Words worker. Digital thinker. Feminist. Mother.

A parent would never write this

The children abscond...

Have just read the story** about the couple who forgot their four-year-old at the airport — and only discovered it 40 minutes later when they were told by airline staff. Crumbs. Look, they have five children so it’s almost understandable. (Well, the forgetting part. Not convinced about the 40 minute delay though. Or the 18 suitcases.)
Nevertheless, this story resonates with me, especially just having travelled with my two young children. I’m terrified of losing track of my children in public places — particularly as they are real small-town hicks who believe the world is a benign and lovely playground. So much for never talking to strangers…
We all know it could happen to any of us. That’s what makes it such a brilliant story: it taps into our deepest fears as parents (as well as giving us a reason to gasp in amused disbelief at someone else’s stupidity). But there are ways of writing it and AP’s version as posted on MNSBC is nothing short of schlock:

JERUSALEM – An Israeli couple going on a European vacation remembered to take their duty-free purchases and their 18 suitcases, but forgot their 3-year-old daughter at the airport, police said Monday.

That’s nothing except cruel and judgmental. I’m almost willing to bet that the person who wrote it doesn’t have children of their own…

PS: **Got to love the Times of London headline: ‘To the family in row 3: you left your daughter behind at the airport’.

Filed under: Motherhood, Personal, , , , ,

Why ignorance is bliss

My almost-six-year-old daughter has asked me for a Gameboy and an X Box. I shudder each time she does. Last year, I went looking around playschools for Sam, who was two years’ old at the time. One teacher proudly showed me the computer in the playroom, where each child was allowed to spend a limited time each week. I remember wondering what the benefit of that would be? (I have to admit that, at the same time, I wondered if I was putting my children at a disadvantage by not allowing them near a computer… Oh, the joys of parenting!)

I can’t stand how comatose my children become in front of the television (at times, of course, I love how comatose they become). But the thought of them spending endless hours throwing carrots at the Were Rabbit in Wallace & Gromit’s PSP game or – shudder, shudder, shudder – taking care of a virtual toy on Webkinz. has a great piece on this by columnist Emily Bazelon, Death to Stuffed Animals!

…[T]here you are, fighting with your 8-year-old or even your 6-year-old about screen time. Or, worse, taking advantage of their preoccupation to make dinner, only to find that they’ve turned into bad-tempered, Web-addled mush.

Don’t try to console yourself with the mantra that they’re learning skills that will later serve them well in our technology-driven world. Using a mouse isn’t like learning to ski. If you ask me, there’s no need to do it from birth or even elementary school. I agree with Emily Yoffe: Watching kids go online for more than five minutes makes me want to shoo them outside. (Even if I admit Michael Agger is right that they’re just prepping for the real computer indulgences of the adult office.)

Look, Blazeon dallies with the idea of allowing her son online, but I’m not convinced she’s sold her soul (or his) to Internetting yet. As I see it, ignorance is always the best way of protecting your kids from stuff you don’t want them to nag you about. After all, they can’t ask you for something if they don’t even know about it…

Filed under: General, Kids stuff, Motherhood, , , ,