I’m not sure when it happens. Somewhere along the way, every parent I know develops an irrational fear of death for their child. Actually, it’s an irrational mode of death people seem to obsess over.
A certain number of precautions are necessary. It’s best to keep fingers out of light sockets and unsteady feet away from stairs. It’s generally frowned upon to leave poison where youngsters can drink it. (I made a crack recently about how we never got around to baby proofing our house. Baby Daddy reminded me our house was adapted for a short person to live there. He also figured the reason I didn’t remember was I did not participate. Again, he’s the more responsible one.)
What I find strange is how fixated become of one particular danger. My parents were constantly warning me, “You’re gonna bust your head wide open.” (you have to hear this in your mind with a really Southern drawl)
To hear them tell it, there were neighborhoods across the country with the skulls of children littering the streets because they would not listen to their parents about roller skating on the driveway or using the wood pile as a diving board into a plastic kiddie pool.
I don’t think the insanity is limited to any particular generation, though. My friend was convinced her son was going to smother in his sleep. He was well past the age of warnings about blankets and cribs, but she would dress him practically in a ski suit at bedtime while denying him blankets.
I am convinced my child is going to choke. I cannot count the number of times I’ve yelled, “Stop that! You’re gonna choke yourself.” Everything is a choking hazard in my world: food, medication, toys, clothing, tooth brush… True, any number of these things could harm him, but they likelihood is they won’t.
I can’t stop myself. It’s like the busted head thing. Once I’ve seen a danger, I can’t unsee it. Even when it’s probably not even really that much of a danger any more. He’ll be a teen driver, and I won’t be freaked out about the speed limit, I’ll be shouting, “Don’t eat while you drive. You’re gonna choke yourself!”
But he won’t hear me. He’ll have the A/C cranked full blast because his best friend riding with him is really hot wearing a ski suit in the summer.