Babysitting, Rocks, A.C. and One VERY Bizarre Dora Toy

Hi Folks — It’s Sunday, a lazy day, so here are some my recent Tweets (from Twitter) bekfhyknay
you might like:

Great Salon piece: When do you let your kids babysit?

Perfect one-panel comic about kids and their chemistry sets!

How a country without A.C. would be warmer in many GOOD ways:

Strange new trend: “Make believe” camps where kids are encouraged to play the old-fashioned (sort of) way:

Students not allowed to touch rocks! Given a POSTER of rocks instead:

Excuse me. This is a toy for…a kid? Not, say, a lonely mom? Dora, I’m shocked!

Have fun! — L.


15 Responses to Babysitting, Rocks, A.C. and One VERY Bizarre Dora Toy

  1. Big Mac July 26, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Cool. I read the first one (about babysitting) and the first page of comments. I was expecting a bunch of “oh my god I’m on the phone to CPS!” nonsense. Instead, the only one to disagree with the article was clearly a board-certified moron – not just because I disagree with him/her, but because they appear to not know their butt from a hole in the ground.

  2. Bike Friendly City July 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    Re: How a country without air conditioning. would be warmer in many GOOD ways:

    Good article.
    I remember reading years ago about how air conditioning changed society in negative ways – as mentioned in this article.

    When neighbors began spending all their time in air conditioned houses, they spent much less time socializing with the neighbors.

    Houses used to have front porches for a reason. People spent time outside during the summer. And when people walked by, they visited.

    Over 20 years ago, I happened to be in a small mountain town in Pa. that hadn’t changed much for many years. The streets were very narrow and the row houses had front porches next to the sidewalk. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon, and I’d just stepped outside of a church to wait for my father. I heard a low-key conversation, but at first couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Then I noticed two elderly couples not far away. One was sitting on their front porch swing – and the other couple across the narrow street was on their own porch. They were literally conversing from one porch to the other across the tiny street – the distance being so close they didn’t have to raise their voices.
    Another thing that limits social interaction is the automatic garage door opener in conjunction with attached garages. When a car can drive up
    and the garage door opens by itself and the car drives in, there is no chance for a casual exchange between neighbors like in the old days before that technology existed.

    When we moved to our house in an older neighborhood long ago, one of our neighbors told us he actually moved his family out of a newer subdivision specifically because of the “garage door opener thing.” He said those neighbors had rarely interacted and he got tired of the absence of neighborliness.

  3. tommynomad July 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    When I grew up, my parents had a typed-out list next to the phone with the names and numbers of everyone on our street (about 35 houses). Even people I *never* saw them speaking to were on it. All the kids I knew on the block had the same exact list.

    My wife’s family have shared a 2-door front-door landing on the 10th floor of an apartment block (so occasionally take the elevator together) with the same people for 12 years, and don’t know their names or even how many people live there.

  4. tommynomad July 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    Loved your piece on rocks, Lenore.

    At least 2 of the links took me to p. 2, though.

  5. pentamom July 26, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    The one thing people never think about is that eliminating AC would result in a mass migration north — where would we put all those people?

    It’s fine to say our homes could do without it — they could, though in some cases (like mine), houses are so thoroughly designed for AC that it would be pretty intolerable without it, barring the expenditure of sums of money for renovation, that not everyone has. However, you can’t employ the population of the American South without AC. There is no way you could get the current capacity of modern office buildings and other businesses in the south into non-AC friendly structures.

    So, it’s a great idea — IF the northern half of the United States can absorb that amount of population and economic activity — which it probably can’t.

  6. dahlia July 26, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    come on, you are making that up about the rocks. if it’s true, it’s some weird outlier we can ignore.

    i live in an apartment complex, and while it’s a big pain in some ways, i have more neighbor interaction than i did in a house — we’ve made friends with a couple with a young son and now i look forward to playdates and babysitting exchanges, which i’ve never had before. soon we’ll move into a bigger apt in the same complex which faces a grassy area, and i look forward to pulling out the ol’ lawn chair and letting my kid go explore the nooks and crannies while i sit in a neutral location and occasionally shout for location updates.

  7. Nathan Williams July 27, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    Okay, I’m missing something. What’s the connection between the rocks and the CPSC? Your article says it was the school’s decision to cancel the rock order, so it seems like a bad way to start an article that’s about the agency, not about fear in general.

  8. Rachel Federman July 27, 2010 at 1:47 am #

    My current book project has me digging into all kinds of periods of history where kids were so much safer than they are now. For example, in Elizabethan England, less than half the children born made it to 5 years old.

  9. NettaBird July 27, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    Rachel, you know that most of that had to do with medicine — or rather, the lack thereof — right?

  10. Jane July 27, 2010 at 7:07 am #

    Every year but this one, I would have been all over that “We don’t need AC.” Then my body decided that developing severe asthma overnight would be really really funny, and now I can’t live without it.


  11. tommynomad July 27, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    When it comes to medical issues though, there are lots of things people who *need* them should have that the majority don’t need. Here in New Zealand, the power company has to provide people with powered medical equipment with backup generators, in case there’s a brown/blackout, and the phone company cannot disconnect such families’ phones, even if they are late paying. In the US, the federal government provides people with Medical Marijuana. Doesn’t mean the rest of should get any.

    The argument that today’s buildings need AC is backward-looking: if we demanded higher standards of our architects (or even used them, rather than using engineers to design most of our buildings), we’d get them. Smart designs are out there, we just don’t bother building them because it’s easier to stick with what we know, keep burning fossil fuels, and ridicule the vanguards as nutjobs (like those wackjobs who free-range their kids, y’know). 100 years of industrial history have borne out our sociocultural laziness and aversion to innovation: if they hadn’t, we’d all be living in houses that look like this:
    or this:
    or this:

    and working in ones that look like this:

  12. Sky July 28, 2010 at 3:24 am #

    Yeah, not really a dilema Obama has to worry about, since Secret Service is on those kids 24/7.

  13. Sky July 28, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    So, has Stan Cox actually SPENT more than an hour at one of these “shady” playgrounds with his young kids during a 103 degree (117 with humidity) day in a Virginia summer?

  14. Sky July 28, 2010 at 3:39 am #

    “When I grew up, my parents had a typed-out list next to the phone with the names and numbers of everyone on our street (about 35 houses). Even people I *never* saw them speaking to were on it. All the kids I knew on the block had the same exact list.”

    Yeah. Today we just call it a “neighbourhood directory” and we get it left on our doorstep once a year.


  1. Babysitting, Rocks, A.C. and One VERY Bizarre Dora Toy | Not Quiet - July 27, 2010

    […] Babysitting, Rocks, A.C. and One VERY Bizarre Dora Toy « FreeRangeKids This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink. ← Melissa George: It's Bizarre Watching My Movies – […]