Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Be Brave

Welcome to the September 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Safe

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and tips about protecting our families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


We lost Moira the other day, at the Google Summer picnic. Walker and Moira went to the bathroom while I watched Davis eat watermelon, and she went out a different door than she went in.
She was only gone a few minutes, someone found her crying and took her to an employee, and they called Walker on the PA. As soon as we were reunited I praised her for knowing what to do when she got lost.
Moira: But I didn't! I was scared and I just cried and someone helped me.
Me: And you let them. You let them take you some place safe, and you told them Daddy's name so they could find us. We were worried, and you were scared, but you were also brave and you did the right thing.
We have always allowed/encouraged our kids to know our real names, something which surprised and unsettled some relatives when she also started calling them by their names at 2. My parents made sure I knew theirs as a child, and I can remember needing that information a few times. I would certainly rather be called Shannon a few times than have a lost baby telling the people trying to to help her find me that my name is "Mommy." Moira knows our phone number, and how to dial 911. She knows how to crawl under the smoke, and why she should wear her seat belt.
More than all the details they should know to be able to contact us, (names, addresses, phone numbers) I want my kids to know that they can trust strangers who are trying to help them when they need it. That they should speak up and ask for help. That they are brave, and being lost is scary, but they can be scared and do what's needed to fix the problem. Knowing that I can speak up, or yell. That I can ask for help, and also fight back if I need to, is part of what has kept me mostly safe on dark streets and at giant parties. If I could only teach them one thing to keep them safe, this is it.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon September 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Stranger Danger — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her approach to the topic of "strangers" and why she prefers to avoid that word, instead opting to help her 4-year-old understand what sorts of contact with adults is appropriate and whom to seek help from should she ever need it.
  • We are the FDA — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger makes the case that when it comes to food and drugs, parents are necessarily both their kids' best proponent of healthy eating and defense against unsafe products.
  • You Can't Baby Proof Mother Nature — Nicole Lauren at Mama Mermaid shares how she tackles the challenges of safety when teaching her toddler about the outdoors.
  • Bike Safety With Kids — Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs shares her tips for safe cycling with children in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • Spidey Sense — Maud at Awfully Chipper used a playground visit gone awry to teach her children about trusting their instincts.
  • Watersustainablemum explains how she has used her love of canoeing to enable her children to be confident around water
  • Safety without baby proofing — Hannabert at Hannahandhorn talks about teaching safety rather than babyproofing.
  • Coming of Age: The Safety Net of Secure AttatchmentGentle Mama Moon reflects on her own experiences of entering young adulthood and in particular the risks that many young women/girls take as turbulent hormones coincide with insecurities and for some, loneliness — a deep longing for connection.
  • Mistakes You Might Be Makings With Car Seats — Car seats are complex, and Brittany at The Pistachio Project shares ways we might be using them improperly.
  • Could your child strangle on your window blinds? — One U.S. child a month strangles to death on a window blind cord — and it's not always the obvious cords that are the danger. Lauren at Hobo Mama sends a strong message to get rid of corded blinds, and take steps to keep your children safe.
  • Tips to Help Parents Quit Smoking (and Stay Quit) — Creating a safe, smoke-free home not only gives children a healthier childhood, it also helps them make healthier choices later in life, too. Dionna at Code Name: Mama (an ex-smoker herself) offers tips to parents struggling to quit smoking, and she'll be happy to be a source of support for anyone who needs it.
  • Gradually Expanding Range — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how she is increasing the area in which her child can walk alone, a little bit at a time.
  • Safety Sense and Self Confidence — Do you hover? Are you overprotective? Erica at ChildOrganics discusses trusting your child's safety sense and how this helps your child develop self-confidence.
  • Staying Safe With Food Allergies and Intolerances — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is sharing how she taught her son about staying safe when it came to his food allergies.
  • Don't Touch That Baby!Crunchy Con Mom offers her 3 best tips for preventing unwanted touching of your baby.
  • Playground Wrangling: Handling Two Toddlers Heading in Opposite Directions — Megan at the Boho Mama shares her experience with keeping two busy toddlers safe on the playground (AKA, the Zone of Death) while also keeping her sanity.
  • Letting Go of "No" and Taking Chances — Mommy at Playing for Peace tries to accept the bumps, bruises and tears that come from letting her active and curious one-year-old explore the world and take chances.
  • Preventing Choking in Babies and Toddlers with Older Siblings — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now gives tips on preventing choking in babies and toddlers along with Montessori-inspired tips for preventing choking in babies and toddlers who have older siblings working with small objects.
  • Keeping Our Children Safe: A Community and National Priority — September has many days and weeks dedicated to issues of safety; however, none stir the emotions as does Patriot Day which honors those slain the terrorist attacks. Along with honoring the victims, safety officals want parents to be ready in the event of another disaster whether caused by terrorists or nature. Here are their top tips from Mary at Mary-andering Creatively.
  • A Complete Family: Merging Pets and Offspring — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the ground rules that she laid out for herself, her big brown dog, and later her baby to ensure a happy, safe, and complete family.
  • Be Brave — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about helping her kids learn to be brave so that they can stay safe, even when she's not around.
  • Catchy PhrasingMomma Jorje just shares one quick tip for helping kids learn about safety. She assures there are examples provided.
  • Know Your Kid — Alisha at Cinnamon&Sassfras refutes the idea that children are unpredictable.
  • Surprising car seat myths — Choosing a car seat is a big, important decision with lots of variables. But there are some ways to simplify it and make sure you have made the safest choice for your family. Megan at Mama Seeds shares how, plus some surprising myths that changed her approach to car seats completely!
  • I Never Tell My Kids To Be Careful — Kim is Raising Babes, Naturally, by staying present and avoiding the phrase "be careful!"


