**Disclaimer**This post has been a long time coming. It is possible that the grammar won't be correct, it will shift from first to third person a lot and some of the thoughts may offend anyone without a decent amount of common sense.
As I was sitting in class this morning, my phone started vibrating. An incoming call from the secretary at my son's school flashed on the home screen. Anytime the school calls during the day, at this point in his life, it can't be good. He's either sick or in trouble...both are equally bad, in their own way, especially if the situation requires a phone call to a parent who is at work and/or otherwise indisposed during the hours of 8-3:30.
So I leave a lively classroom discussion to answer my phone (which, by the way, I hate doing), assuming there is an important conversation waiting for me on the other end. I was wrong. It was a recorded message. The message stated that the school was receiving several phone calls from parents in the attendance area regarding the power outage that was occurring.
What?! Seriously!? Please tell me you're kidding.
You're telling me that there were enough parents calling the school to warrant a phone call to every phone number on file informing them of a power pole which was taken out by a driver, knocking out the power to the attendance area of the elementary school...and...that the power company was aware of and working on the problem!? Furthermore, the elementary school still had power and everything was ok.
The phone call wasn't a big deal to me. Yes, I left class to answer it expecting to make arrangements to retrieve an ailing boy...or possibly receive news that he'd done something so awful that the school was actually forced to call me. Side note: I am glad the school has the ability to call a large group of people at once, and I like that they use it to keep families abreast of the happenings at the school. What really bothered me--or at the very least made me scratch my head--was the fact that so many parents called to inquire about the power situation of the elementary school.
Who does that? Why does it matter if the school has power or not? It wasn't 100 degrees outside, it was daylight, teachers will adapt with or without power and the school has emergency lighting to rely on when necessary. Were parents concerned that without power, the air conditioning would turn off and their children would be hot? I'm stumped, stupefied and slightly concerned that enough people thought to call the school. Really?! Common sense and a little faith in the people who they trust their children with, eight hours a day for nearly half the calendar year goes a long way here. Every single one of the teachers and staff members would give their life to protect the children and parents are worried about a power outage?!
In other news, I am sick and tired of road construction. Every main artery leading from my house to the college is undergoing some sort of major repair that requires all except one lane to be shut down for an extended period of time. The lane closure wouldn't be a big deal if Nebraska drivers could figure out that merging traffic is similar to zipping pants. Each little tooth has an assigned place to enter as it is moved along and you must be careful in order to prevent a catastrophic injury. The cars are the teeth here, people. One car, then another. Even if the car merging waiting until the last possible minute to change lanes. Just because they didn't merge as soon as they saw the 'lane closed' sign doesn't mean they deserve to be outcast and banned for life. It happens. Stop being rude and just let them merge. I promise you will not be delayed in your travels, inconvenienced or harmed in any way. In fact, you will probably get the 'courtesy wave' from the merging driver and you might actually feel like you've done something nice for someone else. Win-win, if you ask me.
So I challenge you...let a driver merge today. If you're feeling especially generous, let two drivers merge.
A little car seat information for those of you with children under 12 years old.
Did you know that vehicle manufacturers model the seatbelt for an adult who is between 5'5 and 6'1? This means that even though the state law says your child doesn't need a booster seat to raise them up in the seat enough to allow that seatbelt to fit them properly, you are putting your child in danger by using the law to dictate what happens in your car.
Even if you've 'gone the distance' and forced your child to sit in a booster seat through second grade (common around here) then ditched it because your child felt like a baby sitting in a 'car seat', you're putting them at risk for serious injury and/or death every single time they get in your car. Or any car, for that matter...yes, that includes the carpool to school--even though it's only a mile to the school (most popular excuse in this neighborhood).
Humor me for just a moment. Take a guess at what your child weighs. Now, assume that as you're driving to school you're doing 15mph--which, by the way, you aren't. Typically you're doing 25-30 as you're rushing through the neighborhoods to deliver or retrieve your precious cargo. Anyways, your child's weight and 15mph. Now, multiply the numbers together. Yes you can use the calculator that comes with your computer.
Example: 80lbs x 15mph = 1200
This means that it will take 1200 pounds of force to restrain my 10 year old son if I am in a crash on the way to school, assuming that I'm only driving 15mph. Yes, over a thousand pounds of force will be thrust upon my child's body as he meets his seatbelt to stop his body from flying into the seat in front of him. His internal organs will meet his skeleton with that same amount of force. Just let that sink in. How much force is your child going to receive?
Now, for those of you whose child is under 4'9-5'0 tall...your child's seatbelt will meet the wrong parts of their body to properly restrain them without causing injury. Their seatbelt is resting over their abdomen and not their hips/tops of their thighs. The shoulder belt is either a) behind them, b) under their armpit or c) cutting across their neck/jaw area. When this belt locks up in a crash, as it is designed to do, that force will be thrust upon the soft organs in the abdomen and their neck/jaw line. Guess what? THIS WILL CAUSE SEVERE and TRAUMATIC INJURY. We're talking ruptured spleen and intestines from a 'quick drive up to the school'.
So, I ask you to think about this: is it worth it?
Is it worth saving your child from the social trauma of being labeled a baby for riding in a booster seat until they were structurally and developmentally ready to sit in the adult seatbelt without the added BOOST of a backless booster seat. Yes that's right...a booster seat isn't just called that because it sounded fancy. It is designed to BOOST a child to the appropriate height to safely ride in a lap/shoulder seatbelt. Seems silly when you think about the danger you're putting your child in every time they get in the car, doesn't it? You can purchase these seats for under $25, which is a fraction of the cost of a haircut, mani/pedi, or your Starbucks addiction. And it could save your child's life. Small price to pay, if you ask me.
Unsure if your child still needs to ride in a booster seat? Click here for a simple 5-step test that will help you make the safest decision. Still unsure? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I leave you with stuff to ponder. Apply as needed to your daily life.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
You catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar.
READ to your children. READ with your children.
If you have to ask, then yes, your butt does look big in those shorts.
Bra straps are not a fashion accessory.
If your child has to climb out of your car through the cargo area, don't use the car line!
If you have to get out of your car to let your child out, don't use the car line!
If you have more than two children exiting your vehicle, go to the last possible spot in the car line. Otherwise you're holding the whole line up while your children fall out like circus clowns!
This is a neighborhood school. Your child can walk/bike/scooter to school.
The exercise is good for them!
The school has 'gently' reminded parents that dogs are not allowed on school grounds.
This means all dogs, not just other dogs.
Stop bringing your dog when you pick up your child if you are getting out of the car!
Children aren't made of sugar.
They will not disintegrate when wet, nor will they caramelize when hot.
They can be outside during summer/winter.
If your child rings my doorbell more than once after I've explained that my child cannot play/has homework/chores, I reserve the right to ignore them the next time they come to the door.
Asking for help isn't the same as admitting defeat. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
Life is too short to be angry. Do something nice today--you might just make someone smile.