Loren and I sometimes babysit a six-year-old boy, the rambunctious and adorable son of friends. Whenever we take charge of "K.," as we did this past Saturday, all my senses kick into high alert, and my mindset switches to that of the ultimate guardian, a protector always on the lookout for the smallest sign of potential danger.
I go through my everyday life pretty carefree and unconcerned about my surroundings, but, when K. is around, I suffer from sensory overload because, to me, almost everything is a sign of potential danger: "The signal says 'walk,' but is that cross traffic really going to stop like it's supposed to?"; "That's a kids' bowling ball, but what if he drops it on his foot?"; "He's eating Pinkberry from his chair just fine, but wouldn't a booster seat ensure that he won't fall off and bang his head?"; "I wonder if the water he used to wash his hands was hot enough to kill bacteria"; "He's having fun playing the XBOX, but shouldn't he take a break to avoid carpel tunnel syndrome?"; etc.
Of course I didn't say any of this stuff out loud, so we all managed to have a great time and K. was delivered back to his parents safe, sound, and raving about his fun evening.
If I had my own child, man, I would so be an overprotective mother. You see? Children make the world a dangerous place.
But I can't wait to babysit again.