Grant and I have been talking recently about being an "80's parent"- the kind our parents were before public opinion, research and the internet made all parents so paranoid about the worse case scenario. I don't remember owning a bike helmet, definitely was not in a car seat until the age of 8, and took many a ride on the back of my neighbor's 3 wheeler around the corn fields. My mom made all our food (had my first Twinkie in High School) but it wasn't organic and we drank warm, raw milk as children without a worry of listeria.
I'm not saying that the new safety rules aren't a good thing- particularly when I watch some parents do super stupid things with their kids.We all remember Britney Spears with her infant in her lap driving away from the paparazzi... but somewhere between that extreme and the other where happy meals are illegal in San Francisco should be good old common sense parenting.
I'm glad that somewhere, someone is doing research to keep my babes more safe. I'm glad to know about the risks of babes being put to sleep on their stomachs and that rear-facing carseats are protecting infants. But will we be saying in 30 years the same things our parents are saying now? "When you were little, this is how they told us to keep you safe"-and cite something that seems ludicrous to our kids?.
So maybe I won't let Pursy ride on the back of a 3-wheeler anytime soon, but I hope that I let her live a little. We have always said about her eating habits that 95% of the time she will be eating fresh, local food that we create in our kitchen. The other 5% will be the friend's birthday party where she eats tons of blue icing and gummi bears. The random Tuesday nights when Grant decides to take the kids to McDonalds. And the Saturday mornings where we go pick up donuts and watch cartoons on the floor with our babes. I don't want her to think that eating organic is the only way to go- but neither is Captain Crunch for dinner every night.
So I think I like that philosophy for the rest of life as well- 95% of the time follow the rules and the other 5% is parental discretion. Grant and I are smart people and should be able to weight the risks and benefits of raising children in 2011 where more information doesn't always equal better parenting. At some point you have to return to the fact that your children are in God's hands and He protects them. I think about this every time I watch Grant throw Pursy around- her head inches away from the ground, the wall, the ceiling fan- and she is laughing her head off. He has a better sense of being an 80's parent then I do. I don't want to stupidly put her in danger, but maybe I can take off the water wings while she splashes in the baby pool...