*If you arrived here from a childbirth-related tag, please go to my The Female Problem page for more*
Now the first of (perhaps?) a series on what my husband calls “The Wussification of America.” It goes hand-in-hand with another phenomenon, the politically correct movement. It is also closely related to the litigation-happy social climate. Once again, you may all take a deep breath, and envision me climbing atop a big box with the letters S-O-A-P on it. Prepare yourselves.
First off, know that I’m not against things like handicapped ramps and all that stuff. That’s all great for navigating with a stroller. And the kid-friendly/kid-safe stuff is nice, too. Carseats are a sound invention (as much for their safety purpose as their containment aspect), and I have really no problem with child safety locks, toilet lid locks, etc… To a point. After we had Linus, somehow my name got on a mailing list for a catalog called One Step Ahead. (Do you moms know it?) Every time I get one, I make a point of sitting right down and looking through it solely for the comedic aspect. Talk about everything a new parent thinks they “need” when having a baby! It’s ridiculous. One of my favorites? A little, inflatable helmet, that velcros on your little crawler’s head, so that they don’t crawl into the coffee table and bump their noggin. And I don’t know where they find these kids in the pictures, who actually are smiling with this contraption stuck to their heads. The pages are filled with this type of item, so if you ever see this catalog and need a good laugh, I’d suggest opening it up. (The only one better? Perhaps the Foster and Smith catalog, only the items in there, though similar to those in One Step Ahead, are for your pets.)
There is a fine line here. It seems that with each new liability threat, a little more common sense is being lost. Take the playground. For liability purposes, the ground underneath the playground equipment must be gravel. This makes it impossible to run on (probably the intent), and it also gets into sandals like a scourge. This means that my job as a mother has just gotten a lot more difficult. Now, instead of sitting on the bench watching my kids play, I have to unload a pound of gravel from each kids’ shoes every thirty seconds. What’s wrong with grass? This is just one example of many that I see around me all the time. Helmets for kids on little trikes that are a foot from the ground. No more treated wood for playground equipment. Only the big contraptions made out of old milk jugs. You get the idea.
Like David says, pretty soon we won’t be able to leave the house without full HAZMAT regalia. It’s a wonder we can still drive our cars. I am of course being a little tongue-in-cheek here, but there is a darker side to all of this. This wussification/abject fear of litigation/evaporation of common sense and REASON is seeping into any number of areas, where it is doing real damage. I’m sure each and every one of you has experienced this at some point or another, and can think of many examples of your own. I am going to expound how this phenomenon has taken hold of maternity care and childbirth. I’m starting a new page that I’ll title Female Stuff or something similar as a courtesy to my male readers who might not wish to read about va-jay-jays and the like. But I promise you that it will be enlightening. Stay tuned.