Where Do YOU Draw The Line?
I read a facebook thread where a woman claimed that if she had a kid, she would leave the baby in the crib, asleep, and take the baby monitor with her a couple blocks to the store if she needed to get something. My initial reaction was, “What the hell?! Are you kidding me?! What is WRONG with you?! If punching was legal, I would punch you.” But then I settled down, because this gal doesn’t actually have any kids. So that’s divine goodness. But it also got me to thinking just how many people feel this same way about their kids, and am I too far in the extreme of child protection. Or am I right in completely judging this gal?
Of those of you that aren’t aware, we had a serious medical bout with Noble when he as younger. He had an intussusception that nearly took his life at 3 months. (This reminds me that I need to write a post about this so I can just link it and not have to give the backstory every time.) But the result of that surgery and his two weeks in the PICU with his ups and downs of recovery made us extremely protective parents. So there just might be scenarios where we are way more vigilant than we need to be. Case in point: we rarely, if ever, let Noble walk home with other children after school. Doesn’t matter if we completely trust the parents, our paranoia of worst case scenarios and wanting to be there “just in case” overrides that. I’m sure when Noble is in high school this will be a massive problem, and he’ll most likely rebel and become a cliff diver or go live in some hostile country or something because of our overprotection. But hey, you are gonna screw your kids up, too! So don’t judge. That said, let me just judge these baby neglectors some more…what a shitty and selfish parenting approach!!
To give you an idea of how we come to our parenting decisions, here is mine and Gayle’s approach, which Gayle picked up from a friend at work. I think it works pretty well. Whenever you are making a parenting decision, ask yourself….if the cops came to me because of some horrible scenario, would I sound like a total F-ing moron when I explained things to them. Here’s an example of this method, that I have used countless times in helping me reach a decision: I am an actor. I have auditions. It’s really hard sometimes to bring a baby into the audition room because they make noise, and ruin the audition, or take the spotlight (babies are such spotlight hogs). Many times, people offer to watch him for me, and they take it very personally when I always say “No thank you.” I get it, because the very act of saying no to someone implies distrust and that I probably think they are evil, horrible people. I know that 99.9% of the time, one of these people watching my kid would be really great. But let’s apply our new approach, shall we:
Upon finding out that my child has randomly been abducted by this person who so graciously offered to watch my child:
Officer: Did you see the person who took your child?
Officer: What did they look like?
Me: Well, she looked exactly like all these other women in here. They are all reading for the part of a young housewife.
Officer: How did she get your child?
Me: She asked if she could watch him while I auditioned. And I agreed.
Officer: So you let her watch your child while you went into that room? Could you see him? Was the door open or closed?
Officer: What was the woman’s name.
Me: Uh….I don’t know.
Officer: You don’t know?
Me: Well I just met her.
Officer: You let a woman, who you JUST met, watch your child while you went into a room and closed the door behind you?
I think you get my point. Really, the odds are slim that somebody would take my child in this situation. But is it fair to Alistair, a helpless baby, for me to be that arrogant with his protection? You never want these horrible things to happen, and most of the time humanity can be completely trusted. But my theory is that if your kid can’t protect themselves, then it is your obligation as a parent to inconvenience the hell out of yourself until they CAN protect themselves. If your child is asleep, but you REALLY need butter to finish that recipe that you are half way through making, and the store is SO close….then it is my opinion that you try to put the kid in the car seat, and take the sleeping kid to the store. Even though your child will PROBABLY be safe at home; PROBABLY sleep peacefully the entire time in their crib; and PROBABLY never know you were gone. But that’s the deal you signed up for. It sucks sometimes that children are 80% inconveniencing. It’s a statistical fact….yes that I just made that up, but if I call it a statistical fact, it just feels more credible. I’ll do a study down the road some time and crunch some factual numbers, but I bet it will be pretty close to 80%. But that’s the choice we made when we decided to have kids. Suck it up, I say. Try the recipe WITHOUT butter this time! That’s what I would do. And that’s why Gayle doesn’t let me cook very often. But I think you get what I’m saying.
What is YOUR level of protection? Where do YOU draw the line? Am I off base by thinking that leaving a baby unattended while you go shopping a couple blocks away is forking ridiculous? Tell me! I won’t judge you. I might say, “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!??!” But we’ll still be cool. I promise.