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Last week was a bad sinus week (pressure to the point where I was waiting for my eyes to pop out) and we were running low on groceries. Himself got off work early Saturday night, so we had time to run out to Sam's Club and Wal-Mart on Sunday afternoon.

In Goldsboro, Wal-Mart is a hopping place on weekends and it's pretty crowded compared to the off hours in which we usually go out for groceries. I did my best to ignore the density (I do _not_ like crowds) as we wound up behind a slow-moving woman wrangling a cart and four kids as we headed toward housewares.

Two of the kids were being awfully quiet for being about 5-6 years old. It didn't set off any flags in my head -- they were dressed as if they'd come from church, so maybe they were just well behaved? -- until one of them spun around with something in his hand and BAM! I couldn't see.

Turns out the woman gave the kids laser pointers to play with. It doesn't strike me as a particularly bright thing to do as a general principle, but DO NOT GIVE LASER POINTERS TO YOUR CHILDREN TO PLAY WITH IN A BUSY STORE!

I think this counts as another reason why I think people should have to meet licensing standards to have children. Incidentally, most schools consider laser pointers to be contraband.

Comments

( 30 comments )
lavenderluna
Mar. 3rd, 2003 04:35 pm (UTC)
I have a laser pointer and maybe it isn't as strong as the one that was used on you, but what was the damage done, that brought upon this outrage of Laser Pointers?

I'm just wondering?

And as for Licenses...That's just sad...

enough said...
oddharmonic
Mar. 3rd, 2003 06:40 pm (UTC)
I'm not against laser pointers, I'm against people giving them to their children to play with in crowded stores and other public places.

I couldn't see out of either eye for several minutes and was unable to see fully out of my right eye for nearly an hour. If I hadn't been out with someone else able to drive, I would have had to subject everyone in that store to my toddler fussing because I do not feel safe driving when I cannot see.

I don't think it's sad to consider the ramifications of parent licensing. It might significantly cut down on the numbers of children born with fetal alcohol syndrome, addicted to drugs, or with problems that could have been prevented if the mother had gotten prenatal medical care or avoided unhealthy lifestyle choices.
auntiesiannan
Mar. 4th, 2003 06:52 pm (UTC)
Shine it in your eye and then get back to us, ok?
(no subject) - lavenderluna - Mar. 5th, 2003 08:39 am (UTC) - Expand
Just my 2 cents on the Parenting Issues - lavenderluna - Mar. 5th, 2003 09:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oddharmonic - Mar. 5th, 2003 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
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oddharmonic
Mar. 3rd, 2003 06:38 pm (UTC)
There are two theaters in this town (not counting the base theater) and both have signs prominently posted at the ticket window that say NO LASER POINTERS IN THEATER. Apparently Wal-Mart hasn't had enough complaints to post a similar sign, but they do have one reminding patrons to put out their cigarettes before going into the store.

It's great fun to have pets chase a laser pointer's beam! My sister used to have a rat terrier that would do that. It amused me for hours to watch the dog bark and chase the light, but we cut back on it after my brother got the dog to run into a door. (The dog wasn't very bright, but my brother knew better.)

I'm generally annoyed with the lack of manners among children lately. I wasn't raised addressing adults as ma'am or sir, but I did get the gamut with please and thank you, writing thank you notes, and behaving in public. We do the same with Laurel and I'm surprised every time here when someone tells us we have a very well-behaved child because she says thank you or we take her outside when she yells in a store, restaurant, etc.. She's also encouraged to address adults with Miss/Mr. or other title, so when our friend Ken (who's always told us it's fine for her to call him just by his first name) visited the other day, she looked at him and asked, "Uncle?".

Robert and I both yelled in surprise after I got the laser beam in my eye, but mine was out of shock (I initially thought my glasses had vanished off my face because I couldn't see -- without them I'm extremely nearsighted) and his was because I couldn't see him and accidentally dogged his heels with the cart. He started after them to tell them not to point the laser pointers at people, but they sped up and disappeared, so he came back and navigated me to the pharmacy area so I could sit down until I could see a bit more.
clemidia
Mar. 3rd, 2003 05:14 pm (UTC)
I just got a lecture last week by a British liberal for suggesting that very thing on LJ. I think my flippant comment was along the lines of: They require licenses for driving, owning a dog and throwing block parties--among less important things, so why the hell don't they for having kids?!

Of course, I was only 1/8 kidding.

Fucking breeders...
oddharmonic
Mar. 3rd, 2003 06:16 pm (UTC)
Go figure, I get told I'm a bleeding-heart liberal all the time.

I'm fervently in favor of licensing to become a parent. I've had enough experience with children born with problems -- fetal alcohol syndrome, born addicted to illegal drugs, born to parents who lack parenting skills or other skills that enable abuse -- that could be all but eradicated if people had to meet standards before getting pregnant that I think it's a great idea.

Usually when I voice that I get accused of being anti-children or not having any children myself, but I've got the documentation to back up my childbearing status. To me, requiring parenting licenses isn't against children -- it's looking out for their welfare.

Today's episode of NPR's All Things Considered had a feature on a family court program in Florida that helped parents whose children were taken away from them by offering parenting skills courses, education and employment help, etc.. Thousands of families (not all low-income or -education, but disproportionately lower class) nationwide could benefit from programs free to them that would help them be better parents, but sometimes I think it's a matter of greater exposure for a lot of those programs; here in NC the Smart Start Initiative offers all sorts of help to low-income families.

