My kids love popcorn. It's one of the few snacks that they can all agree to eat without bickering (unless you count the arguments about who has more).
I'm not sure how much they eat, and how much gets thrown on the floor.
But they love it.
My house is fairly clean right now - if you don't count the laundry that just. never. ends.
Of course, while I was cleaning, I was also reading the news online, and then I took the time tonight to watch the Jerry Sandusky interview on Rock Center.
I thought about all of the kids that I heard about on the news, just tonight.
The 8 (or more) who were allegedly abused by Sandusky.
The 9 kids in Wichita whose mother was shot and killed by her husband just a few nights ago. Three of her children witnessed their mother's murder.
A 10 year old girl in Illinois who committed suicide because she was being bullied.
Five boys who were allegedly molested at a summer camp at The Citadel.
When does it end?
How do we protect our kids?
Short of raising them in a bubble and never allowing them out of our sight, how do we keep them safe?
What can we as parents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, adult friends, mentors - do to help our kids?
We think that our kids are safe - that nothing will happen to them. I mean really, those kind of things don't happen to people like us, do they?
The truth is - it can happen to anyone. It's gotten to the point that I worry about sending my kids anywhere. Anywhere. I occasionally will allow the girls to run to the store across the street to grab a movie from the Redbox or to get a dozen eggs or a gallon of milk - but I watch out the window the entire time until I see them coming back. I won't let them go alone - they have to go together. Realistically, where we live, they're probably safe. But you never know.
I've talked to the kids - especially the girls - about what to do if a situation comes up that scares them. They know to run and kick and scream and fight and bite and do anything that they have to do to get away from an attacker. I've drilled my address and phone number into all of their heads so that they can recite it at a moment's notice if needed.
But it's not enough. I know that it's not enough. I don't want them to be afraid to be kids. I want them to enjoy their childhood like I did. But I grew up in a different time and in a different place - a much more rural place where every house in the area had kids living in it, and everyone's parents watched out for all of the kids without even thinking about it. We didn't think twice about heading out of the house right after breakfast and being gone all day, because we would eat lunch at someone's house on a quick break from playing outside and then be back at our own houses before dinner. After dinner, everyone in the neighborhood gathered on our patio to shoot the breeze until long after the sun went down. It was an idyllic life back then.
I want that for my kids, but it's not going to happen in this day and age. Now, we have to warn our kids about sexual predators and kidnappers instead of snakes and poison ivy.
When did this happen? When did the world go to crap? And what can we do to stop it?