The Awkwardly Intense Busybody Club: Corporate Edition.

The Awkwardly Intense Busybody Club used to be my favorite bizarre occurrence to report on, garnering itself its own category on my blog. But now that my kids are older (the AIBC tends to be more magnetized to babies), it’s been a while since I’ve had a stranger tell me what I ought to do as a parent or that my kid isn’t being careful enough. From telling me that my baby is going to choke and die, to being very disturbingly inquisitive as to why my children aren’t in school, I’ve nearly missed the AIBC telling me what I can and can’t do.

But oh.

This week the AIBC went corporate. And it went corporate with flair.


I’m not a helicopter parent, nor am I a free-range parent. As in most areas of life, I fall somewhere in the murky in-between, or the “logical middle ground”, as I often like to think of myself with perhaps a smidge of superiority.

I have the personality of a paranoid parent mixed with the philosophy of a free-range parent, making me a strange and perfect hybrid. I almost always know where my kids are, but I am also more than happy to let them take risks while exploring their surroundings.

Sure! Climb that tree.

Want to jump on your bed? Why not?

Of course playground equipment is there for you to climb on top of and make the playground helicopter parents uncomfortable!

This philosophy of mine, however, is aided in its smashing success by the fact that I have two extremely over-cautious kids. They weigh risks, they take their time climbing on something risky, and they rarely get hurt. In fact, they get hurt way less than their mother.

All that to say…

We bought a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe a few years ago when Noah was younger. Over the life of the coupe, 80% of the usage it has seen has been on its roof – which apparently is way more entertaining to sit on than inside the car. I’ve watched both my kids climb on and off that roof so many times that I tend to forget that the car even has an interior. And, surprisingly, considering its tall proportions, the Cozy Coupe has never tipped over. That thing is sturdy. It’s bottom heavy, and it doesn’t even wiggle under the load of rooftop passengers.

So, this Spring when Noah decided that he was brave enough to climb up onto the car and then jump, I might’ve flinched the first jump or two, but I didn’t discourage him. He was good at it, he added his SuperNoah cape to the performance, and so I decided it deserved a slo-mo video.

It was even more fun when I took a still from the video, edited out my neighbor’s house and the Cozy Coupe, and presented it to Noah as his Superman photo.

Noah Jump Little Tikes
Perhaps not quite as good as his Iron Man shot from a few years ago,

Flying1

But that’s hard to beat.

So anyway.

The video, I felt, caught the essence of childhood – adventure, experimentation, thrill, and joy. Plus a really good excuse to use that House of Pain song.

Until I got shamed.

…Not by other mothers.

…Not by over-cautious grandmothers.

…Not even by those annoying non-parents that feel they have the right to tell parents what they should do – you know the type.

No.

Little Tikes themselves commented on my video, basically telling me that I needed to be a better overprotective parent.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 4.30.41 PM

Seriously.

Seriously??

Yes. The makers of Cozy Coupe themselves felt it best to warn me of the dangers of enjoying childhood, and also their product.

(For some reason the comment doesn’t show up every time for other users. Maybe they only wanted to privately shame me, not publicly. Maybe they were trying to give me the opportunity to secretly repent of my grievous parenting sins.)

I get that this was probably some legal move on their part to ensure that I couldn’t sue them if Noah broke his fingernail next time he tried this oh-so-dangerous trick, or perhaps to keep viewers from doing the same. But it’s not like this video had gone viral. It had a measly 115 views when they felt the need to parent my parenting.

It hurt, guys.

I flung myself on my MacBook and wept giant tears of sorrow from their between-the-lines accusations against me.

Okay maybe not. But I still felt like I needed a hashtag.

#FreeTheCoupe

or

#JumpTheCoupe

or

#CoziesAreForClimbing

And in protest, we should all have our children jump from their Cozy Coupes and share the videos on the internet. Flood the YouTubes with dangerous Little Tikes play, people*!!

And for Little Tikes, I offer this letter.

Dear Little Tikes,

First, I’d like to apologize for damaging your clearly quite fragile sensibilities of what childhood should look like.

I can only assume that your Social Media Monitoring Intern is a Millennial who was Helicoptered all the way up into his/her teens, only allowed to color, eat kale, knit beanies, and things equally as unhazardous.

Thanks for your concern over my parenting decisions. My kid is okay. I promise. If you think he’s not being careful, you really should meet his cousin Eli, who, if given 7 Cozy Coupes, would have them all stacked up in a Nice Cozy Totem Pole – and he would be the head at the top of the Cozy Totem – before you had time to finish your judgey comment. But besides that, please read this article about parenting and get back to me.

And in the meantime, let kids be kids. Or quit making toys and find a safer product line – like bean bags, maybe. Oh – no – someone could suffocate. How about microwavable containers? Nope – someone might get their finger pinched in the lid. Perhaps water bottles? Oh wait! e.Coli might grow in them.

You know what – you might just want to quit making things.

Sincerely,

Rachel
#FreeTheCoupe

* Rachel assumes zero liability for broken hair follicles or anything more severe from her clearly quite hazardous advice. After all, Rachel is a bad mother and should not be listened to. Just ask Little Tikes. However, if your kid actually finds joy and excitement from jumping off their Cozy Coupe, they can write a thank you note to Rachel anytime.

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Comments

  1. Heather Neufeld says:

    This is my favourite thing ever. Perhaps they can offer an aftermarket recall/repair solution.. broken glass shards you can attach to the top to keep your kids from climbing onto and subsequently jumping off of the top of the oh so safe cozy coupe. oh and also some rubber stoppers to keep fingers from getting pinched in the door. oh and stickers to warn people who might be tempted to allow their children to actually USE the cozy coupe on a actual roadway as a method of transportation bc it looks very real. (just look at a smart car! they look almost as cartoony!).

    oh. AND… don’t even get me started on little tike slides… those are veritable death traps.. TWO WHOLE FEET IN THE AIR??? how irresponsible. have we lost our minds????

    • My kid broke his leg on one of their slides. Apparently rubber soles and molded plastic don’t get along well. So I’m in a dilemma – should we risk going barefoot, or just socks, or just avoid their slides in order to ensure absolute safety? Thankfully, he’s now 11 so we’re past the very dangerous Little Tykes pass. Whew. We survived.

  2. We had a secondhand little tykes minivan when my boys were young. The 4 of them plus the 3 girls next door would all climb in and on it…that’s 7 children…and ride down the sloped driveway, into the chain link fence…..repeatedly. Fortunately, iPhones had not been invented yet . I always thought of myself as the sort of parent you describe yourself as…..though my kids were not particularly cautious. Don’t let yourself be shamed by little tykes’ comment!

  3. Ugh! Hey Little Tykes, how about you let kids be kids and parents be parents! I think we can determine how to let our kids use toys.

    I do appreciate how they wanted to shame you, but only privately ;)

  4. Lindsay D. says:

    We drag our little tikes slide across the street to the neighbor’s in-ground pool. There it serves a dual purpose, a slide for some and diving board for others. Shame on us for having fun.

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