I don’t understand why some people complain about the bad language the kids pick up in the car. There is nothing more likely to give me a spurt of joy than hearing Eila holler out from the backseat, MOVE ALONG YOU BASTARDS, THE LIGHT IS GREEN! It’s so frolicsome. I get a kick out of just knowing how much she’s enjoying herself.
Which reminds me of something I just read: bad mom/ good mom quoting Roger Ebert on how children are overly sheltered these days and why can’t we all run through ravines in thunderstorms any more and all that. I totally agreed with everything, until I was thrown for a loop by this:
…we boys would pee behind trees, shrubbery, or garages (“If you run home, your mom might grab you and make you do something”). I forgot to mention that one of the reasons we needed to pee is that when we got thirsty we drank out of garden hoses–our own, and anybody else’s.
Whoa. Do boys not pee behind shrubbery anymore? Because I pee behind shrubbery, and Eila pees behind shrubbery. And when did the memo come out about the garden hoses? We are drinking out of hoses all the time! Are we going to come down with some grotesque disease? Is there a difference between the hose and the tap?
I’m serious. I’ve got the rest of Ebert’s over-protective-lament list covered. Child car seats: check! Bike helmets: check! Bottled water: check! Security guards: I don’t hire my own, but I’m good with them, so check! Sunblock: check! Hand sanitizer: okay, no, unless we’re at the petting zoo, but in that case, check! And childproof bottles: Eila can open them, but sure the house is full of them, so check! But what is this with peeing and hoses? I guess maybe I am raising a free-ish-range kid.
A loosely connected thought. I’ve just completed my annual reading of Pride and Prejudice and my new insight – which seems to me breathtaking though it only concerns me – is that I like Lydia Bennet. Not that I’d want to be Lydia, or even spend much time with her, and not that she could ever replace Lizzie in my heart. I’ll admit she’s pretty stupid. But she is so tremendously good-humoured, and she breezes through life with such a savage sense of fun. And even her narcissism is so unconscious — so artless Austen would say — as hardly to be narcissism at all. She’s like a puppy or something, and who doesn’t like a puppy?