I was an active yet clumsy child so I spent a majority of my time in arm casts, recovering from knee surgery, or in full leg braces. Thus, my spidey-sense is on high alert whenever my children attempt anything remotely dangerous, say... opening an olive jar without proper eye protection.
"Careful! The olive juice is highly caustic and can cause blindness!" I yell.
"Mom, it's olives floating in water. Relax, would you?" My 4-year-old daughter is a mouthy little thing.
"Yes but one drop and... I got nothing. Give Mama an olive and stop smirking."
I've read the warning insert in boxes of tampons about Toxic Shock Syndrome every month since I was 12, positive that one day I'd be the topic of an after school special on the dangers of absorbency. I'd picture my mother looking distraught while I gasped out my last breath in the hospital room.
"Mom, I know you told me not to use the Super Plus..." I'd start.
"Shhh, darling. That's not important now, but since you mentioned it, didn't you read the inserts?"
I see where my daughter gets it.
We live atop a mountain in the wilds of Northern Virginia, fraught with danger as the girls bring home various forms of flora and fauna. Poisonous fungi fill bags in the kitchen next to benign white-capped mushrooms. The 8-year-old studies them intensely but I'm not sure for what purpose. I quietly deposit them into the large kitchen garbage can while she sleeps and tells her the woodland creatures carried them off at night the next morning. She bought that for a while but now I get the "Mom is insane" look and she wanders off for more specimens. The others climb trees, scale woodpiles where I'm sure snakes hide, they're always on the lookout for the fox kits that live on the lane (though they are quite aware of the risks of rabies and stay far away), and sneak toads into the house in small baskets. The little voice that tells them to be cautious? The one ever-present in my head but not theirs? It's at Disney World without protective headgear.
I'm sure they get it from their father.