Paranoia, Plastic And Paint=Possible Helicopter Parent

If Santa can’t pay a visit to my kids this year it’s because I went obsessive and over the top in buying Fia a new lunchbox along with an air-quality test for our house. I’m on a toxic roll. Maybe I’m becoming–or always have been—a helicopter parent. But I think how we define “helicopter parent” might be changing. If it means being reasonably obsessive and paranoid about the world we live in, then I’m okay with that title. Of course “reasonably” is the key here.

Ever since I’ve been grinding on the Mother Jones article about BPA–and how all plastic is basically toxic–Fia’s lunchbox has been haunting me. I pack all of her food in BPA-free plastic containers. But now that I know it’s not only BPA that is the problem, I have been contemplating buying what I think is the most eco-friendly lunch box on the planet: Planet Box.

Then yesterday, serendipity. She was on a playdate at a playground. When I picked her up, she carried her lunchbox to the car. Her friend was beside her. They started giving each other massive hugs, arms wrapped tight around each other. While they did this, I put Emmett back in his carseat. Then Fia came around to the other side and I put her in. We drove home. It was then I realized the cursed-soft plastic lunchbox with poisonous plastic containers was missing. Fia and I figured it out: when she went to compulsively hug, she must have set it on the ground. I was on the other side strapping in Emmett and never saw it sitting on the curb before driving off. Finally my opportunity had arrived to be really neurotic and purchase a $70 lunchbox. Actually it’s only $60, but add in shipping and tax. I don’t care. For me, it’s worth my peace of mind–and maybe a few less presents under the tree.

However, like most things that a person with a compulsive personality will do, my expensive paranoia didn’t end there. I’ve also been grinding on a smell in Emmett’s room. We renovated our house and moved in 6 months ago. In California, all the paints sold are low VOC’s. However, I swear I smell an oil-based stain–perhaps even formaldehyde??–every night in his room. That’s because at night we shut all his windows to keep the boogeyman out, thus trapping the air. I’ve done everything from vanilla on cotton balls, to the Bad Air Sponge to an air purifier that runs 24/7. Yet still, I smell it.

Sometimes I’ll occasionally get a whiff in the afternoon, which causes me to march into Phil’s office and interrupt his workday.

“Phil, go in and smell Emmett’s room!”

But I swear every time he gets in there, the smell is gone. It’s like a formaldehyde-farting ghost is haunting me.

So along with Fia’s gourmet lunchbox, I ordered a do-it-yourself-air-test-kit off Amazon for $160.00. Luckily shipping was free. I hope the price includes the test lab.

I’m becoming the ultimate consumer, the ultimate sucker, both, or just another paranoid–maybe helicopter?–parent. But I don’t care. Like this “helicopter parent,” wrote so eloquently, we are living in a different time. She didn’t focus on plastic and poisons, but I share her perspective in its entirety as to why we “hover.” Joe Deprospero, my guest blogger, had similar thoughts this week from a dad’s perspective, with a hilarious video that follows. Hell, he hovered so much he locked his kid in the car.

I will sleep better for having done something to remedy my neurosis. The added bonus of course, is I no longer have to glare at Fia’s lunchbox or sniff for my farting ghost. The bad part is I have a larger credit card bill to pay.

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