I’m pleased to present for your consideration three stories of parental woe. Two real stories, and one contrived in my head. Can you spot the fake? (Note: I plan on adding voting plug-in; for now, feel free to comment with your guess).
Cindy lived with her four-year-old son, Timmy. Timmy had a known sleepwalking condition, which had resulted in some minor scrapes. Despite treatment and medication, Timmy’s sleepwalking persisted. One night, Cindy discovered Timmy handling knives in the kitchen. The next day, she installed locks on the kitchen drawers. Another night Cindy heard a loud thud in the kitchen, and discovered Timmy walking on the kitchen counter. At her wit’s end, Cindy installed a hook latch on the outside of Timmy’s bedroom door, effectively locking him in his room at night. A nosey neighbor made an anonymous report to children services, who noted that Cindy had a history of drug abuse. Cindy was charged with child endangerment due to an alleged fire safety hazard.
John placed his two-year-old daughter, Jenny, into her bed for her afternoon nap, and then hopped in the shower. Unbeknownst to him, Jenny quickly awoke, and then casually walked out the front door. A few minutes later, Jenny was mauled in her own front yard by a neighbor’s pit-bull. Jenny was hospitalized with wounds she received on her face and limbs that required at least 30 stitches to close. John informed the police that they had recently replaced Jenny’s crib with a toddler bed. During questioning, officers perceived an odor of alcohol on John’s breath. John acknowledged that he had consumed a few beers over the course of the afternoon, but that his judgment was not impaired. Nonetheless, John was charged with child endangerment.
Jackie had spent the entire morning with her four-month-old son, Brendan. After Brendan’s afternoon feeding, Jackie was exhausted and determined to get Brendan to sleep. Jackie swaddled Brendan and then placed him on his stomach on a makeshift bed she’d made of a chair cushion and a blanket, and when Brendan was asleep Jackie finally laid down for a nap of her own. When Jackie awoke, she found Brendan unresponsive, and not breathing. Authorities concluded that the death was unintentional, and that Jackie was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, but still charged Jackie with involuntary manslaughter, noting that Jackie had received proper guidance on how to put her son to sleep after his birth.