by JUDY GRUEN
Soon we will herald in a new year. What will it bring for those of us concerned about the house-arrest trend of parenting? Here are my predictions:
1. No parents will be allowed to take their newborns home from a hospital without first implanting a GPS device in them. Federal workers will make random home visits to ensure that the GPS is fully charged until the child goes off to college and attends his first frat party on open keg night.
2. Tag will be officially outlawed, along with other harsh, demeaning and degrading activities that can damage growing egos – not to mention knees.
3. Retailers will continue to rake in buckets of bucks with t-shirts geared for teen girls emblazoned with felicitous phrases like, “Legal-ish.”
4. Parents planning to allow children under the age of 16 to cross a street unaccompanied by an adult will have to file a permit with city, state, and federal agencies. The 235-page application must document successful (documented) completion of 30 hours of pre-street crossing lessons.
5. An intrepid blogger will discover a series of suppressed emails trying to squelch evidence that a little bit of dirt is actually good for kids.
6. “Simon Says” in schools will be restricted to Simon saying it is time to do our homework.
7. Following recent trends, more cities will exile Mrs. Claus from Christmas parades out of fear that children will be confused by seeing two adults wearing red costumes. On the other hand, Mr. Peanut will be required to take a wife because of rumors swirling about him and Mr. Clean.
8. Carrying a concealed peanut within 500 yards of an elementary school will be outlawed. First offense punishable by a $10,000 fine or six months in jail. Second offense: a $25,000 fine and being forced to be a contestant on the show, “So You Think You Can Dance?” Third strike and you’re out: in the slammer for five years with your TV locked on C-Span.
9. The National Endowment for the Arts will offer grants of up to $1 million for artists depicting such quaint but now illegal American objects as the see-saw, the tall metal slide, and merry-go-rounds. These will be showcased on a nationwide tour next to Norman Rockwell paintings, butter churns and a happy, sunburnt child.