It sounds like a sweet, funny, or at least ironic story -- but it's not: Two Muncie, Indiana, boys were home alone watching, yes, "Home Alone" on Tuesday when their mom had to leave for work and couldn't find a babysitter.
For this, she was thrown into jail.
Now her children are being watched by a relative, her case is under a $10,000 bond, and she faces a charge of neglect.
That will certainly make family life a lot easier!
What, exactly, happened? Apparently, that morning someone anonymously called 911 to report that two boys were home from school without an adult. And indeed they were: Taylor Cumings, 25, had tried to get a sitter but couldn't. Her younger son, age 4, was under the weather so she had the older one, age 7, stay home to watch him while she went to the Youth Opportunity Center where she works.
And then, as The Star Press reports:
When an officer knocked on the house’s door, the older child looked through blinds and exclaimed, “It’s the police!”
He then ran to a telephone and called his aunt, reporting officers were outside and he was scared.
The aunt quickly arrived and persuaded the boys to open the front door. The officer presented the youngsters with toys he had in his police car.
What does this tell us?
1 - That the 7-year-old was quite capable of calling someone when he needed help.
2 - That an adult was nearby and could assist them.
3 - Don't open the door for the cops!
Now, obviously, this whole thing was not an ideal situation. But needing a job, having a sick kid and not being able to find a last-minute sitter -- those are not ideal either. So the mom made a seat-of-the-pants decision, as we all have to do from time to time.
And for this she is being treated like a criminal.
The thing is: If it's a bad idea for a mom to leave her kids alone, why is it a GOOD idea to take the mom away from her kids and lock her up?
Released from jail, Cuming explained to WTTV:
"They had a phone, they had a safety plan which they followed. They were safe. They ate, they were checked on. They weren't just here all day running around crazy," Cumings said.
So when Cumings said she couldn't find someone to watch them, and feeling they were mature enough for this circumstance, she went to work while they stayed home.
"At that time I thought it was the best decision. I know my kids and I trust my kids," she said.
The idea that no 7-year-old can possibly behave responsibly is incorrect. While our culture generally does not approve of 7-year-olds doing much of anything on their own anymore, seven has long been considered "the age of reason." And sure enough, there Cumings' son was, hanging out with his brother, finding a movie they both could enjoy, and even knowing enough not to blithely answer the door before checking with someone. Yet the law is acting as if the mom left her 4-year-old alone with a beagle.