Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Aqua Dotty--UPDATE

I know I'm way behind commenting on this story, but better late than never, I suppose.

Re: the recall of Aqua Dots toys due to the fact that they convert into the date rape drug GBH when metabolized, creating serious illness, coma, etc in children who ingest them.

Am I the biggest, most judgmental jerk on the planet that when I read this story my first thought was, "What kind of total non-supervision is going on in your house if your kid has time to eat TWO DOZEN of these beads?! And if the toy is for kids 4+ why is your two year old eating them? For that matter, why is your 10 year old?!"

My second thought, in my defense, was, "That is an outrage that such a toy is on the market." But my first was, in all honesty, "I'd have to be all kinds of not-paying-attention for my two year old kid to eat more than twenty beads of an older kid's toy." Accidents happen, I know. Especially with little kids. And toys should NOT be made with dangerous chemical compounds or lead. I get it. But there has to be some kind of middle ground, where toy companies make sure toys are reasonably safe--and you make sure your kids don't eat them.


I'm attaching this addendum to this post because it's been on my mind all night. I have been pondering the dichotomy in that I immediately think parents whose kids eat beads must be negligent and therefore are to be scoffed at regardless of their kid's health scare, but that I simultaneously can't watch shows in which children come to harm, even for the sake of fictional drama or fundraising. Case in point: St. Jude's Hospital. They had a fundraising show on last week and I almost cried watching these parents with their desperately ill children; it was almost too much to bear. All I could do was think about my own kid and thank God out loud for her good health. I mean, chemotherapy and meds were hell for me, a grown woman. How toddlers go through it--and how their parents live through watching it--is something I pray will always be a mystery to me. And yet it didn't make me grab my credit card to call and donate. It made me need to change the channel as soon as possible, almost as if watching it is somehow inviting it. To be honest, writing this addendum even felt scary.

Which, if I really drill down to my attitude toward the aqua bead kids, is probably of a piece with that. That if I can chalk that kind of weird situation up to bad parenting and bad toy manufacturing then I'm safe because I'm a good parent and I don't buy toys like that anyway. That if I can find some way to distance myself from those parents and their unwell kids, I can pretend it's something that happens out there to others and not to me here with mine.

Perhaps that is a universal human reaction to someone else's pain. When I first announced the need for a transplant, some friends stopped calling, albeit awkwardly. After my Dad died, some people said and did weird things. Both I attribute to the discomfort of seeing the mortality in others holding up a mirror to your own. I don't judge them, because I understand that need to push away what you cannot bring yourself to embrace, even grudgingly--like death--as a fact of life.

And so I confess that urge in myself. Not about my own mortality; that I got square with long ago and I'm a better person for it. But about anything remotely touching on my child's health and well-being; I simply have to push it away and pretend it's not there.

Which often makes me sound like an a%%hole when discussing seemingly non-emotional topics.

Such as aqua dots.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Before your update, my comment was going to be: "Spoken like a mother with only 1 child."

So, take that as you will. :)