Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Monday, March 12, 2012

Just Keep Him Alive

My friend Sam and E's Mom has a five-year-old and fourteen-year-old and her child rearing philosophy changed drastically between children. When E was small, she had a schedule and a lot of rules about food, naps, television, etc. The first time Sam's grandfather babysat for him, he asked for directives—because there had been a lot when E was a baby.

"Just keep him alive until I get back," Sam and E's Mom replied.

Precious Angel turned eighteen last week. Keeping him alive was no easy chore. He was a runner and a finder of sharp objects. I am still haunted by something that happened when he was about two. The Guy and I had taken him to the grocery store with us. When we returned, The Guy carried him inside and quickly surveyed the area for baby killing paraphernalia. Finding none, he said, "Stay!" and we proceeded to unload the groceries.

Precious Angel met us at the back door with a hatchet. We still don't know where he got it. He also once bit a plug out of a glass jar. He wasn't in my care at the time, but I couldn't have stopped it either.

Still, we did the best we could and devised some basic rules to keep him alive.

  • 1. We kept him strapped in the stroller long after he could walk. He didn't like it. The Public at Large looked at us like we were abusers, but PA did not escape to Montana.
  • 2. When the stroller was no longer a viable option because a) he could undo the straps and b) he would no longer physically fit, we got a harness and lease that zipped up the back. And if you think the Public at Large didn't like the stroller. . . Still, we did not care. Kid alive.
  • 3. I taught him to bang on the piano while I went to the bathroom. As long as I could hear him, I knew he wasn't on the stairs or forging a sword.
  • 4. On the advice of his very, very wise Papa, once he got his learner permit, we put him behind the wheel every time he was in the car with us. By the time he was sixteen, he could handle himself very well.
  • 5. Before he was allowed to have a rifle, he had a gun safety class.

So far, so good and it's a miracle.

Have you devised any little tricks to keep a kid alive? .


  1. Wow! He was an escape artist! ;)

    Keeping your eye on four children was a 24/7 task. S2 got his head stuck between staircase banister rungs when I wasn't looking once. If you knew him at the time, you would've wondered how that was possible when his head was so big. Luckily, we didn't have to cut him out. We figured out we could raise him and his head could fit through the upper rungs. Woot!

  2. When my son was two I went outside to check the mail. He locked me out of the house for about three hours. I threatened, cajoled and tried to jimmy the locks but couldn't get into the house (not a great burglar). Finally he got hungry and decided to let me in. I called a locksmith that day, had the regular door locks taken off, put plain door knobs in and had dead bolts installed waaaay up out of his reach. That kept him alive from an angry mom.

  3. My kids are 9 years apart. So Clair got the anal-dictator version of me and well, V? She's still alive! Her weapon of choice? Lipstick. At least it's at the top of the list.

    I know it doesn't sound very dangerous, not like a hatchet anyway. But let me tell you, when I found my brand new master bathroom's beautiful ivory and gold foil toile wallpaper painted in 12 varying shades of red lipstick from 2 feet down (and I mean the ENTIRE room, 2 feet down!), I myself saw RED!!! And I'm pretty easy going; probably the easiest Mom around! It wasn't that she'd done this at all really. It was the fact that she skillfully maneuvered her way back into my bathroom less than 5 minutes after I'd cleaned the walls from her first incident, located the rest of my lipstick (which I'd hidden in a new place) and PAINTED THE SAME BLASTED WALLS all over again!!! That's where the life threat came from. I had to lock MYSELF away in another bathroom to count to thousands! It took that long to convince myself not to kill her with my bare hands. (As I'm typing, I realize I may not be entirely over this incident. Huh.)

    Since then there have been many other incidents. Most memorable (2nd place to the lipstick) is the house flood due to her playing with the swimming Polly Pocket. My honey had to join me in the bathroom counting session for that one! Sigh.

    Well, she was 2 for the Lipstick Caper, 4 for the Great Flood and now she's 11. I think she'll make it to 21. I'm surviving. But I sleep with one eye open!

  4. Y'all are feeling waaayyyy too smug about this. My dad's favorite sying is: "It's not the 9 months before. It's the 99 years after that kills you." And then grandkids come along and it all starts over again. Trust me on this one:-)

  5. I'm not sure I should comment on this today. I'm not feeling all that confident as a parent at the moment, and my kids still have to get through learning how to drive and their teen years.
    But basically, I trained myself to be a nervous wreck when they were toddlers. It wasn't too hard. I'm a nervous wreck by nature, even though I'm told that I hide it well. I'm learning that it's still not a bad idea to know where they are at all times, even though they're way beyond the toddler years!

  6. I think that keeping them busy, like with the piano is a great trick!

    1. Love the piano trick! I wish I'd thought of that years ago!

  7. Drugs and handcuffs are always a good choice. Failing that, we used leashes to keep them from darting through crowds and getting lost. We did this because (a) children have terrible or not judgment, and (b) children have terrible or no judgment. Later in life, I simply used the Death Stare on them. It doesn't keep them occupied, but it does make them think they should probably make themselves stay very small and quiet.

  8. Thank you all for stopping by today. I learned tonight it never ends. Never. Precious Angel stopped by tonight to borrow some camping equipment. (It's a long story why I even own camping equipment.) I went outside to pass the time of day while he and The Guy loaded it in PA's big black macho pickup truck.

    He said, "Hey, Jean, watch this." (Should have been my first clue I wasn't going to like it.)Then he proceeded to do a handstand on my concrete parking pad. I sputtered as he did the second one. "Do you even understand the concept of concrete?" I asked him.

    "Oh, it'll be fine," he said. And did it again.

    No stroller. No leash. No piano playing. No class on concrete safely. If only I had know about Maven Linda's Death Stare. I need to practice that.