Thursday, September 25, 2008

How They Change

So far the changes that I've seen in my children have been good ones. Learning to speak, learning to walk, learning to relieve themselves with little or no help, ya know... progress. Sure, we miss their little quirks of speech that disappear as they get the hang of things, but it's not such a big deal, we're watching history in the making.

Friends with children in already in school had told us that it changes your little darlings. That was Worry No. 1 for The Queen Mum. How could this be though? Nursery school was such a good experience for our little Bugga. So much so that J-Man couldn't wait to go. But... they were right. After the initial shock of it all wore off, and the sensory overload slowly evolved into a set of coping skills, our little girl turned into, well... a little girl.

Before, she was this abstract construct made up of bits of The Missus and myself, mixed well and rendered with her own sweetness as the glue that held it all together. A tom-boy that would only wear dresses who lived in a world inhabited by characters from books and movies.

Now, she's already become a product of pop culture. I was flipping through a catalog with her at bedtime tonight and her reactions to everything were either:

SWEET!
or GROSS!

And every reaction was followed by that superlatively annoying "right?" that all the young people put at the end of their sentences these days. It's all I can do to keep my transmission from slipping into Crumudgeon. (which is sort of like sitting in park with a talk radio station on and door checking people that annoy you)

"I dunno, Sweetie? Is it sweet?"

I suppose I shouldn't begrudge her the love of popular culture. Mine has served me well. It's not everybody my age that can toss out a quote from Andy Griffith to gain the approval of people decades older than myself. I think mostly it was when she saw a pink inflatable guitar and said, "Hey COOL! A Hanna Montana guitar!" Yeeeeeesh! I threw up in my mouth a little.

Ah well, life's no fun if you're not a part of the herd at that age.

Dear Miss O,
Please feel free to ditch the herd at the very first inkling that you want to do so. I don't know what the equivalent of green hair and Dead Kennedys pins will be for your generation, but feel free to embrace it. Grama and Grampa were pretty strict with Uncle Juior and me. They tried to keep us looking respectable. They wanted only pleasant sounds to issue from our speakers. So what did we do? Drugs. Lots of drugs. All I wanted was a stinkin Metallica t-shirt, but drugs were way easier to hide so I did that instead.

If Hanna Montana makes you happy then by all means, be a fan. I'll buy the crap for you, you can croon away to all her hit songs. I can always go in the shop and blast Anthrax until I feel right again. But don't you ever stay with the herd if you feel like doing something else. Those swine will trample you the first chance they get. And if you get away from them, they'll continue to squeal at you because they'll be intensely jealous of your enjoyment of non-herd-sanctioned culture.

Just make sure that you do whatever it is you want to do with your life. Flipping the bird is totally allowed if you're flipping off the herd. All my favorite people in this world are decidedly non-herd. It's totally OK to cut the fence and see what's out there in the woods. I'll loan you the cutters. I'll welcome the day you opt for (insert modern equivalent of green hair and Dead Kennedys pins) because really, except for shrooms drugs aren't worth it.

Be your own self. Because your own self is so heart-wrenchingly beautiful that I tear up to even think of it.

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4 comments:

Jill said...

growing up sucks! but then again, Its nice to finally not have homework, or worry about my wearing uncomfortable clothes just to be wit the herd. Ilike my maternity pants just fine (post prego that is)

Julie said...

I think Hanna Montana is taking over the world. She's everywhere....even in gas stations. My ten year old neighbor is obsessed with her and convinced us to listen to her cd for a thirty minute car ride last. It was horrible but whatever.

Anyways, all of that is a bit irrelevant and I just wanted to say nice post. entertained me.

ChurchPunkMom said...

oh.. thank you for reminding me a little of why i love homeschooling..

i'm so glad my kids are free to be whoever and whatever they want to be, consequence free.

God bless your little girl. :-)

thatgirl said...

Oh my Gosh, that letter to Miss O was wonderful! I love the line about the Metallica shirt and drugs - you're a good writer. I also love the acceptance of her need to fit in and the encouragement of her independence. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I had those parents too! I think we'll all be pretty good parents - because we' all seem to be putting deep thought and soul searching into our parenting - we're pooling up knowledge and experience and possible outcomes and the result just has to be better than parenting via fear of the unknown.