One of my big questions, as a mom, is how paranoid to be. The baby-safety-industry sells a ridiculous array of products that seem designed to save children from ever getting any bruises. There are bumpers for the sharp edges of coffee-tables, bubble-wrap-like stuff for lining the bathtub, and even knee-pads to make crawling more comfortable. Here’s an actual catalog picture.
I recognize that as over-the-top preying on the wallets of nervous parents. But what isn’t over-the-top? When I set Sophie up in the garden & look away to weed, she might pick up something poisonous. When I get out of bed in the morning to go to the bathroom, she might roll off the bed. Potential dangers are everywhere. I have secured all the outlet plugs, taped up all the electrical cords, secured all cleaning supplies & medicines, and tied up all the venetian-blind-cords, because those seemed like the biggest choking hazards — but my house is still full of unsafe things. The other day Sophie fell over on one of her baby books and scraped her cheek.
Sophie’s daycare lady told me that instead of a child-lock on the toilet, she simply teaches the children to stay away from the toilet. I admire this a lot. But I don’t quite know how to teach an eleven-month-old who can’t yet talk.
A few days ago at the park, I advised a two-year-old not to twist her 9-month-old brother’s legs all around. Later, I asked the same 2-year-old whether she had gravel in her mouth, and encouraged her to stick out her tongue so I could check. She did indeed have a mouthful of rocks. Her mom told me that just the day before, she had had a mouthful of glass. When we got home, Sarah commented about that mother’s lax parenting, but I am still thinking about it. What is lax and what is simply a reasonable resistance to the baby-industry-paranoia?