Saturday, March 28, 2009

Suck It Up, Babies

Every generation seems to think the next crop of kids is spoiled. You know it was some middle-aged parent imparting wisdom on their entitled and whiny kid, muttering the words "up hill both ways in the snow." Kids always think they have it hard and the older, wiser adults are always compelled to dispel the myth that things have gotten tougher.

I should know, I was that kid once. Now I'm that adult.

When I sent the kids outside to play today in 80 degree temps -- the first beautiful day that allowed us to enjoy the great outdoors -- within minutes I get...

"Mooooom, it's hottttttt out here."
"Mommmmeeeeeee, can I have an umbrella? The sun is on my face!"


It made me think back to my own childhood and wonder if we seemed so fragile to those who grew up before us. While life seems to get more complicated for kids as time moves on, the luxuries they enjoy create an expectation that things should always be comfortable.

I remember getting sunburns so bad, I had to go to bed for two days.
I remember standing in line at Disney World in humid unbearable temps, wearing a long-sleeve turtle neck so I wouldn't get burned again.
I remember being eleven years old and delivering newspapers to 54 houses in our neighborhood and ripping my pants right off because they stuck to the freezing chain link fence that we used to jump over to take a short cut.
I remember a time when kids would walk to school the few blocks and not have parents pull up in some parade they call a carpool lane.
I remember when baby proofing meant a smack on the hand when a kid reached for a cabinet or hot stove. And a bump on the head meant "they won't do THAT again."
I remember a time when not only could you not pause live TV, you watched what was on when it was on. There were no requests. There were three networks -- pick one.
I remember when remotes had wires. Or worse -- you had to actually get up to change the channel.
I remember lying down in the back of the station wagon playing spaceship with my brother. No seat belts.
I remember when you could only call someone at home or work. And if they were on the phone, you got the annoying busy signal. If they weren't home, you tried again later -- no messages, just lots of ringing phones.
I remember when you liked a boy, you could call their house and hang up. No one saw your number and they certainly didn't hit a couple of digits to call you right back. (I apologize to the mother of the one boy I liked for six years of my childhood.)
I remember when a parent said no, it really meant no. And when they threatened to 'turn this car around,' they turned the car around.
I remember when time-outs were used exclusively in sporting events and kids were sent to the store to grab parents' cigarettes.
I remember when popcorn had to be cooked either in a designated popper or on the stove top. (Man I longed for Jiffy Pop.)
I remember when cashiers had to type in prices for grocery items and moms could finish an entire gossip mag while waiting in line.
I remember when you went on vacation, you were actually away from it all and couldn't be reached by cell, text or email.
I remember when people didn't want to get a call from work, they just didn't pick up the phone.
I remember when toys didn't have bells and whistles and our imaginations were necessary.
I remember when Lite Brite was high tech.
I remember when schools allowed things like Dodge Ball, thinking it built character and not damaged a child's psyche.
I remember how a girl could enter her teens playing with Barbies and not worrying about things reserved for adults.
I remember when childhood was simple.

What do you remember?

I wonder what our kids will be shoving down the throats of the generation after them. Will they be reminding them that cars couldn't fly and they actually had to physically go to school and not just learn by firing up the latest technology?

Should be fun to see.

9 comments:

Mary E. Morgan said...

Jackie, your father remembers that the year his mother, your grandmother was born..1898, they wantede to close the patten office, because everthing that had been invented was invented. We also remember when Tootsie Roll Pops were 2 cents. Love you and love your blog

D said...

I love this post, especially this one you wrote: "I remember when you liked a boy, you could call their house and hang up. No one saw your number and they certainly didn't hit a couple of digits to call you right back." Ha ha. Love that one.

What I remember is being a kid and just playing with the neighborhood kids and not having your mom have to schedule playdates, like I do now with my son, worrying if they don't go well the other mom will think less of you and your kid. And, you didn't have to worry about your kids playing outside (without you...and of course I don't mean for really young kids) for fear they could be kidnapped. Maybe it's just me being a paranoid mom but our times now are just so different. :(

Alison Bryer said...

