At the start of the week, Lenore Skenazy had another commonsense op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, marking (belatedly, in these parts) the start of the school year.
As yellow buses start heading back to school, you might notice some of them being trailed by a little line of cars. Predators? Pervs?
“I was talking to a bunch of parents and found out they all follow the bus for the first week or so,” one mother told me the other day. “I sat there thinking that I was a really bad mom because that thought had never even occurred to me!”
Although I am officially the World’s Worst Mom—I even have a TV show with that name—the thought had never occurred to me, either. But apparently it’s becoming par for the course as the line gradually blurs between shipping a child off to school and shipping a child off to ‘Nam.
“They can’t seem to let go,” says Natascha Santos, a school psychologist in Great Neck, N.Y., on Long Island—and she’s not talking about the kids. This could be because everywhere parents turn, the advice-o-sphere keeps harping on how incredibly hard they must work to ease their child’s incredibly harrowing adjustment to school…
I generally find her columns reassuring, a small sign that the world hasn’t gone entirely mad. Indeed, parents should chill and let their kids be kids.
But then… this was brought to my attention today:
In a tale that will soon pass into Mom Urban Legend, a 7-year-old girl in Colorado, a 7-year-old girl not so very different from you, in fact, in a Colorado much like your own state, played near a dead squirrel after her mom told her to leave it alone. And do you know what happened to that little girl?
She contracted the Bubonic Plague now TAKE THAT CEREAL OUT OF THE CART AND STOP TOUCHING THINGS.
Yikes. Nothing like a little Black Death to cure parents inclined toward a sanguine outlook. Obviously, there are times to chill, and times to TOTALLY FREAK OUT.
The key, for wise parents, lies in knowing when to do which…