The Family Service Center on our base offers courses on parenting, finances, and other life skills -- free with a valid military ID. I have to find when their next parenting courses are because I've only taken their age-specific ones through the toddler years.
sorchar
Mar. 3rd, 2003 07:31 pm (UTC)
Personally, I think being in favor of parental licensing counts firmly as being PRO-children. It's not doing kids a favor to let them run wild like little banshees.
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(no subject) - oddharmonic - Mar. 5th, 2003 03:08 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - sorchar - Mar. 5th, 2003 07:00 am (UTC) - Expand
clemidia
Mar. 3rd, 2003 11:27 pm (UTC)
Wow, you've really researched this!

I totally agree with the growing up background--mine was very similar. In fact, I was more afraid of my dad's discipline or disapproval than that of any other adult or authority figure because he was so aware of the right way to do things. And, as an adult I have NEVER let kids get away with that kind of thing.

Did you see my post or recent comment about the shit-ass kid in the adjacent dining room at Olive Garden at 10 PM on a recent Sunday nite? The kid was old enough to know better--about 4 or 5--but her parents and older siblings were DEFINITELY old enough to know better.

This kid proceeded to ruin every other diner's dinner due to her non-stop screaming for over an hour before her paunchy dad and cellulite-ass mother got their lazy asses up and finally meandered out. We kept getting up and peering over the plants and dividers to their table and glaring hatefully at them. I complained to the waiter innumerable times and here were my suggestions (in addition to my standard "Management needs to be more concerned with the paying disgruntled patrons, not the rude assholes of the restaurant who are allowed to disturb everyone else!"):

"Bring me a rubber and I'll throw it at the father and tell him, 'Next time--use THIS!!'"

When a waitress offered us free ballons for our table I told her, "Bring me a condom and I'll blow it up and hand it to the family whose kid needed to have never been born!"

When the fam left, I stood up and led an ovation of applause and hoots at their departure. The mother was very pissed, then returned and fake-smiled, waving tauntingly at us through the window. I flipped her off with both hands and called her a fucking whore--until my family had to push me back into my seat. Guess I gave the wait staff a scare, too.

But, hell--she just pushed my buttons, the dumb c***.
(no subject) - oddharmonic - Mar. 5th, 2003 01:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clemidia - Mar. 11th, 2003 12:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oddharmonic - Mar. 5th, 2003 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ex_dervish821 - Mar. 3rd, 2004 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
dangers - onyxhealer - Mar. 4th, 2003 10:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: dangers - maelwaedd - Mar. 4th, 2003 10:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: dangers - oddharmonic - Mar. 5th, 2003 02:04 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: dangers - oddharmonic - Mar. 5th, 2003 12:59 am (UTC) - Expand
kytyn_
Mar. 3rd, 2003 08:16 pm (UTC)
I totally agree on the licensing. However, I know in reality it would never happen. All the "who decides" questions and other sci-fi horror stories would prevent that.
HOWEVER, there should be mandatory, realistic classes on health & child rearing in all schools and all parents-to-be or new parents should be required to go through parenting classes. If you don't take the class you would be fined until you do take it.
Just because someone has genitals doesn't mean they're mentally or socially equipped to raise a child.
onyxhealer
Mar. 4th, 2003 10:52 am (UTC)
good idea
That is actually a very good idea for a compromise position. I like it. However, if the classes are required by law they should be free or at least on a sliding scale. Otherwise, poor people are put in a pretty compromising position... more so than they already are, at any rate.
oddharmonic
Mar. 5th, 2003 02:12 am (UTC)
*nods* See my above comment on community accountability to help children. I should have said that instead of licensing. (I should also work on developing my thoughts better before posting them, but that's a constant struggle for me.)

I heartily endorse mandatory parenting classes. While stories about people first learning how to diaper their children are funny, I'd rather hear about people being able to solve problems by using ideas they learned from parenting classes or well-modeled parenting skills they've observed. My latest example is that of my parents' modeling of skills leading me to immediately rush my daughter into the shower for an eye wash after she got cough syrup in her eyes while trying to fight taking it. If I hadn't had that history of skills my parents modeled, it would have taken much longer to occur to me to do that and I don't know what that might have done to her eyes.
phoena
Mar. 3rd, 2003 09:53 pm (UTC)
I have laser pointers for use with the cats, because they love to chase the little read dot on the floor. And if they look at me I scream, "Don't look at the light!!!" I'm *so* afraid of blinding them! LOL

You know I'm in total favor of licensing!! Some people just have NO common sense.
oddharmonic
Mar. 5th, 2003 02:57 am (UTC)
My baby sister's (not very bright) dog used to look at it all the time... of course, this is the same dog my brother got to run into the door at a good speed running after the red dot.

I've decided that common sense is like soy milk -- underappreciated yet handy to have.
lil_sass
Mar. 3rd, 2004 08:05 pm (UTC)
When my husband adopted my son, a social worker had to come to the house and meet with him to see if he was competent to be Chaz's father. He went through some scrutiny but I always thought it was interesting because his sperm donor didn't have to 'qualify' or be asked a trillion questions about HIS character or history.
( 30 comments )

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