Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Open Wide

I normally feel the weight of the world on my shoulders just as a regular precaution. This week, it's enough to keep me even busier.

You see, just before my husband left for a conference in Alaska (of all places!), he found out in a casual conversation with our neighbor over lawnmowing that apparently our teensy little neighborhood is home to not one, but two houses of ill-repute (of the red-light variety) and one suspected drug dealer.

Now, I cannot attest to the veracity of the claims. However, I certainly know that people had their panties in a gather a while ago because someone got a laptop stolen from their car. (For the record, the car was unlocked and parked on the street at the time. Doh!)

At any rate, apparently there has also been a car stolen, multiple car break-ins, and an as yet uncorroborated account of a neighbor hearing someone in her house.

Still, true or not, it can scare the living daylights out of you.

My husband is known to all of our friends as a safety fiend. I think if my son would suffer no ill feelings from other children because of it, my husband might have him walk around in full protective headgear.

Yet we are both of the conviction that oftentimes even talking about "security" (as in, say, the "homeland" variety) makes people feel, ironically, unsafe. We scoffed at the folks who felt unsafe without a security system out here.

AND, we are now installing a security system. It can be hooked up to the fire alarms so that the fire station is called instantly. There are panic buttons and all sorts of things that can keep you safe (though thinking about them makes you feel unsafe).

Still, I wonder. Safety itself is one thing. Feeling safe, parodoxically, is a state of mind that is not always related to actual safety (and in fact, is sometimes diametrically opposed to safety. Why else would women stay with their abusers, etc.?)

Perhaps we need to study the idea of a fair amount of preparedness with a large dose of denial. How does that sound?


In the meantime, there's all sorts of change going on. The semester has ended and our dear babysitter has graduated and been let out into the wild to change the world as she sees it. In her stead, her roommate, sorority sister and elementary ed. major has taken her place.

With such singing credentials, I should be on the moon. Yet I was still nervous today when I left her here. Even though last week when she visited I saw my son through the window give her a big hug. (And where does he get off hugging women he hardly knows and saying no to me?)

Of course, everything went fine. When I came home, everything was in order and my son barely noticed I was back. He hugged the new babysitter three or four times with verve.

I was thinking about my nervousness as I was doing my errands. I guess change is just like that. Sometimes with things that have to do with my son (like his first swimming lessons alone, and in this case) I am nervous for him. He ends up doing fine. I'm the one who is having the problem with change, because I am anticipating it. I am rehearsing what I have to do to intercede on his behalf. My motherly nature causes me to pace the floors in my mind. And the babe sleeps quieter than ever, tired and satisfied by his conquests.


And in our final installment, I bring you the latest in food news.

Apparently (though I didn't hear the gruesome details firsthand and I am glad I didn't), a baby died recently because its parents kept it on a vegan diet. Their idea of "vegan" meant giving the baby regular soy milk and applesauce. It goes without saying that this is an absolute perversion of thought. Why wouldn't mother's milk (the most natural thing in the world) be acceptable as baby food? Just thinking about this bizarre case makes me want to get up and punch someone.

I mean, I'm all for animal rights and humane treatment of animals. During college I was even a vegetarian for a while. Partially because of conviction, partially because I was always a veggie and carb lover. But veganism itself is an absolute extreme position to take (and, in my eyes, an unhealthful one.) My only calming thought is that perhaps the baby's parents were themselves so self-imposed malnourished that they couldn't think straight. This Op-Ed from the NYTimes expresses sentiments about this case much more eloquently than I can.

And, just in case you were looking for toothpaste with that "extra special something," look no further than China. Under the brand name "Mr. Cool", a chinese company was producing and exporting toothpaste that contained diethylene glycol, known to most of us as a poisonous component of antifreeze.

What's more, this toothpaste has shown up in at least three countries under some other names and toothpastes marketed specifically for children.


Perhaps the question is... is the old adage true: "The second you become comfortable on a ladder is the one right before you fall." Or does fear beget mostly only fear?

We'll see you in the next round of "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Pimp!"

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