On the front page of the paper on Mother's Day morning there was an article about not leaving your child unattended in the car during the hot summer months. OK. It makes sense to have that sort of information in print, I guess. I mean, I don't know about your little corner of the world, but down here in South Carolina we have two kinds of weather: Chilly (usually between December 10 and March 10...anything under 60 degrees and requiring some kind of sleeves, maybe a jacket but probably not a coat) and Thermonuclear Meltdown (humid, sweltering, hot-as-blue-blazes every day for the rest of the year!) So, of course, a reminder in the paper to parents and caregivers that leaving a child locked in the car when it's 103 out and you could fry eggs on the...
Wait. Does that mean it's alright to leave your little one alone in the car when it's NOT hot? What about hypothermia? What about if someone lost control of their vehicle in the parking lot and slammed into yours? What about crazed strangers? What about car-jackers?? What about kidnappers??!! Why would you take the chance no matter what the temperature?
But seriously...is this a big problem? Do that many people leave their kids in the car by themselves? Apparently they do. And apparently it's not always on purpose!
That's right. Having a baby or toddler seemingly induces some sort of intermittent amnesia these days. Parents actually forget that they have children! (How handy is that??!! I'd like to forget myself sometimes.) This memory loss must be rampant too, because the article mentions several ways to help remind yourself that you have a child. There are even products on the market specifically designed to alert you when you've forgotten Junior in the back seat.
What I want to know is this: Exactly what's up with babies these days?? Are they THAT quiet and content?? Are they born without that built-in annoyance factor that my four had?? Is it truly necessary to own an alarm that beeps when dad walks further than 15 feet from the car because the baby is so reserved? I don't get it. This was never an issue for me.
When my children were tiny, they always made their presence known! They were born with no knowledge of the old adage "Children should be seen and not heard." My oldest boy made certain I didn't overlook him by hurling things at the back of my head while I was driving. Bottles, pacifiers, stuffed animals, plastic keyrings, even his little blue socks and Nike shoes were flung with great accuracy at random moments. The bombings continued with any item in his reach until we arrived at our destination.
My daughter? Well, she wasn't big on target practice, but that girl was a miniature Houdini! She could get out of any car seat before she could crawl! Within seconds of merging into heavy traffic...Ta DAHHHHH! Ten month old standing on the arm rest! I'd pull over, buckle her back in more tightly and get back on the road when...ARRRRGGHH! There she is in the back window! How did she..?? Pull over, fuss sternly at smiling, laughing, curly-headed baby, buckle her in and pull straps tight enough to cut off the circulation to her arms...pull back onto highway and...WHAT THE...! She's hanging upside down from the passenger seat! Pull over, yank hair out by roots, take deep breaths, think happy thoughts, grab baby girl in one arm, hold her firmly in car seat with right knee and left hand, use right hand to staple baby's diaper to car seat cover, employ entire roll of duct tape to secure child into seat, sew her clothes to the fabric of the seat, instruct three year old son to sit on baby...THAT'LL fix her! There's no way she's gonna...
Never mind! Evidently the girl was born with the supernatural ability to morph her atomic structure like the Terminator and flow through solid substances. With powers like that who needs a three-point harness?
And then there were the twins. I probably don't need to tell you how much noise comes from a couple of preemies with heart monitors, raspy breathing and recurrent, explosive barfing!
So yeah. I was never in danger of forgetting that I had infants with me.
But I sure do wish I'd evented that "reminder." I bet they sell like hotcakes!