Kid who fell into the gorilla enclosure could have been mine

As the media and the general public responds to the tragedy involving the four year old boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo we are hearing the predictable, "His parents should have been supervising him" rants.

When I first heard this horrible story, I thought, that could easily have been my kid. Did I leave him unsupervised at that age? Never! Did he get into all sorts of crazy unimaginable (prior to me having him) situations in the blink of an eye? Many, many, times. Too many stories to tell now the he is 12 yrs old and most of you have been there yourselves so know what I am talking about. Do I leave him unsupervised now? Nope. Does he still find ways to get into trouble? Yes, despite me doing everything humanly possible to avoid it.

Unless you have a kid like this you just don't get it.

I stay home with him as much as possible. Have had to most of his life. But every now and then you decide you want to do something "normal" like go to the zoo for instance. Having a child like mine means the stakes are higher. Always have been.

Perhaps the little four year old boy who got into the gorilla enclosure is like my son, like many of our children? Regardless, I feel for his parents, but if so, I especially ache for them. If so, they have been enduring the judgement for years. Yesterday might have been the day they decided to be brave and do something normal for a change.



Well-Known Member
I suppose we will never know all the details. I too have thought this child could be like mine or any number of our children. I try hard never ever ever to judge other parents and I know you are not doing that...just thinking out loud about the possibility of this child being a Difficult Child.

I don't think this was a school field trip...but it reminded me of something.

I went on almost all field trips with my Difficult Child and the school. Honestly, I didn't think her teacher, even with a helper, could possibly sufficiently handle my Difficult Child for the entire period of time of the trip. So, I went along for most of those trips and supervised my own child. If I was sick, one time, I think I actually kept my Difficult Child home, because it was a field trip that I felt was a little dangerous....then I did my best to make it up to my Difficult Child in some other way. I was always hyper-vigilant. However, I do think this hyper vigilance may have hurt my health, career....potentially negatively influenced many aspects of my life.

Having a Difficult Child is an extraordinarily difficult thing. I guess we just do our best.
So happy for the support here.


Well-Known Member
This is one of those there but for the grace, go I.

When my easiest child was 3, we went to the circus at Nassau Coliseum. It was H and I, with his cousin, who was in a wheelchair but mobile, and the 5 kids. The baby was 1 and in a stroller, the oldest 2 were 8 and 9, difficult child was 5 and 1/2 and because he was a runner, he was on a leash which I held along with the stroller. As we were leaving, we ran into friends of ours and stopped to say hello. Less than one minute later, we noticed easy boy was gone.

The coliseum was shut down immediately, security was running in and out of the parking lot. 20 minutes later - the longest 20 minutes in my life - a man came into view on the monitors, leading my son towards the entrance. He had managed to make it all the way out of the venue, across a gigantic parking lot and into the lobby of the hotel across the way. We never got his name, he was a family man with his wife and kids when he saw a little boy wandering the parking lot...

Believe me, we did not take our eyes off of our kids for minutes at a time. We had taken precautions to keep our runner from taking off. This one had never run before - after that, he was leashed until first grade.

I don't have to imagine that mother's terror, I can still conjure it up and my son is 20 now.