Sometimes from the stories I read, comments I hear and reactions I see as well as the recent trend towards making sure our kids are absolutely safe 100% of the time, I begin to think that I should wear a “My kids live in your worst nightmare.” shirt (with a picture of their happy faces next to those words, of course).

On the back it could say things like:

 

“I let my son ride his bike with training wheels next to me on a paved road that had no shoulder… when he was four”   {Yes, a concerned citizen pointed out to me that this might not be the best place to learn to ride a bike.  I thanked her and we continued on our way.}

 

and

 

“My 18 month old plays in our unfenced, multi-level/stair-ed, free range chicken, clawed cat and toothed dog inhabited yard without me for up to 15 minutes at a time!  And sometimes her siblings aren’t out there keeping an eye on her either!”

 

and

 

“My 6 year old traverses the top of our swing set… with NO ‘saftey’ surface underneath, and my 4 year old climbs to the top of our evergreen trees.”

 

or

 

“I would leave all four of them happily ‘unattended’ in my vehicle for short stops if it weren’t illegal.”

 

and

 

“My just turned 3 year old uses real tools… several of them sharp ones.  Often without an adult present.”

 

and

 

“I would be perfectly comfortable leaving my 6 year old or 4 year old in charge of snack time for younger siblings while I’m at the neighbor’s house for 20 minutes or so.”  (Though I would fully expect there to be a colander full of assorted snacky items mixed together still on the table and perhaps a large number of milk soaked paper towels in the trash when I return.)

 

or

 

“It’s November and at least one of my children is still running outside to feed her cats in BARE FEET!”  {disclaimer.. by CHOICE… not because she has no shoes, and yes, I do tend to tell her to put shoes on when I see this.}

 

or

 

“Sometimes I lose my four year old daughter only to find that she’s been at the grandparently neighbors for an hour ‘helping’ with the flowers or watching TV.  And I haven’t previewed what they have her watching.  Nor have I done a background check on them!”

 

and speaking of that,

 

“I’m so excited for the day that my son and daughter are riding their bike out to go trolling the water in the cut off ditch 10 minutes from our house for frogs and minnows…. by themselves.  This will occur approximately whenever they get the nerve up to do it.  I’m guessing the age of that occurrence to be 6 and 8.” {The only warning I can think of aside from telling them what poison Ivy looks like is “If any ‘concerned citizens’ stop and try to ‘help’ them RUN home lest CPS get involved.}

 

and

 

“I have actually told my children that the BIGGEST problem about getting lost is staying calm enough to answer questions about who you are and where you live without crying so you can be understood.”

 

also

 

“My kids get truly undivided attention…. rarely…for about 5 minutes at a time… between interruptions.”

 

and

 

“I tell my kids to get their own cereal, make their own beds (except for the 18 month old, but her time is coming), help out with clean up jobs and find their own lost stuff or put away their things to avoid the situation in the future.  I only help them with things they already know how to do if I’m not already busy helping someone else.”

 

how about

 

“I ‘stifle’ my children by teaching them to control their emotions instead of being controlled by them.”

 

or

 

“I sometimes tell my children that they are being obnoxious.” {disclaimer: I also tell them they are delightful, responsible, adorable, obedient and funny.}

 

and

 

“My four small children share a co-ed bedroom!”  {Disclaimer: This doesn’t bother me because they are small, don’t need a whole room to themselves and also because they are children and not perverts.}

 

And somehow despite all this, they still think that I love them!??!  What is UP with that?  And here I was thinking that we needed to make everything perfect for them to think that.  

 

In case this is coming off wrong, I’m not saying that every parent can/should allow their children to do these things.  I do not let my children do everything other children their age do and neither should you!  That’s my point.  No one but the parent is going to know the child well enough to determine if they are capable and trustworthy enough to stay home alone or sit in a car or watch their siblings.   An arbitrary age line enforced by law is more likely to prevent children old enough to handle things from doing them while allowing children that may NOT be ready to do them rather than actually give them a safer childhood.  Ridiculous.  If the government would like to make a suggestion about when it is ‘safe’ for my child to do things, I’m okay with that.  Just like I’m okay with those “your baby should be doing _____ by this age” guidelines.  Those can be helpful.  They may help people make wiser decisions.  But children are not blobs in a factory that develop the same way at the same time.  To expect my ’30 from the day he was born’ son to wait until he’s 13 to be allowed to stay in the van is just as silly as expecting my ‘has impulse control issues’ daughter to sit in a room full of plugged in power tools and ask her to not touch anything! But who would know these things? Not Washington!  Just us ordinary, run of the mill, non-government-certified-to-make-critical-decisions-in-the-lives-of-our-children parents.  Not that I’m bitter or frustrated or anything, mind you.

 

And do we really think that someone who would irresponsibly leave a child in a car long enough to freeze or suffocate (which is completelyopposite  what the majority of parents used their former freedom to leave children in the car for in the first place) is actually going to have the presence of mind to follow the ‘don’t leave your child in the car’ rule?  And if you want to cite these parents for something, I’m sure that the neglect/abuse laws already in place would take care of their tendency to be stupid with their children while letting the rest of us elect to NOT take our child out in the wind/rain/sleet in order to pay for gasoline or make any other five minute trip.

 

Okay, done venting.  Back to real life again where my opinions don’t matter. 😉

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