Wednesday, December 6, 2006

the irresponsible woman

I always had a strained relationship with my ex mother-in-law. I never approved of the way she did things, lots of things. Does it surprise you to learn that I tend to be overly judgmental and “always right?” I was horrified when she wanted to give my little baby chocolate. Why would I give my baby chocolate or sweets of any kind? My mother never gave me sugar for my first two years. It was my grandparents that introduced me. Is that the grandparents’ job? I’ve been fighting a lifelong addiction to sugar. I’m finally overcoming that aching yen for all things sweet. What if I’d never had sugar my entire childhood? But I hold that my mother’s basis of nutrition for my first two years is responsible for the healthy body shape I’ve get even through two pregnancies.

It wasn’t so much that I was trying to protect Audrey from my candy obsession, more that I valued nutrition and wanted to make sure that every bite my baby took aided her physical and mental development to the fullest extent. Chocolate, sugar – not exactly making that list – I was surprised that she even suggested them. When I balked at the idea, she noted that there was a picture of Audrey’s face covered in chocolate sauce. No, no of course not. It was spinach I told her. Spinach, not chocolate.

That was the nature of our interaction. She would want something that went completely against my idea of good parenting and seemingly resent me for disagreeing. Did I think she was a good mother? I’m sure she was. A nutritionist? No. Her children all grew up obese, not mean-spirited, just a scientific fact. Do I think she has a good idea of what children should eat? Not at all. She gives Audrey bad food and drink because I’m not there to stop her, and that’s the price I have to pay. It saddens me – people who think it is kind to let children eat whatever they want, however much they want. It is better to teach your child proper nutrition and help them learn limits.

Nutrition is one thing. This was another. When Audrey was two, she horrified me by driving her only grandchild around without a car seat. In my mind, that’s playing Russian roulette with a life that is not hers with which to gamble. She got herself in a serious car accident reaching for a cell phone. What if Audrey had been in the car that day without her car seat?

Okay, now I’ve just been ranting. I guess my hatred of her spawned the day I got that paper and it showed that Sam got the $5,000 lawyer money from her. I could just imagine her gleefully writing him a check with the hopes that her evil safety and nutrition minded ex daughter in law would soon be a distant memory. Ugh.

So when Audrey told me last night while we were at the gas station that her granny let her go into a gas station alone to look at the candy while she stayed with the car putting gas in, my blood curdled. She’s still playing roulette with my daughter’s safety, my daughter’s life. It only takes a moment for something to happen. A moment. All I could think about was the little girl whose mother let go to the grocery store bathroom alone only to be followed in by a miscreant who molested her. It only takes a moment. It doesn’t matter at all that nothing happened to Audrey while she was alone in the convenience store, what matters is that something could have happened and has happened to other little girls. Why take preventable, irresponsible risks? A five year old does not belong in a convenience store by herself under any circumstances.

I’m not overprotective by any means. I’m not. But there are certain basic safety precautions every individual ought hold to when entrusted with the life of a child. Am I being unreasonable? Maybe it's dangerous for me to have a blog - it's just too tempting to rant about the dark side.