I remember that along with my long sleeve shirt to avoid those Disney sunburns, I also had to have my nose painted white with zinc oxide.
I also remember a time when you could bring your child's friend along for a weekend trip and send that child home with a broken thumb or bee stings and not worry that the parents would sue you...

Sarah said...

I remember running around the neighborhood in the dark wearing black clothing playing flashlight tag. My parents didn't have to worry. I was somewhere in the neighborhood. If they yelled loud enough they could find me. No worries about kidnapping, being hit by a car, etc. Worst case senerio was that I'd get poison ivy from hiding in the bushes.

marina said...

I love this post too. I remember when the street lights came on it was time to come home. I don't remember having so much homework all the time when I was so young. Also at the grocery store the checkout people would take the groceries out of the cart for you. And when my mom forgot her checkbook I would stand there and wait while mom ran home to get it! I remember sleeping with my head on moms lap while she drove somewhere. I remember finding my own friends on the street and not having scheduled playdates. Things are different thats for sure!

Veronica Lee said...

Hi and welcome to MBC! Great blog.

momwithfaithandhope said...

I remember riding my bike in the pouring rain almost a mile to school at the ripe age of 8 or 9. A little rain never hurt! I remember wearing a key on my so I could let myself in and out while my parents were at work. I remember getting our first VHS machine, DVD, what?! And in the car??? I remember riding in the front seat of the car, unbelted, in my daddy's lap - oh, and steering! I remember the 29 cent hamburger joint, that I believe was the 19 cent one before that. I remember Sesame Street, the Smurfs and Mr. Rogers. Wiggles, who? Barney? Dora? Backyardigan's? I remember when water only came from the faucet. Bottle water was for the fancy real estate offices that had cones for cups. I remember a banana seat bike with no helmet. No such thing as batteries to be charged for jeeps and ATV's. I remember roller skates with four wheels. I remember knee-high socks with knickers - YIKES! THOSE WERE THE DAYS. . .

Paula Perry said...

what a great post. As for the umbrellas, i think it all comes from the fact that your daughter is Tawianese...as here EVERY one walks around with an umbrella when its hot...or even just when there is a little bit of sun. (maybe not but i find it funny that they all wanted their umbrellas up, i would never have thought of that when i was a kid, umbrellas are for rain no?)

Pam said...

I remember toys that today would be outlawed for a variety of reasons, chemistry sets, rubber darts you shot at each other, easy bake ovens that took 2 hours to cook a dime size cake, shrinky dinks. Okay maybe heating plastic up in the oven wasn't the smartest concept, but we survived.

I remember when having tons of energy was just attributed to being a kid, not ADD ( no disrepect to kids who really face physical issues, I just think this particular diagnosis has been abused.)

I remember roller skating with no kneepads or a helmet and blasting my boom box.

I remember coming up with adventures with my friends, no hight tech toys, just our imaginations.

I remember playing until dark, and watching the fireflies comes out(Virginia)

I remember really knowing my neighbors, they were an extended part of our family.

Being the youngest, I remember riding on the middle hump in the back of the car, no seat belt.

I remember road trips where you played the license plate game, or board games, long before DVD's, iPods and Nintendo.

I remember eating whatever my parents made for dinner, no special requests. My parents called it a benevolent dictatorship:)

I remember waiting by the radio to tape my favorite songs. And the big click you would always hear on your "mix tape" before each song.

I remember Izod, Jordache jeans, and K-Swiss. Although I had the knock off turtle brand rather than the much cooler Izod alligator.

I remember riding back from the beach in my wet bathing suit, sunburnt, tired and happy.

I remember listening to records with my older brothers.

I remember dip sticks, the Ice Cream truck, and otter pops. The blue ones were always my favorite.

I remember passing notes in class and speaking pig latin to outsmart the teacher...as if they didn't know what we were saying.

I remember crushing on Sean Cassidy and knowing the Grease soundtrack by heart.

I remember thinking there was something lurking in the shadows at the deep end of the swimming pool.

Definitely could keep going, thanks for sparking some great memories Jackie.