September 04, 2012

Lesson 44: Purposeful Paranoia. Legitimate Letting go.

When Samara was one, we walked her down to a nearby neighborhood to sit in a yard and watch fireworks. These fireworks were being set off in the street in front of us.

Cultural Reality:
In the south, this is: Commonplace. Expected. The norm.
In the north, this is: Crazy. Outrageous. Illegal.

Up north, our 4th of July fun consists of sparklers and tanks. We watch the big stuff shoot off in the sky while parked in our cars!

In the south, any old Jim with some cash in his pocket can put on the festivities for his neighbors. And man do these Jim's love to do it.

Welcome to the South, northern girl!

Though I was naturally uneasy about the whole thing, I was persuaded to adapt and we went to our first neighborhood production. We positioned ourselves relatively far down the street from the launch pad (about 100 yards).

Everything was going swell. Samara liked the bright lights, and I felt like I belonged. 

Well, then, Old Jim (who appeared to have been drinking most of the day) came and told us they were moving the trigger spot down, and we would have to move as well. We were happy to adjust, but moving blankets, babies, and strollers can take a few minutes. 

Old Jim and his buddies didn't have a few minutes. Almost immediately, they set another one off. It was one of those fountain types that continuously shoots sparks off in the air. Very pretty.

It would have been fine, except ... it got knocked over and began shooting those sparks at us!

Duck and cover came to mind! I grabbed Samara, tucked her in away from the attack and sprinted away! Thankfully, no one got hurt, but frankly, I was shaken.

On the list of things I am allowed to be purposefully paranoid about as a parent: neighborhood fireworks.

Also on this list is kidnapping in public places, knives, and drowning in the tub. I can't help it. I am aware and cautious about these things.

However, I recently read an article about America as the Entitled Nation. It basically said that we are raising kids who don't know how to do anything for themselves. They compared these kids to babies in some far away jungle who are responsible for using a machete at age 3.

Sorry, but my 3-year old will not be using a  machete. A machete is a knife, and knives are on the paranoid list.

The article did get me thinking about things that Samara is capable of doing though.  No machete, but what about a dull spreader?

I wondered. Then, I acted.

I said, "Samara, do you want to try and make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?"

"Yes" was the immediate response.

I arranged the ingredients, opened the jars, and let her loose.

And she did an awesome job!

Talk about self-sufficient. If a person can make a PB&J, they can survive! It's "teach a man to fish" at its best.

The last two years, we've viewed the magnificent firework presentation put on by the city of Charlotte from a safe distance ... across the highway at the top of a parking deck. Friends gather together in our tailgates. We eat, hang out, listen to country, and enjoy the show. I think we'll stick with this spot.

But next year, maybe Samara will be in charge of making our snacks! Who doesn't love homemade PB&J?

Lesson Learned: Parental wisdom involves knowing when to keep the little chick with me and when to set the little chick free.


  1. Next time try egg salad! Naomi makes egg salad for us for lunch almost every day. She loves peeling the eggs and slicing them, then spooning out the mayonnaise, and shaking on the salt and pepper. I still spread it on the bread since it's so lumpy, but she puts the second slice on top. She even knows where everything is kept and rushes to get it all out on the counter for me. As long as she's supervised it comes out pretty well. :) While she does that, I can prepare the fruit, veggies, dip, and cheese.

    I never thought to try peanut butter & jelly. There's a first time for everything!

  2. Man I am going through this one big time right now!!! Seoul is so busy and hectic and I worry about Ari getting hit by the cars and motorbikes that drive on the sidewalk or us all dying from the black mold that seems to be growing in every sink we encounter including in our new apartment. But then I think, are Korean babies dying by the minute over here? Nope. I certainly have to be more alert than before, but hopefully soon I can let a lot go, too!

  3. It is one of the beauties of having a Dad and a Mom to work together on this. I agree with all the precautions listed and would add covering sockets that kids love to stick fingers into. Has anyone ever seen a kid get hurt by that? I don't know and don't want to find out. But, back to my point. It is good thing Dad's are around to throw kids in the air and rough house with them a bit. Otherwise, they might all becoming momma's boys and girls. But maybe I was paranoid too. After all, I didn't allow Katherine to play on the Colt's midget football team even though Laura Evans' father let her.


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