Children Make the World a Dangerous Place

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.


  1. You'd be different with your own kid. You get this sort of sixth sense about things--you know when to freak out and when to chill. Or at least it's possible for you to have the sixth sense. I've seen plenty of parents lose their shit over nothing.

    I was a total nutbag worrier BEFORE I had Jack. Now I'm pretty calm. I'm the mom who lets her kid run down the sidewalk near a busy street, climb the highest tree and check the brownies.

  2. Just got back from walking out dogs and realized I left out something important--I can be chill about things because I've taught my kid how to stop at the corner, judge the weight of the branches and to never touch the oven without hotpads.

    There. I feel better now.

  3. I love these stories. This is what I'm talkin' bout!

  4. Ellen DeGeneres sez if she ever had a kid she would be so overprotective she would keep her child in a crate, like veal.

  5. Children can make the world a simply terrifying place. No doubt about that. It's so. damn. scary sometimes.

    But, you'd do it. And you'd handle it.

    And you'd still be you.

    And they'd be fine and love you so much even if you weren't perfect.

    All that love makes you strong enough to do anything.


  6. i locked my daughter in the car not once, but, twice.

    my ex dropped our infant son out of his moses basket, and kept walking, unaware. an alert waiter said, "excuse me, i think you dropped your son."

    surprisingly, they all still talk to us.

    yeah, children do make it a dangerous place.