As I was walking through the parking lot to the bus stop on my way home from class today, I spotted a car with a sign in the window that read “Caution! Baby Inside”. The image was what appeared to be a giant floating head over a banana (a quick internet search when I made it home told me that I was right about the banana, at least, but the sign didn’t specify a baby what.)
The sign made me think of nothing so much as the notices placed on cages that transport animals of various degrees of domestication from place to place, and I had to wonder: What is so scary about babies that I need to be cautious? If I got too close to the car, would it growl at me? Would it snap at my fingers if I tried to pet it? If I feed it my peanuts or bread crusts would it become too used to adults, and start following random people around begging for food? (Come to think of it, that may have been what happened with my 15 month old nephew, E.)
I then started to wonder what a dangerous baby was doing being left alone in a car in a college parking lot–sure the caretakers could have removed the infant and left the sign, but that would be irresponsible–why make people worry about being attacked by a baby when there is no baby present?
The day was chilly, bordering on cold, so I wasn’t worried about the baby overheating–but I wasn’t going to check on it if I was being warned of it’s presence. But still, should I notify someone that there is a dangerous infant alone in a car? Surely whoever is responsible for those types of situations would be trained in how to deal with dangerous creatures, such as the baby we were being warned of. But what if it wasn’t there? Would that mean that it got loose? Is there a baby wandering around campus, savaging innocent students as they study or wait for their classes? What if it was in the bushes surrounding the bus stop? What if it had its sights set on me?
Fortunately, at this point in time, my bus came, and I managed to make it home without being attacked by a rabid toddler. I’m going to make sure to lock my doors and windows tonight, though, just to make sure no infants get into my house. Because, from what I hear, once you have a baby, there’s no getting rid of it.
I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can start writing again–while the post-a-day is too much, I’m going to aim for a post a week. Maybe, once I get back into the swing of things, I’ll start writing more.
Yesterday, during Max and Lulu’s afternoon walk, I observed one of my neighbors in some questionable activity. It’s not what you think. (Although, I HAVE seen what you’re thinking, on various other walks. I’m not looking for it, people just don’t close their blinds.)
This woman left her apartment with a car seat and her about four-year-old son. She headed to her covered parking spot, while her son waited patiently in the row of cars closest to the building. Upon getting the car seat into the car, she sprinted the 30 feet or so separating her from her son, and picked him up. The kid quite literally starts kicking and screaming at this point, and from the way she held him at arms length, this was a normal thing.
So, holding the kid at arms length, she once again runs the 30 feet back to her car, and a few minutes later, leaves.
Grand total of vehicles entering the parking lot during this event? 0. And even if there were, she was parked after the storm drain/speed bump/giant pot hole (or possibly other storm drain; either way, it was filled with water, and I’m really careful when I drive over it) gauntlet that WILL damage any vehicle whose driver isn’t paying attention.
I watched this in a bit of disbelief. The way I see it, the mother’s method of getting a perfectly mobile child to her car put him in more danger than letting him walk himself the 30 feet to the car. The chances of her tripping seemed infinitely greater than him getting hit by a car. Heck, while I was watching this, Max and Lulu were running around off leash (which I know is a stupid thing to do, but they get more exercise that way) and the kid had a good 3 feet of height on them.
Yes, a kid is different from a dog, but her kid was well-trained enough to wait in the comparative safety of a row of cars for his mother to come and pick him up and risk his life. How much better off would he be if she taught him to look both ways, and carefully walk across while she’s putting the car seat in? Or, if that’s too “dangerous”, (hint: It’s not) than holding his hand and walking across the parking lot with him–you know, while teaching him to look both ways and proceed with caution.
While I was watching this, I was thinking about a post written over at Free Range Kids; click here for the actual post, and here will get you the video Lenore is talking about.
I’m not a parent. I don’t know what it’s like to worry about my child’s safety–but I firmly believe that “protecting” kids from every bump or bruise or overly hyped “Stranger-danger” is, in the long run, harmful to a kid that one day will be expected to grow into a fully functioning adult.
I recently came across Jessica of andiamo’s post about why she chooses to be childless. I found it interesting, and well written, and it made me think about my own situation.
When my sister brought E home, it kicked my biological clock into high gear. When G was born, it made me husband hungry. When E was born, it made me baby hungry. My mom says that at least I’m doing it in the right order, but still, life would have been better if I had, you know, done something about being husband hungry three years ago.
I’m trying to align myself to a life without children. I’m still (barely) in my twenties, and know, realistically, I have ten years or more where I could have a baby. Still, I feel like if I don’t have a child by the time I’m 30, I’m not going to. As I turn 29 in a few months, have no significant other, and very little of the self confidence needed to go out and find a mate, that’s probably not going to happen. Yes, I know that technically, I could do it by myself, but, I think women who choose that route are nuts. There is no way I’d want to be a mommy without any help.
