Saturday, July 5, 2008

Box Fans in Windows and no Walkie-Talkies

Well, it's happened. I've finally become one of THOSE parents. You know, the kind that like to remind their children how good they have it? I catch myself doing it all the time. And once my mouth is open, there's no stopping the flow of crap that spews forth into one of the ears of my oldest daughter and right out the other one. My mouth can't help itself, it's got a mind of it's own. My brain is saying, "Ok, she's not listening, you're wasting your breath. Plus, you sound like a complete and total idiot." But my mouth is still moving as if Shakesperean poetry is swirling around on my tounge. It's inherent with being a parent, I think...the bullshit you try to feed your kids - those ungrateful little heathens.

When J complains that her furniture is dated - that it's for little kids and she's not a little kid anymore. I tell her about how when I was a kid I was LUCKY to even have furniture. We piled our clean clothes on the floor next to our beds. We sat on old milk crates to watch TV. Then I go on and on about how we lived in a old house with no air conditioning and how we put a box fan in the window (J doesn't even know what a box fan IS!)... but that didn't cool things off, it just moved the hot air around enough to dry your sweat. And when she wants a new comforter for her bed she gets the story about how we didn't even HAVE comforters on our beds when we were kids. It was so dang hot in the house that we slept on a sheet with barely any clothes on to stay cool. She should be more thankful for what she has and quit complaining about how she doesn't ever have enough!

On the flip side, I think it's our fault as parents that our kids are so clueless. We were raised in low-income households often going without the material things our friends had. And we remember how we felt as kids, seeing others enjoying their "stuff" while we played with dirt and sticks and fire (if you were with my brother). So, as adults, we vowed to give our children better lives than what we had...and we translate that into material things rather than love and attention and security and crap like that. I am guilty. I work hard to make money to buy stuff...to live more comfortably than necessary. And, although I bitch and moan about how my kid doesn't appreciate anything, I turn around and buy her more crap just because I can. What the heck is wrong with me?

Right now my unappreciative, disrespectful ingrate of a pre-teen is grounded from her friends, cell phone and computer for the weekend. When I was her age, I didn't even have a walkie-talkie or a typewriter to be grounded from! We were grounded from stepping outside of our bedroom. And, there was no television in our bedroom. We had to sit in our hot, muggy room with only a hand-me-down radio serving as a connection to the outside world. We were lucky if we were allowed to have dinner! And, I can't even get my kids to eat - I have to bribe them!

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