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The World We Live In

the world we live in

About 2 months ago a permission letter came home with my daughter for me to sign so she could go on a school outing. To be honest I freaked, it was for a few days time and nobody drives my kids anywhere. Only myself, my husband and our parents have ever driven them anywhere and it has been only a rare occasion that our parents have driven them.

The World we live in today is NOT safe!

My instinct, everything in my body said NO, she isn’t even 3 years old yet. But I couldn’t let her miss out on the school trip. I spoke to my husband and we decided I could lift her there and back instead of her going with the school. I had assumed that parents would chip in and lift all the kids so when I got to the school the next day I offered my services to lift some kids and her teach said that actually they were going on the little school bus and she was driving so thanks but not to worry.

So I am standing there feeling stupid and tell her well you see I am one of those crazy, paranoid moms and nobody has driven my child anywhere, so like I will just drive her right? She looks at me with a very understanding look (I think one reserved for all the paranoid moms) and tells me that is just fine.

So the night before this trip my daughter and I are cuddled in bed and she tells me “Tomorrow I’m going on the purple bus with my maatjies” and such happiness and excitement in her eyes. After I put her to sleep I spoke to my husband and told him I feel so bad I can’t let her down and be a crazy mommy. The solution of course was for me to follow them in my car and back, just to you know make sure everything went ok.

Driving my girl to school that morning I had visions of my child being older and going out with her mates and someone turning around and asking her “Hey who’s that creepy looking lady tailing us in the dark glasses and hat” and my daughter turning around, horrified and embarrassed because it’s her mom. The end result is that I just dropped my daughter off and went to work.

But the truth is that in this day there IS danger all over the place. There are kids snatched, people driving like lunatics, drunk drivers, child molesters, children stolen for the sex trade, hijackings, child rape, nanny’s that beat children…. where do you draw the line? What is being protective and what is smothering your child, holding them back? I have to be honest here, I refuse to even read the newspapers anymore, it is too depressing. There are sick people out there that rape and molest their own children, how can you be sure about anyone at all when human beings have the capacity to do that to children, to your own children?

A mom I know recently posted a question on Facebook asking what age they think is appropriate for dating? Her son is 11 years old and some of his mates are dating already and she wants to prepare herself. What 11 years old? I was playing with Barbies and watching Gummibears at that age!

Apparently kids are reaching puberty earlier and they are maturing much faster, long before they should. I followed that post closely and found another mom’s answer very interesting. Never mind dating, how can you let your 11 year old out in public without adult supervision?

Ummm yes never thought of that, I was so focused on freaking out about 11 year olds in relationships. I’m just so glad that if the going age is now 11, I have maybe a good 8 years to go without having to worry about that one problem. Once again I have visions of my daughter going for a milkshake at the Spur and me hiding a few tables back, once again in the dark glasses and big hat, peaking out from behind a newspaper.

How do we keep our kids safe? I know my husband thinks I am crazy because I have already started trying to teach my girl about what parts of the body are private and what to do if someone touches her there. He is constantly hearing me asking my daughter “What do you do if someone touches your vagina?” and she shouts back “DON’T TOUCH MY VAGINA” and I’m like YAY (like some cheerleader), say it again and say it loud!

I’ve tried explaining to her that some people are bad, like when she unlocks the car door when we are driving. I try explain to her (without terrifying her) that she must lock the door so bad people can’t get in. It really is so sad that these are the times we live in and we need to do these things. The first time I said that she gave me a confused look that couldn’t comprehend why “bad people would want to get in our car”. Do I scare her or leave her to unlock the door and someone jumps in?

I’m trying to teach her about policeman and that they are here to help… but hang on are they? What about the corrupt ones? So now I tell her to look for another mommy if she needs help and I am trying to teach her my phone number…. to a child that can only just count to 20. Oh well you have to start somewhere. I also wanted to start explaining to her about a secret code, so that if anyone says they are picking her up they must give her a code. But first I need to teach her not to go anywhere with anyone EVER unless they give this secret code.

I wonder if all parents are like this and if they think about these things late at night and wonder how they will ever keep their kids safe? Am I completely neurotic and paranoid? Do I just lock her up and not let her out ever?

The bright side is that for now she is with either me or her Papa all the time except for when she is at the crèche and they know that only my husband and I can collect her so the time being she is reasonably safe. I just worry about the day I need to decide whether to leave her at a birthday party alone or stay and cramp her style. I hope the day I have to make those decisions is a long time in the future.

What is your take? Are you also a paranoid parent?

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