Monday, January 29, 2007

Parenting Advice?

I am just not a "kid person." I'm sure this is partly due to my own personality and partly due to my personal experience. A few have touched my heart, a few more have wrecked my nerves. Very few people have ever left their kids with me -- I'm sure this is due partly to my own words (as in "Nuh-uh, I ain't watchin' 'em,") and partly due to My Own Family's general consensus of... Of... Well, we won't get into that here.

My limited exposure never afforded me any major emergencies other than the basic stress of the situation. Both occasions were very spur-of-the-moment encounters thrust on me by someone who wasn't really concerned with the safety or well-being of the kids involved; just tremendously insistent that somebody else (ie not him) would be dealing with them while he was doing what he wanted to do.

The preschool-kindergarten little girls were pretty easy to deal with because I totally remember what I always wanted to do with my Sunny Saturdays when I was in kindergarten. It was usually a rare occasion in my family, but I always loved it -- Sure, we had a swingset in the back yard, but I always wanted to go to the Park because the swings were bigger and the slide was taller and there were seesaws and all the fascinating stuff we didn't have at home. We had lunch, we went to the park, we had a great time; I had to scrub muddy footprints out of the seat of my car, but that's a whole 'nuther rant too. Toddler Twins were a whole different situation, I didn't have a clue except to avoid the bizzarre household accidents and wait for time to clean the place up afterward.

I know I don't know everything there is to know about dealing with kids, but I have enough basic common-sense knowledge to make sure nobody's in serious danger. I know not to let 'em mess with guns & knives or plastic bags or lighters & matches. I know to keep 'em away from the stairs, I know to make sure no little fingers get slammed in the cabinet doors or shut in the lazy-susan. I know you've gotta watch 'em, even the teeny ones in the rolly-walkers -- you can't just get all zonkered out on dope and fall asleep on the couch while there's nobody else in the house who's conscious enough to make sure the baby doesn't push that rolly-walker onto the floor furnace and get baked. I know it's not a good idea to just hand 'em your keys because power outlets can be way too tempting. I know that it's not a good idea to let 'em pedal their tiny little bicycles around outdoors in the dark, especially not at three in the morning, and definitely not in the pits of a racetrack. I know without a doubt that you should never leave 'em in the car alone; regardless of weather, even if you leave it running and lock it up with your spare key, never never ever leave any kid in the car...

That's why I was stunned by what I heard on the scanner the other night. My folks have the scanners on twenty-four-seven; there have even been occasions of "shushing" at the dinner table, but that's a whole 'nuther rant too. The scanners are always on, and even though I've come to the point of blocking it out most of the time, this one particular call caught my ear.

The dispatcher was calling out to all the surrounding police departments that a lady had called 9-1-1 because her Chevy Tahoe had been stolen and her four-month-old baby was in the back seat. Now, as a compassionate human being, my first thought was about the poor mommy who must be scared to death about her poor little baby riding with a car thief. But then I wondered why she'd left the four-month-old baby in the car in the first place...

Babies involve a serious commitment, but it seems as though there are several people out there who have not figured this out. I can't tell you what all I've left in the back seat of my car over the years; but how does anybody just leave a Baby and get out of the car & walk away like they're not even worried about it? I worry like crazy if I have to leave my laptop bag in the car, and we're only talkin' about a couple grand and a few files to be lost -- a Baby is so much more than that, a Baby is a Living Soul that a Mommy carried and nurtured for nine solid months and then risked her life in labor to bring it into the world. A Baby is a much bigger investment than a Nintendo or a MacBook or a Leather Handbag or a Trumpet or any other fifteen-to-twenty-pound object that one might be emotionally attached to and possibly leave in the back seat of a car; because it's A Baby, you should pick it up and take it with you whenever you get out of the car. It's part of the commitment you got yourself into when you decided to mess around without protection. Don't look at me like that, if they'd planned for the baby and cared about it, they wouldn't have left it in the car, would they??

As a kid from a "family of car people," I was even more stunned when the dispatcher came back on a few minutes later. Ten-twenty-two; basically a "never mind," because the Mom had gone outside to see if the cops were coming yet, and when she did, she discovered that her Tahoe had not been stolen. It had rolled down a hill and out of sight because apparently she didn't quite get it in "park" before she got out. Silly Bitch.

One thing that bugs me about all the scanner-listening is that we never get to hear what happened after the cops got out of their cars and handled the situation.

If I ran the world, they'd take her license for being too stupid to park a car. The people from Child Welfare Services could take her baby so it could be raised by caring parents who want a baby bad enough to take care of a baby. And they could let the Repo Man and the Local Car Thieves flip a coin for who gets the Tahoe.

End Of Rant...

More later. _\,,/

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