EST. May 2000 (AD)


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Madame Expert Parent Answers Your Child Safety Questions

By Diane Sokoloski


Q: I have entered my twin eight year olds in the annual Run With The Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Is this a good idea? I think they would look cute running through the streets in matching outfits.

A: Well, if there was ever a parent award for most unsafe situation in which to place a child, I shall put your name forward immediately. Have you thought to ask your twins what they think? The average eight year old prefers to lick ice cream cones and make armpit noises with their cupped hand. Matching outfits or not, I doubt very much your twins would be enthusiastic about a chance to flee for their young lives down a winding cobblestone street, just out of reach of the razor sharp horns of a herd of frothing bulls. Those expensive outfits of which you speak, may become blood spattered and torn. Are you prepared for that?

Q: Is it okay to expose my child to the thrill of bungy jumping off a train trestle. He is a newborn, but very sturdy for his age.

A: You must be a first time parent. May I suggest a really good birth control method. I might also suggest that you throw yourself off the train trestle, with or even without a bungy cord, and let me know how thrilling it was for you. Newborns generally need food, sleep and lots of cuddly love. If you feel that Junior needs a thrill, try making silly bubbling noises with your mouth and lips or gently touch your nose to his nose. This will do the trick, and most certainly be cheaper than a bungy jump, because I suspect that following through with your "idea" will attract a multitude of lawsuits from the child's father and father's parents not to mention your parents and everyone in the neighbourhood, who most likely will chase you through town brandishing pitchforks and shotguns.

Q: If we are captured by aliens is it okay to offer up my child to the aliens before my family pet Tricksie, who is an award winning purebred Pomeranian.

A: I would like to say "good question", but common sense dictates otherwise. If the most pressing concern of your parenting day is preparing for an alien capture, I highly recommend a visit to the nearest mental health centre. In the event of an alien capture most normal parents would automatically attempt to protect their child and save the child from any harm, even offering themselves up first, which is something I strongly urge you to consider. I sense from your question that you value Tricksie the dog more than your child. Try to bond a bit more with Junior, simply because someday when you are languishing in the old folk's home, hopefully tormented and lonely, I doubt very much that Tricksie will be able to change your bedding, push your wheelchair or adjust your false teeth. Think about it.

Q: Is it okay to take a toddler on an ATV without a helmet and engage in a reckless police chase?

A: Not really. May I suggest that you drop your child off at the local adoption agency, before engaging in such an act. Imagine what the rest of your family would think of their ever loving father and protector who just took Little Ricky for a death ride on the ATV? What next for the family outing Daddy; gorge jumping with sand bags on our feet, Weed Whacker touch tag, or maybe a fun game of Flaming Hibachi toss? Hopefully the police will charge your brain synapses with "Failure To Fire".

Q: I believe in empowering my child and to make decisions for herself. If Dove has a tantrum on the train tracks and I see a train coming, is it okay to negotiate with her as to the reasons why she should get up and out of the way?

A: Death will be imminent as a gigantic train bears down upon the two of you. I certainly hope the mother/daughter conversation that you have is a good one. It will be the last negotiation you have with your child. There is something called fight or flight that usually kicks in when one is close to harm or death. Hopefully Dove will experience this and fly off the track in time. If not, perhaps you could stick your wet finger in a light socket and empower yourself to start acting like a proper parent. Take charge. Yank your daughter off the train tracks and then throw yourself in front.

© 2009 Diane Sokoloski



Diane Sokoloski earned a BA in music and BEd as an Artist in the Community. She has performed in children's theatre, political theatre, musical theatre, puppet shows, stand-up comedy and yes- as a street busker. Diane had brief experiences as a police officer and a high school teacher but her psychiatrist advises against talking about it. Diane's writing credits include numerous magazines and newspapers. and she was a finalist in Canadian Broadcasting Company's Canada Writes competition.

Diane is working on a children's book based on a true story about a skink who travelled across North America in a lunch box.