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? .