Thursday, May 23, 2013

Child Endangerment

          It’s a miracle my kids are here today; they missed many of the health and safety measures that shield today’s youth. But it’s not like I didn’t try to protect them.
 Rather than allowing her to fling herself down the cellar stairs,
I made productive use of our playpen where my daughter happily banged on pots with a wooden spoon. I suppose she could have also poked herself in the eye with that same wooden spoon, but then she could have also done this with her Fisher-Price wooden telephone if she set her mind to it.

 As I cooked dinner, I would often hang a bouncer from the kitchen doorframe where my son would spring up and down, laughing and gumming arrowroot cookies, producing a cement-like paste of spit and crumbs on the wooden floor beneath him.  Did I deny him the freedom of exploring the kitchen underfoot as I traveled from stove with pots of boiling water to the sink, which was a good ten feet away? Did I somehow stunt his development? At least this argument is easily exploded by the fact that he finished off at 6 foot 5 inches.

However, it does seem amazing that they survived their 1970s childhoods. I shudder when I think of the rickety infant seat that we hauled our babies around in, a fragile affair of thin plastic and spindly metal supports.

  Rather than whipping out the Purell the instant our child touched a foreign door handle, we kept a running commentary going of “Don’t lick that! Don’t touch that! Leave that alone, you don’t know where that’s been!”

At the beach, pre-sunscreen, and hampered by our pasty Anglo-Saxon heritage, all I could do was jam my unwilling kids into t-shirts and slather the remaining parts with completely ineffective “sun lotion.” Our freckle harvest in those years was impressive.

I suppose that’s why life expectancy rises with each passing generation. At least, unlike me, my children weren’t raised with a jar of bacon fat as a fixture on the stove for cooking (okay, maybe that’s just a Southern thing). And they never spent each fall in the street, poking at a burning pile of leaves with a big stick. 
But for me, summer still conjures up the joy of bare feet in the day and the smell of Noxema at night.  


  1. Marty,
    All your stories are a joy to read. So open, honest, and down-to-earth. So many different and interesting topics. Keep them coming.

  2. We did the same, and now my daughter pleads with me to put sunscreen on the backs of my hands because that is one of the most likely places for women to get skin cancer. My kids have had tans in their lives but you would never know it by their pasty white complextions in the middle of the summer these days!! Now they are the ones yelling at me to use sunscreen and hand sanitizer etc. I prefer Noxema!!!

    1. I know. It's amazing. I waited all my life for pasty to come into fashion.


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