Friday, May 18, 2012
How did we survive?
I'm beginning to wonder how we survived. Those of us who grew up at any time prior to say, 1990, were subjected to some things that could have been highly detrimental to our well being. Maybe that's what's wrong with us. How we were able to grow into adulthood without being electrocuted, filled with high amounts of lead, or suffocated by a sippy cup is beyond me. Being a parent these days not only takes a lot of work, but it also requires that we spend an awful lot of time "childproofing" everything that we own. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING can be left within reach of small children these days. Every light socket must be covered, every drawer has to have those very hard to install "locks" that don't work half the time (my son once pulled on a "locked" cabinet door with all of his weight, when the lock gave way his hand slipped off and he fell backwards, hitting his head on the hard floor which then led to an hour of traumatic screams); nothing can be left out on the tables or the kitchen counters anymore. Have small children evolved into something different than before? Did I miss something? Please don't misunderstand, I am a fan of all of this new safety stuff. I just wonder how I survived childhood in a house where scissors, "bobby pins", and meat cleavers were always well within my reach. Maybe I once stood at a light socket with a long, thin metal object with the thought that I would see if I could make my hair stand up like Yosemite Sam but I don't remember it if I did. I used to ride in the bed of my dad's truck flying through Houston at 90 miles an hour; dad's only instructions were to "stay off of the fender well". What fun! Dad would have come to know the letters "CPS" very well had this happened in the new millennium. I'm assuming that small children are prone to chew the walls in their bedroom because you can't have lead paint anywhere in the house. Had I put my mouth to the walls I would have had much more to worry about than lead in my blood stream. Lead in the tummy would have been the better option I assure you. If you are over 40 years old, do you remember car seats? No? That's because they didn't exist. I'm not even sure if I had to wear a seatbelt back then. I do remember that little triangle shaped window in the car that you could open to allow the air to come in. This was before air was "conditioned" of course. And my parents smoked in the car. How did we survive?
Again, I'm all for this new stuff. I'm all for safety. I do have a little trouble understanding how "sippy cups" are dangerous now. Have you seen them? What could be so bad about a cute little "Dora the Explorer" sippy cup?? I don't know, I think we survived our childhood because our parents worked real hard at teaching. Relentless, mind numbing, over the top, repeat yourself every 5 seconds kind of teaching. It worked. Teaching that a finger in the outlet could kill you. Yes, my parents said the word "kill". If you eat McDonald's every day then that could cost you your health so no, son, you ain't eating McDonald's today. They could have cared less about how loud my screams would become. It was still no. Lesson learned. My mom used to threaten me within an inch of my life (death was apparently a great deterrent for me) if I even thought about opening a kitchen cabinet. Chew the walls? I wasn't even allowed to touch them. I can also tell you that the closest I have ever come in my life to long periods of silent meditation were the times when I had to sit at the table until I had eaten every bite of my liver. You try staring at a cold piece of liver for over an hour and see how quiet you get. I always ate it. I didn't like it, but I ate it.
So yeah, I'm all about car seats and toys being pulled off the shelves because they have lead. I'm all about locks and bolts and medicines placed on high, far away shelves. Don't dare speed down the freeway with your child in the bed of the truck. Sorry dad, but that's just dangerous. Just don't let all of the newfangled safety stuff replace the teaching. Things can hurt you out there. You won't always be shielded from every hurt and harm. Know what to do when you encounter real danger and understand that if something can "kill you" then you better file that away in the "never do that" file. Good advice for me too.
Now, get this. When you put the safety cap on a light socket, guess what you have to do. You have to stick the thing...yes...in the light socket. What twisted person thought of that? Risk electrocution to save your child. I guess plastic is not a conductor of electricity. Or is it? Beats eating liver.