Come, Mommy

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My Son, the Safety Officer

Back in my pre-grad school days, I spent a few years working as a research chemist for a big pharmaceutical company. It was a generally great experience, and it gave me a leg up in grad school. I learned how to work as a chemist, how to think as a chemist, and how to prepare for emergencies like a chemist. This latter bit of my education fell under the auspices of the Corporate Safety Department, who oversaw things like like fire training, safety equipment testing, and lab safety supervision. Most of these folks had a theoretical background in lab safety, but had never worked in a lab in person. There was an inherent friction between experienced chemists who took safety quite seriously and knew a plain old stupid safety regulation on sight, and the "suits", who apparently held all rules to be sacrosanct. An inspection from CSD often elicited eye-rolling from the chemists who had just been informed that their lab failed a safety inspection because some cabinet drawers had been left ajar by a centimeter or so.

I hadn't thought of these safety guys in years until a couple of weeks ago, when my cautious-by-nature son appointed himself as our neighborhood safety patrol. To wit:

Scene 1:

Zeph and I were playing in the front yard. Some kids rode by on bikes, bare-headed..

Zeph: "Waaaahhhhh! Those kids! They are riding bikes!"

Me: "Um, they are, why are you upset?

Zeph: "Waaahhhhh! They are supposed to have helmets on!!! Nnnnooooo!"

I managed to calm him down after the kids rode by, only to have group of skateboarders zoom by on the sidewalk....

Zeph: "Waaahhhh! Those kids are skating on boards!"

Me: "Yup, and look, they have their helmets on. That's good."

Zeph: "Nnnoooo! They need to have kneepads on also! Waaaahhhhh!"

Scene 2:

Driving around town today, we were passed by a convertible with the top down...

Zeph: "An open convertible! Wow! No! No!"

Me: "That's a nice car. Why are you worried?"

Zeph: "The driver doesn't have a helmet on!"

Me: "People don't usually wear helmets in cars..."

Zeph: "The car is OPEN!!! The driver could klonk his head! Nnnooo!"

Scene 3:

Zeph was talking to Gran-Gran on the phone...

Gran-Gran: "Pop-Pop and I went swimming in our pool today."

Zeph (very seriously): "You need to have sunscreen on when you swim."

Gran-Gran: "Oh, I had my sunscreen on."

Zeph: "Pop-Pop needs to put some on your back..."

Yup. I can see it now. My son, the famous Corporate Safety Vice-President. I'm not sure what to think.


  • Those serious telephone conversations with my grandson are the highlight of my day. I'll remember to have Pop-Pop put some sunscreen on my back next time!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, August 09, 2006 6:46:00 AM  

  • C has similar issues. he is the child yelling at the other kids at the playground for going up the slide instead of the stairs.

    A, not so much.

    It will serve him well, and you ;-0

    By Blogger chichimama, at Wednesday, August 09, 2006 1:21:00 PM  

  • That is hysterical. My kids are the same way. Occasionally I don't have sunscreen or a helmet, booster seat, and it is a huge issue. I often remind myself that we grew up without helmets, sunscreen, seatbelts,car seat and many other things. For the most part we were OK. I think flexability is a valuable trait to instill in children. Saying that...I still am a Nazi when it comes to sunscreen.

    By Blogger Wendy A, at Friday, August 11, 2006 7:04:00 AM  

  • He's very observant! That's adorable.

    By Blogger Trish, at Saturday, August 12, 2006 12:36:00 AM  

  • My almost 9 yo daughter is exactly the same way. Exactly. She was horrified (and I mean horrified) when she found out my parents -- her beloved grandparents -- used to smoke. Telling her they haven't smoked for 21 years did nothing assuage her dismay, either.

    By Blogger Dana, at Monday, August 14, 2006 9:07:00 PM  

  • yep, that is so funny.. i am always telling my thrill-seeking S8 that he's only gonna get *one* head: do ya think zeph would mind giving him the lecture???

    By Blogger kate5kiwis, at Tuesday, August 15, 2006 2:47:00 AM  

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