Thursday, December 4, 2008

Safety First, and Second, and Third, and...

As I go crazy over the list of things that has to be done by the holidays, the one thing I find myself constantly doing everyday is cleaning. With two small boys, a husband, and dog; the job sounds much easier than it is.

Maybe it's the fact that I'm finding crevices "where no man has been before" within my house, or maybe it's that undiagnosed OCD family members swear I suffer from. Either way, I'm finally coming to terms with my need for safety. Not so much for me, but rather for the children.

I'm reminded each day of my neurotics just by the simple chore of vacuuming. In order for me to begin, I must first remove the safety plug that fits into the receptacle. As I move from room to room with my trusty Oreck, I pull a safety plug out, then put it back in before I leave.

Some may think I'm being overprotective, but I clearly remember the day my brother put a pin inside a baby lamp while it was still plugged in. Needless to say he was shocked and fell backwards off our bunk-bed. Looking back, yes, this was a stupid stunt, but never the less, had my Mom had in her disposal some of the cool safety gadgets available these days, my brother may just be normal (Sad but true).

Travel into my kitchen and you will find the safety covers over the knobs for the stove. I don't know what I was scared of when I purchased these things, but it seemed smart at the time. Maybe I feared the children may find a way to make their own meals therefore leaving my job obsolete. (Sorry, started dreaming for a minute). Sadly, my children are more familiar with the menu at Chick Fillet than the one in my kitchen. One day I'll learn to cook. Until then, nuggets anyone?

Go into my bathrooms and you will find safety locks for my cabinets. I still think this is a good buy, and that is why they are still there after 5 years. I even bought a safety lock for the toilet at one point. It was right after the Oprah episode that reminded parents that children can drown in just an inch of water. After I read the directions, I realized that this safety feature could cause more harm than good. If your not good at figuring out puzzles, let's just say this is not a good investment. Another side note: if you suffer from overactive bladder or have had at least 2 children; you can do without a lock on your toilet.

I don't know where this sudden urgency for safety came from but it certainly wasn't from our parents. Looking back, I'm sure my crib was decorated with lead paint, and yes, I drank directly from the garden hose on more than one occasion. We swam in our pool while our mother mopped the kitchen floor and we rode our bikes without helmets.

Did we get hurt. Sure did. But we got up, washed ourselves off, and continued to play until the street lights went on.

I remember once falling out of a tree and hitting every branch on the way down. A few scratches, but no broken bones. I got right up. I waited until the next day though to climb back into that tree.

I still look both ways before crossing a street. Nothing has changed about that. But I'm always amazed at the amount of safety features that are offered in new cars today. I too have fell victim to these packages that promise if something hits you, your life will be saved by these pillows that magically blow out of the side panels.

Here's something to think about: Back when I was kid, we didn't even wear our seat belts. My parents owned an over sized station wagon that was tough as a tank. I on the other hand have owned 5 cars so far. I have had 4 accidents of one kind or another (thankfully none were my fault). However, I've only been slightly hurt once. And guess how I was hurt? Yes, that's right, the magical pillow that blew out of my steering wheel burned my arms as I tried to avoid a car that went through a red light. On the brighter side, the pillow also saved me from hitting the wind shield. (Safety wins again!)

We recently bought an inground pool, and again the only thing on my mind was this issue of safety. There are 3 gates that lead into the pool area. All have safety locks. My children take swim lessons, and I make them wear their life preservers even when they're sitting at the picnic area just in case they wonder off. I even invested in a pool cover that promises it can hold the weight of an elephant. I have seen a bird, a duck and even my own dog run across that cover. I have yet to see a pachyderm in my backyard, so I am still somewhat skeptical.

So I continue to clean my house and get ready for the holidays. Ever so slightly working around these safety obstacles I have set up. Next room is the basement. In the mean time I'll try to figure out how to get a steamer over the baby gate.

1 comment:

liquidambar said...

Hi Mary!

When I was little, I actually used to read a safety magazine (intended for adults). My favorite part was the true stories, where readers shared how they'd accidentally burned themselves or gotten an electric shock through momentary carelessness, and they described what they had learned from the experience. I have no idea WHY this fascinated me so much. But maybe you read it too? ;-)

Jenn Hubbard