Facing the toddler tide - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Facing the toddler tide

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Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2004 9:07 am | Updated: 4:55 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

I’m angry.

I’m angry because Arizona is growing — and not in a good way.

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau released figures showing that Arizona — and the East Valley in particular — has the nation’s highest growth rate for children younger than 5.

Children are cute; don’t get me wrong. But as an East Valley homeowner with no young kids (who is, again, angry), I think hard questions must be asked:

Who are these children?

Why are they flooding Arizona?

Where are their mommies?

Do they need a snack? Am I, as a taxpayer, responsible for that snack?

Don’t bother asking the children themselves. When I try this, they just look evasive and shove their fingers into their mouths. By the time you get to your follow-up questions, they’ve started crying and someone has asked you to leave the Gymboree.

While it’s possible that thousands of gypsy toddlers simply paused to get their stories straight before crossing the state line, the real answer is probably more sinister: These kids don’t know why they’re in Arizona. Which means slacker parents in surrounding states simply taught them to walk and pointed them here.

That just makes me sick.

What kind of lazy Midwestern mother opens the baby gates in Michigan and lets her toddler waddle drunkenly across the plains to Arizona? Is California so bad that families release their children, like wolves, into Death Valley with zwiebacks in their jumpers and promises of a better life? "Analysts" attribute the boom of children 5 and younger to the low housing prices that newcomers find in the Valley of the Sun.

I say, "bunk." Toddlers can’t buy a house! There’s papers to sign and, often, you need a job first! Homes are being purchased, yes — by families.

How to respond to this toddler tide? First, we must embrace those gurgling insurgents who have poured across our borders. Be nice, people. It’s not their fault. Child care experts tell me they are fond of juice boxes and Cheerios. Secondly, border guard helicopters must locate these rivers of incoming toddlers. How hard can it be to spot a vast babbling herd, in pink or blue or canary yellow, lurching toward Arizona with their hands in the air to balance their untrained steps? You could probably head them off at the Rockies, where the footing gets tricky, and they’re apt to "go boom."

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