When we Baby Boomers were toddlers, at best, our parents put us in a car seat that hooked onto the front passenger seat facing forward. We were kept distracted by the little steering wheel on the seat, allowing us to pretend to drive the car. In the meantime, our sisters and brothers were wrestling, completely untethered, in the back seat. Or perhaps they were just standing on the seat in order to be able to get a good look at what was ahead of them. Like perhaps a tree or a stalled Buick the size of a Army tank into which they were about to careen.
Believe me when I tell you that I recognize that I can think back to those days with a nostalgic twinge simply because I lived to recall those days. Every one of my grandkids wears a helmet when they ride their bicycles. They sit securely fastened in a car seat until such time as they outgrow the need for a seat. At that point they know to fasten their own seat belts. All of those safety measures make me a happy nana. I have no wish to return to those days when permanent brain damage was just an accidental-soccer-ball-being-kicked-into-the-street-requiring-a-sudden-stop away.
Still, there has to be a happy medium between keeping kids safe and making them scared. Bill and I disagree about it on occasion. He tends to overmanage the grandkids, while I’m a bit more willing to let them fall down. (Oops. I may just have lost my grandkid babysitting privileges.)
Last week I was driving home from one of my many trips to the grocery store. I noticed a very brightly-painted van parked in front of one of our neighborhood houses. The van was owned by a local business with which I was unfamiliar — home childproofing services. Apparently, millennials are willing to pay what I would presume is a hefty sum to have a so-called child-proofing expert come and childproof their home for them.
My reaction was a mixture of for the love of Pete, and admiration to those who are astute enough to look at a niche that they can be paid handily to fill: Classic millennial overprotection of their children. God loves a good entrepreneur.
I didn’t put plug protectors in my outlets to keep Court from being electrocuted when he was a little bambino. Instead, when he would begin to look interested, I would slap his hand (I hear collective gasps) and tell him NO. I will admit that I had one kid only, so it was easier to keep track of him than those with multiple children. Still, with my grandkids, I simply put masking tape over the outlets if I wasn’t going to be in the room with them, which was rare. I also always kept a baby gate on my stairway if we were upstairs to prevent tumbles down the stairs. I certainly didn’t need to pay a childproofing expert to advise me on this matter.
Other than protecting outlets, blocking stairs, and keeping knives and scissors out of reach, I’m not sure what else should be done. I’m sure there are all sorts of potential dangers that faced my child every day. There but for the grace of God…. I wonder what just how many near misses took place in his toddler days.
What I really I wonder is if I could come up with some ideas for teenager-proofing. Shark Tank, please await my call.