If you're not beating your kid *right in front of me* or locking him in a hot car and walking away, I don't care what you do. Want to marry your daughter off at 13 to some weirdo on the compound? Well, have a nice life. Your decision. I guess I'm more pro-choice than some other people who bandy that title about. I think if the kid's hit puberty, she can get married just as well as have sex in the public school stairwell (no, I'm not linking to that story).
Since when did we as a society evolve from the idea that you should take care of your kids your own way and good luck to ya... to "take care of your kids the way the school, doctors, and assorted nosy people like or you'll lose 'em if you don't?" It bothers me.
You know, when I had my younger two children at the hospital, did you know they would not physically let us go until they'd SEEN the car seat in the van and SEEN how the child is strapped in? Oh, boy. That gets me really mad. It's not their kid! It's not their flipping business if I have buckled the child in well or not. Once the child is out of the hospital, it should be ZERO concern of yours. But I don't specially want nosy DFS people at my door. And I was gonna buckle the kid in anyway. So fine, go look. Grr.
We have a Ford Taurus station wagon and when the kids were small I'd tell Patrick and G to go get into the trunk so we could get going somewhere. It's kinda fun to see people's eyes pop out and snoopy nosy-noses pointing back over at your car until (drat!) they realize that the children are nicely buckled in a real seat in a real car.
We had a lot of fun in that vehicle until the state started messin' with our lives. New law came out stating that all children under 8 had to be in a booster seat unless they were, like, six feet tall and 185 pounds. You know, stuff that would be impossible to have really happen before the kid is 8 unless he's doping steroids or something. The back rear-facing seats you specifically can NOT put baby seats in or use booster seats with. So the car became USELESS to us unless we pushed things and brought smaller children to sit in the front. It was way safer the way we were doing things before.
We bought our van right about then. Every now and then, though, if the van needed servicing we'd either have to drive illegally, do the "leave the kids at home, hurryhurryhurry and pray they're all there when you get back" thing or find someone to watch them (HA! Ok, that was good.)
And so it is with school as well. D tells me to QUIT telling people that my younger children don't go to school. Just say they're homeschooled and show the record books and portfolios and have your kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance right there and ... Ok, mildly exaggerating. But you know what? It's none, none, NONE of your business if my children go to school or not.
My middle children don't go to school.
I was asking our eye doctor where I could find some low-cost eye screenings for Elf and Emperor next year. I'm thinking Elf will be nine and it would be nice to just get a little "can you read this line?" kind of screening to make sure he's seeing well. It isn't like he'd be having trouble reading the blackboard, so I just want to cover all the bases there.
Ah, he tells me, the school should have told you all about this. You're REQUIRED to get a screening from a LICENCED opthamologist, don't you know?
No, I didn't. That was nice of our lawmakers to do. Didn't cost them a penny, either, and only think how that would help the economy in employing those starving opthamologists and makers of nerdy kid glasses. But you see, I didn't know this information because
My kids don't go to school.
OH! They're homeschooled?
And I'm tempted to say, no, they're not educated at all but are being raised by wild wolves in my back yard. Good enough for Romulus and Remus. Ok, but I don't. He's a nice guy and I tell him yes, they're homeschooled.
I've been reading in the news about parents who are taken to court and charged with murder and neglect for not doing exactly what the doctors want with their children. I think it's a very slippery slope there. SURE, wouldn't it be nice if all moms and dads had common sense and we all agreed on when "prayer" is the answer and when medicine is the only way to go?
But we don't all agree. So I think we should butt out of people's lives so long as they're not endangering anyone else. And I don't mean their kids; I mean OTHER people's kids.
Once we get into letting the doctors make all our parenting decisions, we can be very certain that children will receive lots of expensive treatment they don't need, and in the cases of terminal illness, will miss out on their last few moments undisturbed at home. They'll just have extreme measures taken in some hospital bed instead of spending time with their families outside or cuddled on the living room couch. Costly, expensive things that might or might not prolong life.
HEY, you say, but what about the children who die who could have been saved with a simple antibiotic or blah blah blah?
Well, you have me. So, we should just let doctors make the final decision always, right? Or maybe I should get the right to say that YOUR kid can't skateboard because of the zillion head injuries caused by skateboarding each year? It's only for your child's good, and if we can save *just one life* through good legislation, we'll all go away knowing good has been done here.
So, no skating. No smoking near your kid. Your children must have eye and ear exams yearly with super-specialists who cost about $100 an hour (and by the way... an hour is now 5 minutes long... but only when the doctor is in the room), and you must visit the dentist twice a year and your kids *better* remember to floss and they can't be overweight. Or else. But that listening to obscene lyrics and dressing your infant like a street-crawler? That's ok.
I think we intertwine "concern" and the "law" too deeply.