First off: I did not really have any actual, medically defined heart attacks, so you can all relax. Heart health is no laughing matter, but I had to get you to read this post somehow, didn’t I? And I DID suffer many, MANY instances of panic and terror this week, thanks to my wild children and a recent stint of unseasonably warm weather. Let me count the ways:
Bikes, Part 1. My 6yo learned to ride a bike without training wheels in a single day. This is unfortunate, because not experiencing the wobbly, might-fall-at-any-moment healthy fear has instilled him with a false sense of security. He whips up and down our street, tearing around corners and skidding to a stop in a spray of gravel like he’s competing in the X Games.
Yesterday he wiped out dramatically – falling onto the grass and narrowly missing someone’s shiny new BMW, thank God – but instead of being shaken he sprung up and shouted, “Woo hoo! I’ve got it all under control, Mom!” Clearly.
Bikes, Part 2. There are older kids in our neighborhood who don’t wear helmets while riding their bikes. This is causing major drama for us. But why do *I* have to wear a helmet, Mom? HE doesn’t have to wear one. It’s too hot, it’s too itchy, it’s making me tip over! Nice try, dude. My kid, my rules. I will duct-tape that helmet to his head if I have to.
Bikes, Part 3. My 4yo son sees the big kids zipping around on their bikes and suddenly can’t be bothered with his scooter. It’s not fast enough and/or dangerous enough, apparently. The top-of-the-line tricycle sits rusting on the porch. He has a need for speed so bad that if any kid leaves their bike unattended for a second, he will hop on it and be off in flash before you can say “Buckle that helmet!”
Cars, Part 1. I used to think we lived on a quiet street. But at 5pm on a weekday it’s like the Grand Prix around here, with all the neighbors coming home from work and the people driving by the houses for sale and the delivery trucks and the mailman. “Car coming, guys! Everyone off the street! Another car! FedEx truck! UPS! Car!”
Cars, Part 2. Then there are the parked cars. Not only are they crash-magnets for new bikers, but my kids have taken to climbing ON TOP of our car when I’m distracted, like when I’m getting an estimate from the fence guy. “So how many feet do we need in the back – Get OFF the car, you guys! – and is the wood pressure-treated or – I SAID GET DOWN! – would we have to seal it or – IF YOU DON’T GET DOWN THIS MINUTE YOU’RE GOING INSIDE FOR THE REST OF THE DAY!!” He could have quoted me a price 10x higher than it should be and gotten away with it because I was too distracted by the preschooler bashing the roof of our car with a plastic golf club.
Doors that Lock. Let’s say someone gets sent inside for a time-out for hitting the car with a golf club. And let’s say he’s now old enough to work the locks. No good can come of this. He can either lock himself IN and you OUT, or unlock the door and go running down the street while you’re looking for your flip-flops.
Loss of Productivity. Because I’m outside keeping my kids alive, I am not inside doing anything useful – like, say, returning phone calls, filling out summer camp forms, or starting dinner. That’s another reason for the fence – if the hooligans are safely enclosed in the yard instead of playing in traffic, maybe I could actually unload the dishwasher while they’re outside. I should’ve asked the fence guy if the gate comes with a kid-proof lock.
So are the rest of you enjoying spring where YOU are?