Have we forgotten “stranger danger”?

I’m sure you’re all familiar with those stick people family stickers that people put on the back of their cars. You know the ones – they have a mom, dad, 3 smiling kids and sometimes a pet. Sometimes there’s even a last name attached. This lets everyone know that this car belongs to the “Garcia Family”.

Although these stickers annoy me for some reason (I’m not exactly sure why), the ones that actually concern me are the ones that include first names. Why? Because of stranger danger.

I work with the public so I think I have at least a basic understanding of how many weirdos are out there. And I know I sure as heck wouldn’t advertise my children’s names to them if I could help it.

Every time I see those little names, I’m reminded of that episode of “Dexter” where the villain successfully kidnaps a boy simply because he got the boy’s name from the little stick figure family on the family car. It’s like parents are so excited to advertise they have a family that they forget basic safety. It’s ridiculous and stupid.

So consider this your PSA about modern stranger danger. Don’t advertise your kids names or they could be used by icky people who want to do them harm.

Family Fitness

Awhile back I noticed a problem with my sister’s kids.  All they do when I’m there is watch TV.  Then I saw them in their underwear and noticed rolls of fat.  He’s 9 and she’s 6 (soon to be 7).  Much too young to have this kind of a problem.

Today I was there to watch them and mom while my sister and brother-in-law went out for an early Valentine’s day.  The kids were playing with the Wii and becoming winded after 5 minutes (literally) of swinging the Wii-mote like a sword.  Then they turned off the game because they were “too tired” to play any more.

Although I’m not the best model for fitness, I know that I need to do something.  I can’t let these kids get type II diabetes and all of those other problems that come with obesity.  I also know that my sister would be deeply offended if I were to bring it up with her.  So, today they “helped” me work out.  We picked out cans of food that we could use as weights.  We did jumping jacks, hops, and jogging in place.  We did upper body work.  We kicked and stretched.  Then we played hide and go seek.  We raced to see who could get their chores done fastest – my nephew had to put away his legos, my niece had to put away the silverware and bring the dirty dishes out to the kitchen and I had to make lunch.  When we were done we took turns showing off our newly made muscles.  They said they had fun with it all so I know it’s not that they don’t want to get up and move…

I think I’ll start taking them to the park or for a hike every other week.  Unfortunately, my schedule doesn’t allow me much more free time than that.  DH said that he’d teach them how to kick and throw punches too.  And, when they’re with me, I’ll make sure they have healthier meals.  That’s all I can really do, right?

Home Again

I ended up staying home again today.  Stomach issues that don’t let you be too far from a bathroom aren’t fun.  So I laid on the couch and watched TV all day.

Since I’m all caught up on Biggest Loser, I watched other things.  MTV has a show called “I Used to be Fat” about teens that are graduating from high school and want to use their summer to lose weight and get in shape.  They’re furnished with a personal trainer and a diet plan to accomplish this goal.  It was entertaining, but MTV’s online video playback sucks.  I could only watch 3 episodes and the others were “temporarily unavailable.”

With that disappointment, I went on to another show called “Intervention.”  That one involves alcohol and drug addicts who think they’re doing a documentary about addicts only to find that their families are staging interventions.  Sometimes the interventions work, sometimes they don’t.  Watching their addictions is super sad though.

Then I found a show called “Kicked Out.”  It’s based on the idea that lots of adults are still living at home, but not because they’ve experienced hard times.  It’s because they’re slackers.  Their parents are sick of the mooching, so they kick the slacker out for 2 weeks while the slacker learns to live on their own.  This one was entertaining, but annoying at the same time.  I was amazed at how many of the parents were complete enablers who placed no limitations on their children or required them to meet minimum expectations for staying at home.

DH and I were talking about this issue of spoiled children.  When we were just out of high school there were minimum requirements to be met for our parents to allow us to stay at home.  My mom’s requirements were that I go to school full time or work full time and pay my own bills.  DH’s parents had similar requirements. So my question is: why haven’t the parents in this show even attempted something similar with their children?

I’m not saying our parents were perfect by any means, or that we moved out very quickly (I think we were 27 when we finally flew the coop) but at least we had expectations to meet.  Those expectations got us into the mode of taking care of ourselves.  Why is it so hard for those other parents to do something similar with their kids?

Ugh.  I can feel this starting to be a rant about kids and parents and what I see at the library every day.  But I’ll stop here by saying that everyone needs limits and expectations to meet.  Especially people that are too inexperienced to set them for themselves.


DH and I have been together for 15 years.  After hearing that, most people are surprised to learn that we don’t have kids… and we’re not planning on having them any time soon.  I always want to have a snappy comeback to that inevitable question (“but why?”).  Unfortunately I’m much too polite to be so rude.  I usually respond with something lame like “It’s a personal decision.”

Most adults will stop asking once they’ve heard that response.  Or, if they’re closer to us they have had the specific reasons for a child-free life enumerated.  My 6yo niece, on the other hand doesn’t quite get it.

She’s a bit upset with us for not having kids right away.  As she put it “I don’t wanna be the baby any more!”  Oh well.  I think she relaxed a little when I said that we don’t want to have kids right away because we want to be able to spend lots of time with her and her brother.

I love my monkey.  She’s cute.

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