  1. Its only recently that Sasha has really learned our names, but she has also learned my phone number. We're very pleased and ask her to recite it often. We should work on "asking for help," but she is like me... not hesitant to talk to strangers at all. It terrified my parents when I was a kid because I "never met a stranger." Yet I also remember being lost and crying...

  2. Hannabert knows his dad's name but doesn't seem to know mine. He also refuses to tell us his name although he will refer to himself by name. We are working on that...

  3. Good for Moira! Kieran has always known our names, and I never even thought there might be a benefit - or a drawback - to that ;) He also learned our address when he was about 3yo, and our cell phone numbers when he was 4. I figure safer is better!

  4. Good to have this reminder for all parents. I did this with my kids when they were little, they did with their when my grand kids were little.

  5. Sharing some Carnival love :) Great post - must have been super scary for you, Mama!

  6. This is awesome. I'm still trying to get Mikko to memorize our phone number. And 9-1-1, which he prefers to call 9-9-1. But, ah, well.

    He does know our full names and will tell people (at random) when he wants to. And he does like to call Sam Sam, but as you said, better he know our names than follow some sort of rules about what to call adults.

    I remember having similar conversations with him about what being brave is. I told him once he was brave at the dentist, and he says he wasn't, because he was scared. I told him he was scared, but he went through with it, and that's being brave.

  7. Being brave is something we've been working on, too. The other day I heard my youngest standing on the diving board saying "I am BRAVE, I can do this, I am BRAVE..." before jumping. I never thought of it as connected to safety before, thanks for this thoughtful post!

  8. My niece is very shy when she's scared--she can move, but not speak. On a trip to Disney, my SIL put her phone number on the insides of her shirt collars, and told her to show it to a Disney employee if she got lost.
    She didn't have to use it, but having a plan for exactly how she would "be brave" really helped her feel safe on the trip.

  9. I love that you praised your daughter for knowing what to do even though she couldn't see that she was being brave. As soon as each of our children is old enough to be out of our direct eye sight and arm's length we have taught them our names, address and cell phone numbers. So important! If I know were are going to a busy public place I will quiz them to refresh their memory too.