Posted by Hilary Parker on July 20, 2011
My husband, two daughters and I stepped out to the local farmer’s market last night and enjoyed yummy local greens (me), pizza (my eldest) and Jamaican food (my husband). The baby? She got mixed fruit with oatmeal. I could tell she was eager to join the rest of the family at the “table” (in this instance, a quilt my parents used when we picnicked as kids that I swiped from my parent’s house the last time I visited).
It seemed like the whole town was there. We saw our five-year-old’s kindergarten teacher, a bunch of family friends and one couple who recently welcomed their first child. As we were comparing babies — with my chubby eight-month-old playing the role of Godzilla vs. their newborn — I gave my five-year-old permission to walk across the park to greet a friend.
My new mom friend nearly stroked out.
“Aren’t you worried she’ll get lost? Or… worse?” she asked in a tone which suggested she was unable to help herself.
“I’ve got my eye on her,” I replied, and held up Godzilla. “It’s my second time around. I’ve learned to worry less. Or, rather, about different things.”
And I told her about a book I’d checked out from the library when my daughter was younger called “The Paranoid Parents Guide” by Christie Barnes, which really helped put my mind at ease on certain issues.
In the book, Barnes, a mother of four, lists the top five things parents worry about based on surveys she conducted for the book vs. the top five real threats to children.
Turns out, we parents are worried about, in this order, kidnapping, school snipers (a la Columbine), acts of terrorism, dangerous strangers and drugs. But, Barnes notes, what really gets kids hurt or killed are, in this order, car accidents, homicide, abuse, suicide and drowning.
Rather than worry about remote possibilities, parents should take heart in the knowledge that simply buckling up their kids correctly in the car cuts a child’s chances of serious injury by 78 percent and death by 90 percent.
By the time I was done relaying this bit of information, my daughter had returned, hugged me and gone off to play on the swings. And both babies were getting pretty cranky, so my mom friend and I bid each other goodbye.
As she and her husband were walking away, I heard her ask him “When’s the next car seat check at the firehouse?”
That’s a good mama.