Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Part of speech: Adverb
Definition: Almost certainly
Usage: I probably won't die today.

Probably is the word you use when you want to make an absolute statement, but know better than to ever make an absolute statement.  I say probably a lot.  Examples:
"Yes, that's probably who peed on the floor." - I know in my heart it was Vorenus, but I didn't see him do it so I won't make an absolute statement.  After all, Avalon has a generous bladder as well, and so does Lauren.
"My dog probably won't bite you."  He's never even growled at a human being, or shown his teeth.  He is the most submissive dog on the planet.  But he has teeth and a jaw, so I refuse to say he will never bite.
"The baby is probably yours."  It could be alien spawn.  But it's probably not.

You get the idea at this point I'm sure.  "Probably" is my way of interjecting reality into a situation without promising an absolute.  Here's what I mean.

One plane per year has crashed on a runway in the last 20 years (20 crashes total).  There are nearly 11 million flights scheduled yearly in the US.  Your chances of being involved in a runway collision - 2 in 11 million. .0000001%  I can't say that you won't be involved in a runway collision, but I can tell you that going out of your way to prepare for one by spending time or money is going to be a waste of time or money.

Better yet:
There have been 7 fatal runway collisions in the last 20 years.  Still 11 million flights per year.  So every 31,460,000 plane take offs result in one fatal crash. Odds of being in a fatal crash: 2 in 31,460,000. .00000006%  This makes it really tempting to say never, but I'm not gonna do it.

They PROBABLY weren't going to crash.

So let's apply this to parenting decisions.  I like to think in Probablys, and most other parents that I've encountered prefer to think in "Coulds."

Them: This COULD happen, so I'm going to do everything I can to prevent it.
Me: This PROBABLY won't happen, so whatever.

I do pick and choose my probablys based on convenience.  It's really inconvenient for me to bring all three of my children outside into the driveway at once for the purpose of loading them into the car.  Since my house is PROBABLY not going to erupt into screaming flames, and a kidnapper/murderer/rapist is PROBABLY not going to go through the back door and surprise me from inside, I think it's safe to bring out one child at a time.

I realize that the airbag sensor light on my passenger side is PROBABLY functional, and the airbag is PROBABLY off.  But since it's not especially inconvenient for me to store all of my children in the trunk, sardine style (that's safe right?), I won't take the risk with the airbag.  Maybe if I was being chased by someone with a chain saw, and all the back seats were full, then I would toss my rear facing infant carrier into the front seat and hope for the best.  I probably would, in fact.
Disclaimer: My kids are stored in the back seats of the car, all of them in car seats.  I don't even have a trunk.

So, the question to ask ourselves as parents? How willing are you to accept PROBABLY when it comes to your child's safety in the car?  In the bathtub? In the yard? It's always a personal decision that no one can make for you, but I do urge you to consider the consequences before using an expired car seat that's PROBABLY still good, or not reading a car seat manual because you can PROBABLY figure it out on your own.

Please watch this video if you don't think car seats expire - they do.

That's right.  This whole post was about car seats.  Bet you didn't see it coming.

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