Umbrellas, belts and other daily dangers

I just love the ongoing dialogue at FreeRangeKids and regularly pop in to laugh my backside off over the latest crazy story about adults who are too terrified to let kids be kids or develop some independence. Earlier this month the topic of the day was umbrellas and how one guest blogger’s school does not allow children to bring umbrellas to school – in case someone gets an eye poked. Children and umbrellas are a bit of a risky combination, but really?

Part of me is still having trouble believing this story isn’t apocryphal, and yet sadly it does ring true. I remember shopping for a belt for my older son a number of years ago and was told by one shop assistant that they didn’t carry belts because they were too dangerous. I had to stop and think about that one, and then I remembered reading in the newspaper that some child once hanged themselves with a belt (in fact, probably more than one depressed child has thought of or acted on this idea). So, some silly stores won’t carry children’s belts and kids need to let their trousers fall down around their ankles…

How do we get the wrong end of the stick so easily? It’s both comical and bang-your-head-against-the-wall-stupid at the same time.

Our fear is a great motivator, of course, and inspires us to invent ever more interesting things. Shorts and trousers with built-in waist cinchers are quite common in some children’s retailers nowadays (The Gap and the Children’s Place spring to mind), but of course many other retailers have done nothing about this sad state of affairs. Which means my younger son, who is currently going through a phase where a belt is really needed, has two piles of trousers: one with built-in waist cinching and one without (bought when he owned a belt, a rare find). These days I regularly pull out a pair of the latter type and then chuck them to one side, remembering that I don’t currently have a belt for them. Or I let him wander around all day hiking up his pants (which is quite cute, actually).

Come to think of it, we’re also chronically short of umbrellas at our house – perhaps someone is conspiring to keep us safe?

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