March 2007

smelling the flowers

I like how you can see his little bald spot (in the above photo) where he’s rubbed all the hair off the back of his head…heehee!



I learned something very interesting today!

Last night, I was at home sticking little Easter decals on Jamie’s bedroom window. Suddenly, it occured to me that I needed to call the Fire Department at some point, and arrange to pick up one of those little shiny “TOT Finders” stickers that go in nursery windows. (For those of you who are not familiar with them, they exist so that in case of a fire, the rescue team knows which room is the baby’s and can rescue your little one first.)

TOT Finder

When I called the Carbondale Fire Department on my lunch hour today, I was told that they no longer have the sticker campaign because “people sometimes move and forget to take them down, and the new people leave it up when there’s no kid in that room,” which is “misleading to a fireman.” They put me in touch with the City of Carbondale’s Fire Chief’s office, where I was given the exact same answer. 

This seemed like a kind of flimsy reason to stop a campaign that has saved thousands of little children over the years, so I decided to pursue it a bit further.

My co-worker, Joanie, is married to a Springfield firefighters’ lobbyist. I emailed her and asked her if she knew anywhere I might be able to find one of these stickers still, or at least if she knew of any other reason they stopped the campaign than what I’d been told.

She agreed that the excuse I’d been given was a silly one, and was curious herself, so she agreed to do some extra sleuth work for me. She made a few phone calls to the right people, and had the real answer in no time. What she found out, in the end, was really smart, and neither of us ever would have thought of it on our own.

It turns out, the whole country has shyed away from this practice during the last few years for one looming reason:

Sexual predators.

I guess now that I think about it, that does make it pretty easy for them, huh? But meanwhile, what do we do instead to let rescuers know where to find our kids in case of an emergency?

Joanie asked “her people” this question, and I guess they’re actually currently trying to come up with a solution to this problem, but nothing has presented itself yet. I wonder what can be done. I mean, theoretically, you could register with your local emergency response headquarters with some sort of directions that would pop up when the dispatcher looked up your address, like, “Northeast window–baby’s room,” or something, but what about all the little towns where no one is left behind at the station when something happens?

I’m stumped. But it’s something to think about. And meanwhile, if anyone reading this DOES have one of those old-school-type stickers in their kids’ windows, you might want to consider taking them out, unless you want to become a beacon for perverts and baby-snatchers.

Just thought you might want to know.

****Author’s update: I have located a website online where you can purchase sets of these stickers (one to go on the interior door of your house, which may still be a good idea, and one that goes in the window, which we know is bad…) The address is: but they cost $9.99 per set!

I have also located one spot online where you can purchase the actual “TOT finder” sticker…it looks like now they, too, are encouraging using it on interior bedroom doors, so maybe that would be OK….The link for this is: but it costs $4.95 per set of two.

Guess you can’t protect your kids for free anymore!

Growing up, I had a childhood filled with instances when injustice, bad judgment, or generally stupid behavior presented itself. In each case, I knew I could count on my parents to speak out against the infraction in wanton disregard of their daughter’s embarrassment.

“Rock the boat,” was their mantra, and I spent years wondering why my parents always had to make us stick out, when all I wanted was to blend in.

Today, I officially eat crow. It is tough, it is bitter, and I get the feeling it’s going to be on the menu from now on.  I recently took Jamie to the mall to see the Easter Bunny. It seemed like a fun idea, and I had spent weeks eagerly anticipating the chance to dress him up in a little suit and necktie so I could zealously photograph a moment in his life he will never even remember.

Suffice to say, things did not go according to plan. Without delving into a much longer story than space allows, a misunderstanding occurred at the bunny kiosk. I instantly spoke up, and before I knew it, had quite an audience watching in interest as I argued heatedly with a mall employee – right there, in front of God, the Easter Bunny, and my own baby boy.

In retrospect, the mall employee was just a kid, barely sixteen if she was a day. This was probably her first job, and likely even her first day at that. I can’t really fault her for poor customer service skills, even if I do resent her temper around children. In the end, she probably just didn’t know any better.

I however, did. Admittedly, I did not think twice about telling her a thing or two at the time that the argument ensued. It wasn’t until much later that a terrible thought occurred to me: I had rocked the boat. And I had done it in front of my kid. I joke with myself that my baby boy has received his first lesson in civil protest. The truth is, however, that I am secretly relieved that he is much too young to have been aware of anything going on that day, other than that he was being held by some big, furry white thing that desperately needed some Febreeze and a Mentos.

I suppose it’s only natural that becoming a parent comes with a heightened sense of social responsibility. I’m surely not the first new parent to march into battle at the drop of a hat, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. Mostly, that’s because I have this horrible, sneaking suspicion that it’s not the last time it will happen. 

I realized this week that no matter what I do, the inevitable is bound to happen: Somewhere, someday, I am going to embarrass my child. And he’s going to wonder why he had to get stuck with me, instead of someone else’s parents who never rock the boat. And in some sick, twisted way, I’ll believe that I’m doing him a favor.

I suppose I need to apologize to my parents for all the grief I gave them when I was growing up. Maybe the boat does need to be rocked from time to time. And now, it appears my folks have passed that duty down to me.

In the meantime, I’ve got a favor to ask of them in return. I’m sort of hoping they won’t mind taking my son to see Santa Claus next December.

Better safe than sorry. 

Here’s Little Man showing some support for his favorite hometown team…





Logic dictates that the needs of the baby outweigh the needs of the few…

Here’s Jamie taking it easy in his sweet new black leather club chair at Grandma’s house…


…It’s good to be king.

Last night Jamie sounded like a coffee maker at the end of a brew cycle (lots of hissing and gurgling). I called the clinic first thing when I got to work this morning and told the doctor that Jamie is exactly the same now as he has been every single time I’ve brought him in for an appointment in the last six weeks. The doctor wanted to see him again anyway, and I told him I wasn’t bringing him in again but that if he wanted to keep him as a patient, he was more than welcome to do something ABOUT the sick child he’s seen a hundred times already and done nothing for. The doctor called in an antibiotic to the pharmacy. I can pick it up at lunch. Whew!!

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