See the kid in the pink hat? Probably not, because this picture kind of sucks. It was hastily taken when I happened to be enjoying a summer evening on the porch. Fortuitously, phone was in hand (not so much fortuitously as typically, really) and I was able to grab this pic while simultaneously composing this post in my head. Anyhoo, that’s my boy sporting a pink hat with a NASA logo on the front, that he ordered with his birthday money. Which I think is pretty awesome, because I read it as his way of walking around giving a huge middle finger to #45 (I can’t say his name). But, I digress.
For every ounce of love I have for him wearing that pink NASA hat, I have 10 tons of angst over the fact that he will not wear his fu¢!¡ng bike helmet. Even though he’s told us he will. Even though the purchase of the ‘fixie’ bike in the photo was conditional upon him wearing a helmet, because there’s apparently a higher likelihood of one flying over the handlebars on a ‘fixie’ than on a regular bike. Even though we’ve told him he’s going to lose the bike if we keep catching him without the helmet.
Spoiler alert: we’re super shitty parents and always say stuff like, “you’re gonna lose the bike if we keep catching you without the helmet,” and then pretty much never follow through.
Which is why I don’t have to listen when people say, “Oh, you’re going to miss all this when they’re gone,” because we’re so damn bad at parenthood that I’m certain my children will never be equipped to move out of the house. So, put that in your pipe and smoke it, all y’all know it all empty nesters.
And yeah, that means this is my fault. I get it. I know the solution to this is locking up the bike and hiding the key. But that would mean he’d stay home all day, and while he wouldn’t suffer a brain injury that would lead to me having to wipe his ass for the rest of my life; his media consumption would most certainly go up from it’s current 27 hours a day to at least 30. And yeah, I get that means I should just actually step up and be a damn parent and limit the screen time.
My biggest frustration with this battle, though is that even though I’m certain the hubs and I are not the only parents fighting this battle, it sure as hell feels that way. When my son whines about the fact that he’s the only one wearing a helmet, I am, believe it or not, a teeny weeny bit sympathetic. Because the kids I see biking around our Pleasantville suburb tend to have helmets on about 0.0002% of the time. Kids I don’t know don’t wear helmets. Kids I do know don’t wear helmets. Kids whose parents I don’t know don’t wear helmets. Kids whose parents I do know don’t wear helmets. Smart kids (if that’s a thing) don’t wear helmets. Dumb kids don’t wear helmets. Kids frequently roll up to my own house, on bikes, sans lids. I should likely ban their entrance to my house until they turn around and get their helmets, but that would be, like, actual parenting; which we’ve established I suck at.
So have all the other parents simply given up? Or has there been some study released rendering helmets on teenage cyclists to be unnecessary? Or are all these kids tricking their parents into thinking they’re following the rules? Or are other moms vying for my crown as the crap, crap, crappiest parent in the history of universe? Is this the correct time in this post to state that THE ADOLESCENT MIND ISN’T FULLY DEVELOPED? Which to me even further increases the odds of them doing something really damn stupid and needing a freaking helmet?!?!
So, I’m pleading to my fellow parents. Make your kids wear the damn helmets. I know they’re clunky, and dorky, and annoying. But if your kid wears one, my kid’s more likely to wear one, and his friends are more likely to wear them, then their friends are more likely to wear them, and we’ll create a big web of helmet wearing adolescents and then I can quit stressing out over my kid’s (or anyone else’s) impending head injury.
And then I can go on to bitching about something else. We all win.