At the same time, I wonder at the practicality of having children. Take my dogs, for instance. The lady who I got Max and Lulu from used them as a breeding pair. She couldn’t handle two kids and two+ dogs all begging for her attention, so Max and Lulu came to live with me. I don’t have room or money to care for puppies, even if I could sell them at a profit later on, so I planned on getting Max and Lu fixed as soon as possible. Well, a week before Lu’s appointment, she had an accident, and was rushed to the animal ER. While the vet was checking her out, she told me that Lulu had a luxating patella (a loose kneecap) and it was probably congenital. In the time between taking the dogs home, and Lu’s accident, I was beginning to waver on the ‘no puppies at my house’ policy, but I believe that it is irresponsible to know about stuff like Lulu’s knee, and still keep breeding her.
So, here’s thing is, my Mom has hip displaysia, and, although I haven’t been diagnosed, I probably do too. Combined with my mental illness, plus my family history of epilepsy and type 1 diabetes, not to mention my weight, I wonder if it would be irresponsible to knowingly pass those genes on to my own offspring. I know how depression has taken over my life since I was a child, and how hard day to day life can be, and can’t stand the thought of my children facing the same struggles. I also know that the depression will keep me from being the best mommy I could be, even with the help of medication and therapy. I get bad headaches frequently, and they are made worse by stress, noise and lack of sleep. I’ve spent enough time around kids to know that they are made up of stress, noise, and where they go, a lack of sleep follows. And I haven’t even begin to talk about the anxiety that always comes from the noise and confusion of being in a room with more than one other person…
But even with all this, the instinct to preserve the species goes on. I want children. I think I can be a good mother, if I could be a stay at home mom–I don’t do well when I try to divide my life into separate categories, such as school and work, and I don’t think I could work, at least full time, and still be an effective parent.
I know I shouldn’t worry, that things always turn out the way they were supposed to, and generally for the best. It’s 1:30 am as I’m writing this, and I’m at the too tired to sleep stage after a rough day. But, I’m a worrier, it’s part of who I am. If I could stop worrying, for even a minute, about the things I can’t control, I know I’d be ahead of the game.
And so, this is Christmas. And what have you done?
My dogs, Max and Lulu don’t like it when we visit my parents house. They aren’t allowed on the furniture, and at least half the time, my 3-year-old nephew G is there to pull tails and ears and steal toys, and to take all of his Aunt Cori’s attention. But worst of all, they aren’t allowed to sleep with me in the super-comfy bed that’s one size bigger than the bed we sleep on at home. Nights with the dogs at my parents house usually consist of me trying to convince them that their crate really is the best place for them to sleep (they don’t have a problem with the crate at my house) for at least an hour.
Last night, it was especially bad. It seemed like they wouldn’t go down for more than a half hour at a time. Every time I started to congratulate myself on finding how to get them down, they would start barking at me again. Maybe they were excited about Christmas.
I guess the only way I tell that story is to offer an excuse in case for when I ramble. I didn’t get more than four hours of sleep last night, and, if I’m going to stay awake all day to reset my body, I want to do it without chemical stimulation. Now, if only I could come up with an excuse for the rest of my posts…
G called Mom & Dad’s house about an hour ago to tell all about Christmas morning at his house. This kid’s been talking about Santa Claus since, well, last Christmas. It didn’t help that one of my uncles, G’s great-uncle, told him that Santa wouldn’t come unless he learned to go poop in the potty. G’s little three-year-old brain turned that into “Santa will only go to places where I’ve successfully pooped in the potty.” So, random gas station in Minersville, Utah? Yep, Santa went there. Aunt Cori’s house? Not so much. When G had diarrhea a week or two ago, and couldn’t quite make it to the bathroom on time, he was so distraught, not only because he made a mess in his pants, but because he thought it meant Santa wouldn’t come.
So, how did this post about Christmas turn into a discussion of my nephew’s poop? Oh. Right. Back on track now.
G called about an hour ago, and was so excited to tell all about the toys and presents he got. This is the first year he’s really been old enough to understand Christmas, or, at least understand getting presents. However, when Mom did ask him what happens on Christmas, the first thing he said was “It’s Jesus’s birthday”, before he started to talk about his presents.
I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I’m really feeling being single and unemployed. And while I think there is no greater joy than searching out the perfect gift, and seen excitement on the recipients face when they open it, my unemployment checks are half of not enough, and I wasn’t able to get the things I wanted to give this year. When I get depressed, my thoughts get scattered, and I get frustrated easily, so making gifts was also out of the question–not to mention that it’s often times more expensive to make a gift than to buy one.
It was therefore, refreshing to talk to G this morning. To hear his child-like joy, his excitement over the gifts he got, and, more importantly, how hard it was to keep him on topic of his presents reminded me of what I posted a few days ago. Christmas is about children, family and sharing love with others.
And spoiling my nephews rotten.