Excuse me miss, Your child is eating cotton swabs...

Ok, I realize that, not being a mother myself, the territory on which I am about to tread is probably mine-ridden,but what the hell, I'm going to step in it anyway.
This particular beef goes back a long way, specifically the winter of 1999, in herald square during the insane christmas shopping season. Picture, If you will, a young, harried looking mother, arms loaded with packages, frantically trying to pay attention to the oncoming traffic and her twin toddler girls at the same time. Now picture me, across the street, arms also loaded with packages, also keeping a close eye on the cars whizzing by me, also aware that for a good, long minute one of those two little girls has been licking some nondescript sludge from the curb.
Now, Ignoring the fact that, more likely than not, a long family history of stupid had something to do with the child's actions, one still has to ask- um...Mom...hello?
Now perhaps if this had been an Isolated incident, or if this woman hadn't been the last of like twenty five people to notice what her child was doing, It would be more funny than troubling, but four years, a dog kicking boy, a popular new game involving being in a garbage pail while someone whacks it with a wiffleball bat and the kid who likes to try to sit in the washing machines in my building while they're running-has piqued my concern.
I mean, my generation had good parents, granted they were the smoking at the breakfast table, foul-mouthed crazy wooden spoon weilding kind of good, but they kept us out of trouble. Even people having babies now are all into books and pre natal pilates, so what the hell went on for all of the nineties? Why is it that nearly every child under the age of twelve these days is, for lack of a better turn of phrase, a screaming motard?
Seriously, In the last year alone I have pulled a kid out of a closed rubbermaid container in Target,  Alerted a woman on her cell phone that her son was eating all sorts of  cotton toiletries in Rite Aid,  and nearly had my toes clipped off by two boys speeding down a steep hill, seated on skateboards-

with boxes on their heads.

Somebody, for the love of bob- get these children a toy.

An this doesn't even begin to touch the travails of my best friend, proud teacher of the fourth grade class with the kid who prefers to pee in the corner.

Whats up Parents? Were you so overcome by the death of grunge that you couldn't take the time to figure out how to raise your kids? Were you too busy trying to figure out what to do with all that flannel?  Oh, I know I know, It was the advent of Friends and Dawson's and Buffy and all of that other appointment television that kept you from your parenting duties-or was it perhaps a lingering depression stemming from the fact that you started off the decade in a flat top and Hammer pants...
-the world may never know.

Whatever the reason, the end result is that your children are running wild trough the streets and the Wal-Mart aisles, hugging the fire hydrants, drinking skin cream, ramming their heads repeatedly into tractor trailer tires- just cause, y'know it's funny.
I'm not trying to tell anyone how to be a parent , I know full well that when the day finally comes for me to bring another life into this world it will be one highly genetically predisposed to paste consumption and nasal cavity exploration, but damned if I'm not going to at least try to spring into action the first time my kid tells me his best freind is a coat hanger. So, sorry if I'm preaching parents, but  all I'm saying is, if you aren't quite sure what it is you are supposed to be doing with the squirmy snotty thing in the crib, you might want to at least read a book on the subject before you end up pulling quarters out of your six year old's stool.

Until then, I'll do my best to keep an eye out for all the little curblickers.