Saturday, May 10, 2008

Helicopter Parents (hovering, hovering...)

We were Free Range Children. If we cleaned our rooms to minimum hygienic standards we were Free To Roam for the rest of the day, until the streetlights came on. There were a few rules. We were not to go into the houses under construction (but we did.) We were not supposed to play in the creek (but we did, and then we stayed in the woods climbing trees until our clothes dried out so no one would know.) We were not supposed to climb trees. (But we had to do something while our clothes dried out.)

When our children came along, Free Range was no longer in vogue. Something Terrible in the form of Scary Strangers would happen to children allowed to play in their front yards, so we fenced in the back yard and put up a swing set. We read books to our kids about shadowy men in shiny cars asking them to help find lost puppies. We turned pages advising that children should scream "Fire" if someone kidnapped them, even though we thought it would work better to shout, "Hey this person is kidnapping me!" (The Experts promised us that "Fire!" attracted more attention. And The Experts never told us what the kids should scream if there was an actual fire. "Stampede!"? "Free Ice Cream!"? "Hey, Macarena!"?) And we embraced Children's Television, which kept the darlings safely in the living room with Mr. Rogers, The Electric Company and Oscar The Grouch.

Is it any wonder a generation of children on the lookout for lurking Scary Strangers, trying to remember what they were supposed to shout, would grow up to embrace The Disposable Toddler Helmet? Buy 'em like disposable diapers, slap one on your newly toddling toddler because, dang, she is toddling, and that fireplace corner could be SHARP! Oh, My God, she's veering off that way! Thank goodness she's wearing her Disposable Toddler Helmet!...You can even use the link to sign up to carry them in your retail establishment. Perhaps, for example, you own a grocery store. You could offer them as freebies, right next to the sanitizer wipes, for anyone who dares to put a child in the "child seat" (with safety strap) of the buggy, instead of the AWESOME (and sanitized daily) Plastic Race Car cum Shopping Cart, capable of blocking Aisle Two completely even if little Maddie is not reaching out for the Chocolate Chex. (I really want to know who was in the focus groups for that one. Women with cramps and a migraine so bad that they couldn't cook breakfast because the sound of cracking eggshells was too loud? Perimenopausal women wearing T-shirts that say, "I'm out of Estrogen and I Have a Gun"? Who else would think Chocolate CHEX was a good idea?) I also think there is a market for a Disposable Toddler Helmet Vending Machine. What kind of parent wouldn't cough up a few tuppence for the peace of mind afforded by Disposable Toddler Helmets? Because if your little one should happen to reach for the Chocolate CHEX and overextend, or Heaven forbid, her brother pushes her out of the Plastic Race Car cum Shopping Cart, it is a good six inches to the floor and there is no recycled rubber chip padding.

I think that the next frontier is disposable goggles. In case a child learns to USE A FORK, which might put an eye out. Or runs with scissors, or chases his brother with a stick. Until then, I have two words:

Bubble Wrap.

Oh, I need two more:

Duct Tape.


thecaffiend said...

Duct tape solves most problems...bacon solves the rest.

Crystal said...

Replace bacon with chocolate, and I'm there.