Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Parenting 101

Yesterday I saw a really frightening thing through the big picture window at the gym. A mother let her 3-year old son out of the car and, while she turned her back to get his sister out, the little boy darted across the parking lot. By himself. I watched, waiting for the horror to register on her face as she realized what had happened, but it never did. In fact, Mom looked like she hadn't registered a facial expression since 1978.

And then I saw it happen again. A few hours later, this time in the Office Depot parking garage in Evanston, a small girl went skipping way ahead of her mom, right through a big dark garage full of moving cars. No reaction from Mom.

Un. Freaking. Believable. Is this not BASIC parenting?? You don't let your little kids go racing ahead of you through a parking lot! Am I right, or have I gone mad??

I think I'm right. (I know, you're surprised.)

So. What I'm hearing, loud and clear, is this:

Therefore, dear Interwebs, I give you...

The Wonderwheel Parenting Primer

1. If your toddler picks up a large shard of glass, do NOT allow him to run with it in his mouth. At least not too fast over a bumpy surface.

2. Children under the age of 2 shall not be in charge of making dinner on the stove. Unless it's for you, and you have had, like, such a long day.

3. Your young child shall not be allowed to play in the street unless you are busy talking to a neighbor and don't feel like pausing to remind him.

4. If your child is about to put her finger in an electrical socket, it is your job to shout, "Stop!" and get off your butt to remove her from the area. Unless you want to teach her a lesson about electricity, that is. I mean, science is important - even for girls.

5. If your kid bites you, do not ever - under any circumstances - bite him back. Except in special cases, like when it hurts like hell and you're super pissed about it.

6. In a busy parking lot, be sure your child stays close by you. It is never acceptable for her to run ahead of you, unless you know for absolute certain that she's not the "accident type".

I sincerely believe that, if we could just follow these few simple rules, our children would be far safer in this dangerous world.


Cara said...


I think you are forgetting one important one, though: When driving in the car with your small child, only strap them into their car seat if the straps are not TOO complicated and if you have the time. Otherwise, it's fine to let your three-year-old to ride in the front seat, unstrapped, with you.

I actually see that way more than I would like to - although I remember not wearing a seatbelt as a child, too. Now I it gives me the hebiddy-bejebiddies!

Mrs. Chicken said...

I KNOW! I see stuff like this all the time.

All. The. Time.

Your primer is an instant classic.

Julie said...

I actually saw a mother duck worse than the one in the graphic. She did exactly what's depicted there - lost half her ducklings into a grate outside the museum. We did a duckling rescue and got them out, after which she proceeded to lead them to water - across a semi-busy parking lot and (worse) down a 7-foot drop in the landscaped garden, straight down along a wall. She fluttered down; the ducklings kind of looked at each other and then dove headfirst, totally tumbling head over webbed feet the whole way. Jeez.