Friday, December 19, 2008
You likely have a bunch of things you are worried about this holiday season. The still-gloomy economy. Traveling with children. What to wear to the "festive ethnic chic attire requested" cocktail party. Unfortunately, I am here to tell you that you need to add one more concern to your list: Your toddler son harming his penis with a toilet seat.
According to this recent report, injuries by toilet seats are on the rise and--ready for it?--"[a]s Christmas approaches many families will be visiting relatives and friends and their recently toilet-trained toddlers will be keen to show how grown up they are by going to the toilet on their own...It is important that parents check out the toilet seats in advance, not to mention the ones they have in their own homes, and accompany their children if necessary."
The doctors who authored this report suggest tips to parents to prevent penis-injury-by-toilet-seat, including banning "heavier" toilet seats and "leaving the toilet up after use, even though it contradicts the social norm of putting it down." They earnestly tell the reader that: "We are concerned that the growing trend of heavy toilet seats poses a risk not only to [toddlers'] health, but to their confidence."
Um. Come on. Where do I even begin? First of all, I can't stop laughing over the fact that this article somehow makes the issue of toilet-seat issues a Christmas topic. Really? Beware of people posing as Santa, bad eggnogg, and particularly heavy toilet seats out to get your toddler sons?
But, more importantly, how far are we going to go in our never-ending pursuit to protect our children? The verbotin peanuts, the agonizing over PBS Sprout's "educational content," the horror and guilt over standard-issue scraped knees or bruised elbows. I think Indian moms are hard-wired to be overprotective and reports like this don't help matters at all. I'm reminded of an article my friend Anu sent around a while ago about a mom who--purposely--left her 9 year old at Bloomingdales, armed with a MetroCard and a subway map, believing it was time for him to learn to use the subway on his own. She was accused of everything from being a bad mother to being a criminal but she stood by her decision and said that "the problem with this everything-is-dangerous outlook is that over-protectiveness is a danger in and of itself."
It's true. I really believe it...and I really don't want to have to leave the toilet seats in my house up. I've just taught my husband to put them down.
(Thank you Meghana for alerting me to this penis report...!)