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Planet of the Helicopter Parents

Want an epic adventure? Try having kids in New York

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In the spirit of Choose Your Own Adventure, the classic (and newly reissued) series from our childhood in which a single misstep could mean death by yeti, ghost, or Royal Bengal tiger, join us on this expedition of horror. At the bottom of each page, you’ll find several choices. Click on the one that appeals to you. If you want to return to the beginning, click on the story’s title at the top of the page. So, without further ado, embark on the greatest and most terrifying journey known to mankind: parenthood.

Click the image below to get started.

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Amy K. says:

I love you.

That was way too much fun! And awesome. I’d like to see what would be next in the series…

Erin M says:

OK, I feel like an idiot…how do I turn the page? Maybe this just isn’t working for me?

Erin M says:

Oh, sorry, I refreshed, now it’s working:)

Janet G. says:

This was the funniest most creative “article”– Thanks for making me smile today!

I thought this was funny until the “dairy free, egg free, etc.” treat cliffhanger. My child has anaphylactic allergies to dairy and wheat. While, I do not think it is the obligation of other parents to provide safe snacks for my son I don’t think someone who chooses to do so needs to “grow a spine” or that one would be considered “cool” if they run over to Dunkin’ Donuts instead.

Please differentiate parents who NEED to be vigilant about snacks and meals from those who simply feel that their little angels require a special diet because of the latest fad.

I, too, thought this was amusing until the “dairy free, egg free” page. As a pediatric allergist, it is insulting to suggest that a parent who chooses to take others’ life-threatening circumstances into account. They do not need to “grow a spine.”

I am the parent of a child with anaphlyactic food allergies and I found the entire article quite hilarious, including the “grow a spine” response, which I think was more a comment on the insane demands made by the alpha mom (you must bake! now! exactly what I tell you to!) than a slight to FA kids. Maybe if we parents of FA kids took ourselves slightly less seriously, we would get a more receptive audience to hearing about our issues. And @Mary, with your distinction between people who “need” to be vigilant versus those following a fad, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution. It’s not anyone’s prerogative to judge other parents. I don’t want to have to whip out a copy of my daughter’s latest IgE levels in order to have my friends respect her food allergies.

Wintry Mix says:

Mary and Anne, if you were trying to prove the author’s point, consider your work here done.

Bridget says:

Fabulous – my kids have food allergies and I have a friend whose child has very scary ones – BUT we still find it fun to laugh about some of these food enforcers. Your child can be allergic and you as a parent can have a sense of humor about it. Often we found that the loudest complainers about food issue where freaking out about the sugar not being organic! Meanwhile, we just quietly took turns baking our kids’ cakes for other kids parties and went on with it. Meanwhile – not every event needs a snack but every event with kids does need a massive sense of humor!

actually, i have an anaphylactic allergy to tree nuts. (thankfully, neither of my kids inherited it.) i’ve had two near-death experiences, one as a 2-year-old and one as an adult. so i am clueful about food allergies…but, perhaps maddeningly, i still believe in laughter. thank you, bridget, for making me feel less alone!

Stephanie says:

I mentally translated this to being set in a pesticide-free park in Seattle, populated by parents with Ph.D.’s who only visit naturopaths and refuse vaccinations. The baked goods would have to be the same, but maybe with some probiotic component. Then I laughed my head off! Thank you for using satire to advocate for sanity in parenting! How do you say “grow a spine” in Latin so I can monogram my diaper bag with the motto?!


Amazed to see that CYOA books still make me sweat with anxiety. What if I make the wrong choice?????? Why is there no third choice “neither of the above”?

Thankfully, I don’t have this issue IRL. Just when reading CYOA. And at the optometrist.

Great post!

so funny, rivster, i also found the CYOA books incredibly stressful as a kid!

if you look on wikipedia, it mentions that in one book there is a stand-alone page — with no pages linking to or from it — in which you find paradise and live happily ever after. you could only find that page if you started at the beginning and read straight through, which is obviously NOT the way the books are designed to be read. the wikipedia entry states that it’s supposed to be a moral lesson about how if you will only reach paradise by NOT following rules. i’m not sure that would’ve been my takeaway as a kid! i liked rules! i would have flipped through the book a million times in a PANIC trying to figure out how to get to the paradise page, slowly losing my tiny mind.

This is hysterical. I re-read it until I had gone down every path.

Oh… and as someone with Celiac I wouldn’t eat something wheat-free from the kitchen of someone who is not themselves wheat-free… too much probability of cross-contamination. So I would be happier if she brought donuts I knew I couldn’t eat than something that I felt like I had to but might get sick from. :-) I think it is wrong to ask someone to make allergy-free food from scratch who is not used to it. I won’t let anyone with nut allergies eat anything from my kitchen — I use a lot of nut flours and I wouldn’t want them to get sick.

This is so clever and such fun. You never cease to amaze me. I thoroughly enjoy your articles, your insights and your creativity.

Notorious says:

This is hilarious, but as a parent of a child with a foreign nanny I took offense to …

Just kidding. Great work.

Offended food allergy people – please get a grip. You’re probably only offended because you see yourself in that crazy woman.

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Its good as your other posts , thanks for posting . – There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist. Mark Twain 1835 1910

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Planet of the Helicopter Parents

Want an epic adventure? Try having kids in New York

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