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Don’t Freak Out! Don’t Freak Out!

September 8th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

One day last week, Sasha and I got a ride home from her preschool, thanks to one of the other fathers, the Shanghai-born father of Sasha’s classmate Caterina. While it was very nice not to have to brave the subway that day, it was surprising to hear the reason the other dad gave for driving into Manhattan from Brooklyn every day and parking at a not-inexpensive lot: kidnapping.

Or rather, the fear of kidnapping. But not his fear—it was his parents, both from Shanghai, who worried that Caterina might be snatched away on the F train home. Because, of course, that kind of thing happens all the time.

In the movies.

I’ve written here before about all the many reasons parents should just chill out about such things, but today I happened on an NPR story listing the top 5 things parents shouldn’t worry about. Kidnapping, school snipers, terrorists, dangerous strangers, and drugs are pointless wastes of your anxious brainpower, people!

But the article doesn’t stop there. No, it goes on to list the ways most children die—i.e., the things we should worry about:

  1. Car accidents
  2. Homicide (usually committed by a person who knows the child, not a stranger)
  3. Abuse
  4. Suicide
  5. Drowning

So, hm. This isn’t good. In the past month, I’ve taken Sasha in a car (the Shanghai dad’s!) without a carseat, brought her to an un-lifeguarded lake, let her play with dangly necklaces and long computer cables, and maybe even slapped her (lightly) on the wrist when she was being naughty.

But at least she hasn’t spent any time lately with our murderous ‘wagoneer Nathan, a.k.a. “a person who knows the child.” See Sasha? Daddy loves you!


  1. Nathan says:

    September 8th, 2010at 9:05 pm(#)

    You’ve got a point: I am like a car crash and a suicide all wrapped up in one. Hide your kids, hide your wife, I’m snatching your people up.

  2. karen says:

    September 10th, 2010at 3:41 am(#)

    Adam disappeared from the Vancouver Aquarium mid-summer … at least from the spot we’d last seen him in. Kid’s pretty independent minded, when compared to his older sisters and (a) we’re trained to be casual because those two girls can barely let go of my skirt; (b) they’ve become tired of herding him … they did such a good job for the first 3 years and we got used to it; and (c) he just wants to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, wherever he wants to do it.

    Anyway, now that school is back in and us parents on the schoolyard are comparing summers (parents on breathing tubes! teeth split straight up the root! lost children at the aquarium! Canning WHITE peaches instead of orange! Yup. Best summer ever …) the thing all are most horrified of is my child wandering off at a local attraction. Seriously?!

    I grew up in the shadow of a child serial killer (who shall not be named because he does not deserve it). My classmate was one of his victims, as was another young neighbourhood boy and about 10 others … but I am not going to live my life thinking that is even likely to happen to us (knock wood). My kid was at the front counter, exactly where I went as soon as we realised he had gone. And 99.99999?% of the time, this is what happens to our kids when they go missing.

    Now, I had an auntie who lost a small child under the wheel of a bus when ushering her brood on one day. I have to admit, I took buses very reluctantly — read: never — until the youngest turned three just in case.

    Man, I write too much.

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