Friday, January 1, 2010

SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE

During the dim, shadowy past in my teens, I never pondered. I was too busy doing the stuff that was making my mother and father ponder. Now, in my so-called Golden Years, which have me in their iron grip, turning to rust as we speak--I not only ponder, I ruminate, meditate and cogitate. One of the subjects causing me to fall into these philosophical states is the incongruous use parents make of certain sentences. A mother is dragging her child from the middle of a busy street where twenty-five cars have come to a screeching halt...causing 2 near-heart attacks and as much foul language as you are ever likely to encounter. "You KNOW better than that," Mom informs the culprit. Ah, but DID he know better?

What do you think? Can a five-year-old have a death wish? Was he sauntering along toward imminent disaster on purpose? Or, was completely in a dream world looking for a playmate amongst the whizzing fenders? My guess is, the 957 times Mom had said, "Don't go in the street" had gone in one ear and speedily out the other, pausing nowhere in between. One of the dire warnings sent out by a parent when their child is about to smack a companion, dump their milk, bite the dog, or fill the bathroom caommode with enough tissue to wrap the earth once around, is, "I'm not in the mood for that today." Doesn't that presuppose that at some later time Mama will throw caution to the winds, kick up her heels and announce she is now IN the mood and her offspring may feel free to smack, dump, bite and reel the tissue off the roll with abandon? The kid could feel justified in trying again tomorrow---several times--and every day thereafter until he turns twenty-one. When we ask a question we expect an answer, but not always, especially in the parent/child relationship. Remember, "How would you like me to give you something to cry about?" (This is not used much anymore as the threat alone may mean jail time.)It is interesting to imagine a possible answer. Here's one I'm glad I didn't have the nerve to use with my own mom who wore her ever present switch in a side-holster. "Oh, I would love it! Be creative! Bring it on! There's nothing I like better than crying." Parents ask unanswerable questions of older children too. Have you ever heard a mother ask, "What am I, a slave around here?" Any response will earn detention in years. The absolute corker of all parental inquiries is, "How many times do I have to tell you?" this is obviously a problem of higher mathematics; so high, in fact that it is unreachable by the brain of any human being that has ever lived. Neither parent nor child has the answer, thus we are doomed to hearing it repeated in every language for all time. A child is fairly sure he isn't suppose to answer these questions, but by the time he is old enough to be certain, he finds himself looking down at a very short person, saying, "You know better than that."

Sound familiar

5 comments:

  1. Audrey, one of my biggest regrets is never meeting your mom. The more I hear about here the more I like her. My mom was sharp too. She made 'the Amazing Creskin' look mundane. The army needed her at Guantanamo to stare the detainees in the eyes till they admit everything! I hope I've been half the mom she was. Thank God my kids were not near the kid I was!
    Debbie

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  2. Audrey, you are so funny! I think this blog post should be the intro to at least one child-rearing book, or the book 'PARENTING FOR DUMMIES' !

    I remember as pre-school teacher I was frustrated with some of the children one day and actually uttered the words " why don't you act your age?" and promptly apologized as I remembered they WERE acting their age!It was the teacher ( me) who needed to remember she was dealing with 4 year olds acting every bit their cute age!

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  3. Your post has beautiful pictures that make me wanting to be there to see it in person.

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