Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: Baby left in a high chair to await the coming of the sitter is discovered dead by the vacationing parents when they return weeks later.
Origins: Very few legends express parental fears about leaving a child with strangers better than this one. The "dead baby found in a high chair" legend focuses on the most terrible "what if?" of all: What if the person I entrust the child to proves untrustworthy?
Guilt plays a big part in this cautionary tale. In a chillingly unforgettable way, the parents are punished for attempting to take a vacation from being parents. The moral of this tale is "It's a 24/7 job; there is no time
Did this happen in real life? Oh, probably not. It's hard to conceive of parents who wouldn't call home at least a few times just to reassure themselves that the sitter had found everything she needed and the child hadn't come down with some typical kids' malady or been kidnapped by marauding aliens jetting through on their way to Alpha Centauri. These days parents have a hard time sitting through a movie without calling home — should we really imagine they would go weeks without admonishing Nanny to be certain to use the blue powder and not the yellow on Junior's bottom, never to turn out his nightlight, or to give him his purple dinosaur if he won't settle down for the night?
In 2006 a variation on the legend found its way to us:
I heard several of my friends talking about a really sad story the other day.Barbara "homecoming" Mikkelson
They talked about a man that went on tour in Iraq, leaving his wife and
At home, the woman had put her infant son and daughter in a playpen, when she suffered a heart attack and died.
The husband found his dead wife and children several months later.
Last updated: 3 June 2006
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