24 October 2009

Good God I'm Glad I'm Not a Kid Today

Chicken Pox
Me enjoying a lovely case of chicken pox. Ah, those were the days.

Like childhood wasn't hard ENOUGH when I was growing up, parents keep doing awful stuff to mess up childhood. If I were a child today, I would walk around with dried peas in my shoes like a pilgrim to distract myself from the horror of modern childhood. The evidence?

Edited to add: Ok, I had to go back and edit because Mir thought I was being mean and judgy. She may be right. But I aim to please. Especially to please Mir, because she has nice hair.

1. Child-sized crocs. Step away from the Crocs display. Ugly shoes can wait for adulthood.

2. Daycare. Look, I don't like people now. When I was 3, I liked them even less because they seemed larger and scarier. I only attribute the slim grasp I hold on sanity now to the fact that, due to our tiny school size, there was no kindergarten. I got to spend one more blessed year at home in peace with my mom, instead of suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous schooling.

(I understand that you may HAVE to put your kids in daycare. I'm just forever thankful that my parents didn't because I know it would have been awful for me as a hyper-sensitive, quiet, misanthropic loner child. On the other hand, it might have made me a nicer and more patient person... Naaaaah.

And this point is actually meant to compliment my mom. She made being home so cozy and fun that I'm forever thankful that I got six years of it before I went off to school. Thanks, Mom. You're the best.)

3. Ruining Halloween. When I was a child, October meant two things: fun costumes and LOTS OF CANDY. Now people are insisting that Halloween be scaled back to an emasculated "Harvest Festivals" because of the witchy/pagan connection. Gah. Halloween is thrilling and a little scary and fun and involves LOTS OF CANDY. Candy is the true currency of childhood, and you people who want a healthy, sane Halloween are ROBBING children. Not having Halloween is like purse-snatching. Do you want to be a common street criminal? Hm? Then hand over the mini-Snickers.

4. Activities. Soccer. T-ball. Dance lessons. More soccer. Music lessons. Swim team. Holy cats. Can't a kid get some time to watch cartoons and pick his nose? How are children these days supposed to indulge their natural tendencies toward sloth and time-wasting?

Activities remind me too much of work. You have to show up, be on time, be dressed appropriately, pay attention. What ever happened to sitting on the couch in PJs before your parents got up, eating raw pop-tarts and drinking chocolate milk, watching "I Love Lucy reruns" and trimming your doll's hair with nail scissors? True, nobody ever gave me a trophy for that, but it made me who I am today. Ok, forget that last bit.

5. Miley Cyrus.

6. Birthday party gift bags. When I was a child and you had a birthday party, YOU got the presents. What kid wants to see other people happy on their birthday when by all rights it should be a Roman carnival of indudgence dedicated solely to THEM? Nobody, that's who. Guests BRING presents. Guests don't GET presents.

7. Food allergies. You aren't a kid today unless your parents are freaking out about something you can't eat. The days of Tang and Twinkies for lunch are gone forever, I suppose.

(Some kids have truly serious allergies disclaimer blah blah blah. I was actually thinking of a specifically nutty woman I know who thinks her kid is allergic to practically everything including wheat, rice, chicken, tofu and apples...when I am pretty sure that the kid is just sick of mom's long-simmering rage against practically everything in life. And I miss Twinkies and Tang.)

8. Drugs. OK, Mir. I took this one off because, you're right it was kind of judgy and mean and the whole subject is just a minefield of touchy emotions and despair.

9. AP classes. I went to high school back in the 1970s. Teachers were happy if you just showed up and weren't zorked out of your mind on drugs. If you turned in work, any kind of work, that was good for at least a B.

Now high schoolers are expected to know stuff and to achieve and to strive for things. All this actual learning and doing most certainly cuts into their time that would be better spent hanging out by the lockers and making fun of other people's outfits, as we so enjoyed doing. Kids today just don't know what they are missing.

10. Ok, Mir, forgive me. I was trying to be funny and I was a little mean. I just want the kids to be happy, really. Start by sparing them from ugly footwear and Miley Cyrus, and we can work from there.


Mir said...

Um. Wow.

Because I know and adore you, Suebob, I don't think this is meant to come off all judgy and mean. But it kinda comes off judgy and mean. :(

Anonymous said...

I am so with you on #9. While I want my kids to do well and all, times are such that they can't fart in school without a parent willing to log onto the internet knowing about it. And it's all about standards, and not really learning anything.

I can't imaging the pressure . . .

If not a mother... said...

1. Crocs are gross no matter who they're on.

2. Back in the 1980's (because I am a child of the 1980's and early 1990's so my response will be somewhat skewed), when my mom worked, she was on a rotating schedule with other moms to be "the mom of the afternoon". All their managers were willing to let them leave early 1 or 2 times a week to do this.

3. Amen.

4. My parents specifically limited the number of activities. Girl Scouts, ballet classes, orchestra for a few years. Later just softball. If I stopped liking it, I could stop going.

5. Amen.

6. Gift bags? there were small tiny party favors and that was it - if you were lucky.

7. NEVER heard of anyone being allergic to food. There was a girl who had type 1 diabetes, but she was treated as normal as possible with juice and supplies in the nurse's office where she went three time a day.

8. Drugs were illicit ones. ;)

9. I, um, took AP classes. Oh, the horrors of calculus.

10. I am glad I was born in 1976 and not any later. Seriously. The things kids have today? Um, no thanks. (A good reason behind my not wanting my own.)

Bethany said...

I'm with you! Kids these days are TOO BUSY, go into school TOO EARLY (preschool, prek, finally kinder lol!) and the crocs? I don't like them either!

mar said...

man, i wish i'd seen the unedited version.
perhaps i wouldn't be such a misanthrope if i'd had to go to daycare, but i don't think it'd be any better. s doesn't understand why i freak out about people (case in point, the geeksquad guy coming into the apartment today & s not being here)

Mir said...

