while you were sleeping, the public interest would not be supportive, I'm sure, no matter who else also sleeps while their little kids play in the house. But if they don't get hurt, who's to know?

Oh, and one more thing. I used to be a light sleeper. A really light sleeper. And then, I realized that I am not a light sleeper anymore. Something to consider. You don't know when you stop being a light sleeper until you hear about the noise that actually occured while you were sleeping "light."

I like your name... Aura Kitten.

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#29 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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By the time she was six, I was letting her get up and feed herself while I slept a little longer.
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Abuse... no. Abandonment... well, yeah. If they got hurt while you were sleeping, the public interest would not be supportive, I'm sure, no matter who else also sleeps while their little kids play in the house. But if they don't get hurt, who's to know?
has me ... (?)



and fwiw i think there's a gigantic difference between letting kids play in an age-appropriate and child safe environment and putting them in a moving vehicle without proper safety restraints.
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#30 of 100 Old 12-29-2006, 09:44 PM
 
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and fwiw i think there's a gigantic difference between letting kids play in an age-appropriate and child safe environment and putting them in a moving vehicle without proper safety restraints.
The thing is, a home is generally not a child safe environment. Electrical outlets and cords? The stove? Windows? Chemicals? Toilets? Bookcases or other large furniture that could fall? Even "safe" foods can cause choking.

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