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I’ll never forget how happy my next door neighbor was when, in fourth
grade, he came home from hanging out at a friend’s house, reporting that they
had found porn in the parents’ bedroom closet. He was positively giddy.
Won-the-lottery giddy. The kind of unbridled glee my 8-month-old daughter
typically reserves for cereal puffs, my boobs or the moment when she catches
both feet in Happy Baby pose. My neighbor’s parents weren’t thrilled, obviously,
but they had other things to worry about, like paying for his Michael
Jackson-themed Bar Mitzvah and chaperoning all of us at the upcoming NKOTB
Back in the '80s, playdates were simple. We were basically pushed out the
front door, told to walk or bike to our friend’s house (sometimes up to a mile
away) and expected to be back before it was dark enough outside for the street
lights to switch on. Maybe we got a cursory hit of bug spray or were given a
dollar in case the ice cream man drove by. All our parents really cared about
was that an adult would be present and, I suppose, that that adult wasn’t currently
being profiled on "America's Most Wanted."
It’s becoming more and more evident that I’ll soon need to start asking a litany of personal questions before sending her on anything unsupervised.
sending your kid to a friend’s house is like throwing them into the "Hunger Games." And once they make it
there, potential dangers lurk in every corner: Cashews in pantries. Xanax in
medicine cabinets. Guns in basements. Rescue pit bulls in the backyard.
our 3-year-old daughter’s sole playdate concern is “Do they have
Lego people?” it’s becoming more and
more evident that I’ll soon need to start asking a litany of personal, and
likely quite uncomfortable, questions
before sending her on anything unsupervised. True, that’s still a few years
away, but recent headlines have me jittery already. It’s got me thinking … how much
interrogating will I need to do? For instance…
What our moms asked: “Would you mind making them PB & Js for dinner?”
What today’s moms need to ask: “Does your child have any food allergies I should
know about? Wheat? Dairy? Peanut? Tree nut? Soy? Egg? Shellfish?”
What our moms asked: “Do any of your kids have chicken pox?” (This was actually asked in a
hopeful tone, as the goal was to expose us as early as possible. I just called
my mom to ask her about this and she told me not only would they throw pox parties, but the parents would have us all share popsicles with the infected
What today’s moms need to ask: “Do any of your kids have the measles or whooping cough?”
What our moms asked: “Jennifer loves art projects … maybe the kids can do some bedazzling or
draw with glitter pens?”
What today’s moms need to ask: “Jennifer is allergic to bee stings … do you know how
to use an EpiPen?”
What our moms asked: “Can you send her home after 'Growing Pains'?”
What today’s moms need to ask: “Do you have a V-chip on your TV? Do you allow the
kids to use the computer unmonitored? Also, please try to limit their texting
and keep them off Snapchat.”