You know I love you, girl. I just didn't want this to turn into a "well you don't have kids so how dare you judge" kind of thing. Many of your points (before and after) are true, but some of us parents grappling with these issues aren't necessarily ready to make light. That's all I meant.

And yes, all of the additional "complications" with today's kids do seem to open the field to ever-increasing nuttiness from weird parents. Agreed. ;)

Pea said...

Crocs are so horrible.....

jessica said...

Suebob, I am with on everything - except the Crocs (which puts me in the minority, I know). I love Crocs. I love them because they are ugly, because OMG my furry ones are so warm and comfy! and because the twins love them and wear them without complaint.

And I am judgy and mean. And I've never been a fan of children - or people, for that matter. (clarifier - I LOVE little tiny babies, and I actually like teens, sometimes, but children - I'm good, thanks.)

So you know that God, or The Universe, or whatever just HAD to send me the love of my life - complete with FOUR kids at the worst possible ages - twin toddlers and two girls, 12 and 14 (the DRAMA years for girls).

But, I'm doing what I can, and I do so knowing that not in a million years could I do it full-time. NEVER. I am too judgy and too mean and too anxious and too neurotic.

And I have to pick my battles. The girls will never like me - I came along at the worst possible time in their development - and I am the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of their mother. So, while I wish they liked me, they don't, and really, it's ok.

But I have a secret - I ADORE those little twin people who destroy my house on the weekends. They are loving and sweet and insane. And they look so freaking cute in their Crocs.

Stillie said...

I have to disagree with you 100% on #9. Maybe I'm just jaded because my school district sucks like no other. If I actually blogged about what was really going on in public schools...
I guess what I'm saying is that if your teachers actually teach in a country governed by NCLB, you must live in a pretty nice place. I teach AP English in a struggling inner-city and, trust me, I'm not allowed to teach anything I want unless every teacher agrees to do it too, I can't use my own methods, I'm not allowed to fail anyone regardless of how many assignments are half-assed or ignored (yes, you read that correctly), and my admins are tying my hands. I haven't taught these kids anything. You just wouldn't believe it...

katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Overflowing Brain said...

I think you hit the nail right on the head, though I don't have a huge issue with the crocs. They're hideous, yes, but they're comfortable. Don't judge me.

HALLOWEEN has been ruined. It started when I was a kid and suddenly, costumes at school weren't allowed. And then our halloween carnival became a "fall festival" where costumes were also, NOT ALLOWED. It's just sad.

Let kids be kids. They only get to be young and carefree once. If you make them careful, it's like stealing their childhood.

Suzanne said...

I don't care. I love the Mary Jane crocs. I hope this won't stop you from being friends with me. I also feel compelled to defend AP classes, as without them I could not have attended NYU since we didn't have enough money to pay for 4 years there, but I used a year of AP credit to graduate in 3. If I didn't go to NYU, I would not have met Husband. Very bad.

I'll drink some Tang and eat some Twinkies in some sort of peace-friendship ritual (with pleasure, as I also love both) while smashing Miley Cyrus records to make it up to you.

Mignon said...

Can I please add overscheduled playdates??? Just the word makes me shrivel up and die a little. How about letting your children play with each other (if there's more than one), and if you don't have more than one, maybe you should, if you feel the need to have your child invite friends to their house Every Day.

Actually I'm just complaining about two families who are stamping on my last nerve right now.

And video games. Hate video games.

Lisa said...

I'm a child of the 70's and agree with all of this. Love it! I guess kids today don't know what they're missing since they've never known anything but schedules and "harvest festivals", but it really makes me glad I grew up when I did. (And both my parents had to work so I got to stay with my grandparents during the day and loved it! Would have HATED day care!)

Karen Bodkin said...

Amen to all of it, especially crocs. I wish I'd seen your unedited version though. What I just read seemed really tongue-in-cheek.
What I'm really afraid of is drugs - drugs have changed drastically since I was in school and they seem to hit the younger grades sooner now.
It's difficult being a parent when you're talking about the worry factor and the communication factor!

Unknown said...

I am totally with you on not wanting to be a kid these days. I barely made it through adolescence the first time. Not because life was tough, but because I was such a "good" kid - preschool at 3, lots of extracurriculars, and AP classes galore. By the time I got to college I was exhausted!

So now....

I give out full-size candy bars for Halloween. (Makes the kids smile BIG - and then it's the parents' problem.)

I practice sloth at every opportunity.

I still eat poptarts raw - for lunch.

And I wear crocs.

Because I CAN.

~annie said...

Hm. Wishing I'd seen the first version. It's your blog and your point of view, not a personal attack on anyone.

Even "cleaned up" any one of these points could be construed as "judgy and mean" if the reader happens to be sensitive on a particular subject.

If I don't agree with, or like, what I'm reading I simply go elsewhere for my entertainment.

Amy Bradstreet said...

We have crocs--it's Maine, it's often wet and slushy and we garden and we live near the beach, so shoes that clean up fast and are easy on easy off, great. We don't wear them out, just around the house. Oh, and two words: plantar fasciitis.

We unschool--the kids have never, ever been to daycare, preschool or any kind of school. They get lots of time for pjs, raw pop tarts (or homemade bread and jam), Heroes on Roku and time to blog and make digital movies. And we crank out a very pagan, very witchy, sweet-filled Halloween to boot.

Food allergies can be real. The people I know who claim their kid has them? Those people drive me insane. It's everything, can't this, can't that. But those same folks? Same ones I spy eating the Oreos and Twinkies at the homeschool Halloween party. Doi!

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