Old-fashioned Parenting

I am babysitting this morning. The kids are still sacked out. I have some time to check out the news, visit Facebook, and do some blogging. Once Jack gets up my leisure is pretty much over.

Two-year-olds can be really busy. To me the most difficult thing about this age is that you can lose them so quickly and they don’t come when called, like a dog whose nose has caught an interesting scent in the air. And, like a dog, two-year-olds don’t answer. They don’t say, “It is okay, Mom. I am over here behind the rack of sweatshirts.”

I lost a child in a mall once. It is close to the most frightening experience I have had with a child. I don’t know what scent sent her off on her own, but I went just about crazy. The security guard told me to stand in the center of the mall while he and his helpers searched for her. No one passing could mistake that I was a distraught mother. She was found in Sears’ electronics department watching TV. She seemed pretty oblivious to the turmoil she had caused, but I made sure she would not remain in oblivion. I lectured her all the way home about staying close to mom.

In our culture it is considered poor parenting to put a leash on a child when out and about with them.  I have seen parents use them, though rarely. Of course a little harness was used, not a collar. Few people would approve but once you’ve lost a child, it starts to look like a decent idea. Most parents use strollers but children aren’t necessarily happier about being strapped in a stroller. The practice of using a leash might work better for small children who like to run. Maybe the problem is the term “leash”.

For similar reasons, I approve of play pens. These were always a must for babies when I was raising children. You can tell an older child to keep their toys with tiny parts out of reach but there is always the one puzzle piece or Barbie shoe that they can miss and end up in baby’s mouth. A playpen was useful when we would travel to the homes of friends and family who did not baby-proof their homes. At home, I was able to do more household chores when I could keep a baby safe in a playpen. Nowadays, parents use portable cribs which, to me,  look amazingly like play pens. Do I believe in letting babies explore their environments? Absolutely, but I also believe in safety.

The kids are getting up. When I went into Jackson’s room I saw that  his diaper had fallen off and his little butt was sticking in the air.


One thought on “Old-fashioned Parenting”

  1. I liked playpens too. Here’s a true story that still gives me shivers. My 2 older children were in school. I was preparing dinner. Because I was going to be opening and closing the oven door several times I put my toddler in the playpen. The older kids come home. I open the oven door, take out what was baking, turn to put it on the kitchen table. Before I could turn back around I hear this blood curdling scream. His brother thought playpens were cruel so he took his brother out. The little guy saw the red glowing coils and wrapped his hand around it. It was awful. I had to rush to the ER and explain to the ER doctor, who happened to be named Dad, how it happened! It was thought he’d need skin grafts but silvadene works wonders on burns. So, I like playpens. I don’t think anyone uses them anymore.

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