A recent New York Times article discussed how the typical American parent is more concerned by threats to their children that are unlikely, e.g. terrorism, than threats to their children that are more dangerous and likely, e.g. obesity. That got me thinking: what are the things that I worry about when it comes to my children?
1. I worry that the cleats that I just bought child #2 will not fit in two weeks. Why? Because this has happened repeatedly. Every time a new pair of footwear is purchased—and tween footwear is not inexpensive—it is only a matter of weeks before said tween is crying, “These are too tight!” I didn’t marry Paul Bunyan and no, child #2 does not have some kind of accelerated growing disease. But boy, are his feet going to be huge. I worry about that. Or maybe I shouldn’t. Some women love a man with big feet.
2. I worry that my children will get scurvy. As much as they hate broccoli, brussel sprouts, and every other cancer-fighting vegetable that I serve nightly, they hate citrus fruits even more. As a result, I don’t even bother buying oranges. Every year for the holidays, however, some kind parent of one of hubby’s students will send a great, giant gift basket full of Florida grapefruits and oranges and I will hold them aloft, touting their restorative and scurvy-fighting powers. I will even employ a pirate accent to make my point and note how many pirates died on the high seas as a result of this nearly-eradicated disease. The kids hide until I stop speaking like Blackbeard. And then, with great sadness, I will parcel out the grapefruits and oranges to neighbors and friends who all proclaim that their kids “eat them up!” which makes me feel even worse.
3. I worry that their rooms are not clean enough so that after they have recovered from scurvy, they will get black lung disease. I made a conscious decision years ago that the kids were responsible for the cleanliness of their rooms. That should give you a mental picture of what their rooms look like. Granted, child #1 is a little better than child #2 in keeping things neat and tidy, but let’s face it: how many kids are going to pull their beds, dressers, and desks away from the wall to check to see how much dust has accumulated back there? Not too many, I suspect. Therefore, every few months or so, I take it upon myself to do just that. And what I find is not pretty. I have the pediatrician on speed dial just in case black lung becomes an issue because what I find behind the furniture looks very similar to what is found in coal mines, and that, my friends, is something that keeps me up at night. It doesn’t spur me to clean any more than I do; let’s be realistic here.
4. I worry that the rats will return and when they do, they’ll travel through the heating ducts and end up in their bedrooms. You remember the Great Rat Infestation of 2010? Well, I spend our good, hard-earned money every month on Tom, the Rat Whisperer, making sure that they don’t come back. But having done a little research on the habits of our furry, rodent friends, I have learned that they are intrepid. That is, they can scurry willy-nilly throughout your house, generally behind the walls; all they need is a few inches and something to tempt them, like the remnants of half-eaten granola bars that are often found when I move the furniture from the wall in one or another child’s room. I’ve decided that rather than scare the children about wearing clean underwear in the event of getting hit by a bus (this was a favorite of my mother and grandmother), I’d rather scar them for life by telling tales of rats who entered a child’s room through a heat duct and spent the night foraging for food underneath the child’s bed. That oughta learn them, right?
I’ll end there, if only to give you a chance to call Child Protective Services on me.
What are some of your concerns, Stiletto friends?