Just as I started to
The kids are in bed,

I just tucked Raphael in

I just tucked Raphael in bed with his new companion, Mr. Sock. As I was wrestling him out of his clothes and into his jammies, he stripped one sock off and pulled it over his hand. He looked at it and said, “Hi dere, Mr. Sock!” So was born a friend.
Mr. Sock’s repertoire consists of brusquely ordering people to say hi to him and grabbing things, like noses or hair. To tell you the truth, Mr. Sock plays a bit rough. Cheeky hosiery.
But Raphael loves his new friend and trundled around, talking in Mr. Sock’s gruff voice. And when it was time to finally get in his crib he insisted Mr. Sock come too. So I tucked them in together, complete with kisses for both. Yes, you read that right. I gave Raphael’s stinky sock a goodnight kiss.
As I turned to leave his room something came to mind. It was a story I read in a magazine once, one of those heartwarming hero-pet stories. This one was about a woman who put her baby down for a nap. If I remember correctly, the baby was nine months old. Shortly after leaving the baby’s room, the woman was surprised by her dog, which was barking and growling and running back and forth between her and the nursery. She followed the dog back over to the crib, where she was horrified to see her baby’s face turning blue. She grabbed her up and looked in her mouth, where she found a sock. The baby had pulled off one sock and crammed it into her mouth and was choking. The mom pulled it out and the baby was fine and the dog was called their angel ever after.
You realize the moral of this story, right?
Socks kill.
Ever since I read that story, I’ve stripped the socks from my babies’ feet before putting them down for naps. Never mind that Raphael is two and a half, somewhat beyond the cramming in the mouth phase. Never mind that the story I read was about a freak accident. Now I know the truth.
Socks kill.
I add it to the list of bizarre things I am vigilant about with my kids. Like when I put knives in the dishwasher I always put them point down, and when I empty the dishwasher the knives are the first thing I take out. This is because of a story a dear friend of mine told me once about her daughter. When this girl was just a baby, her mom put her on the counter in her bouncy seat and opened the dishwasher to empty it. The baby bounced her self right over, off the counter and face down into the dishwasher. A knife point missed her face by millimeters. So I am ever watchful of upturned knives in the dishwasher.
Now this is not rational. I have no babies in bouncy seats. But I have an image in my mind, in the back of my mind that thinks in pictures, of a baby’s tender face speeding toward a knife point.
Gee, glad I could share that with you. Heh, heh. Sorry.
Anyhow, I have all these chilling possibilities in my mind and it’s just strange. Because I’m not a fastidious mother. I let the kids run around outside barefoot. I’ve come to believe with every ounce of my being that ketchup is a vegetable, because it’s the only one my kids get some days. I already confessed about the grapes.
Suffice to say I’m fairly relaxed in my parenting style, but not about these specific, silly things. And it is silly; because I doubt I’ve protected the boys one bit more by all these phobic efforts. The odds of them choking on a sock were fairly low. And when stuff does happen, it just happens. Like the only broken bone we’ve had around here was when Tre fell off a slide. Not much of a fall, about four feet onto thick grass. Please, he does rougher tumbling than that before breakfast. But this time he hit the ground just right and broke his collarbone. Go figure. (Aside here, can you believe I just announced that we’ve only broken one bone around here? We are sooooo ending up in the emergency room in the next week.)
I guess I should just relax about these little fixations of mine. Ultimately, my sons are in God’s hands, because it’s far beyond my power to keep them safe.
But just in case, I think I’ll go steal Mr. Sock for the night.


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