Friday, March 21, 2008

Childhood Lessons

We start out with dysfunction from an early age, don't we? I've been thinking about how many childhood tactics I used to use and how many are still valid and useful at this age...Hmmmmmm.

I've mastered the art of 'the dirty look'...you know, that look that you give the schoolyard bully... before you run away. Now I give it to The Ancient One whenever she really pisses me off and then I storm out of the room. She knows my look cuz I learned it from HER for pity's sake! It's just one tool in my arsenal of overreactions caused by middle age!

I'm not above using 'the tantrum' when presented with a yung'un service person who acts like they were just tossed off the turnip truck. It starts wit
h the dirty look, then morphs into the, "Just how long HAVE you been a waitress, DEAR!?" These tantrums can only be verbalized at the END of an unsatisfactory restaurant situation because they'll damn sure spit on your food after they've picked it up off the floor and put it back on your plate in the kitchen (I was a waitress once!).

I never mastered the 'share' lesson as a child. I've always mistrusted that instinct and I know why now. When Sal and I were wee ones, our mother and a few other mothers in the neighborhood sat all their wee ones on the floor in a circle and passed around soda crackers and one cup of KoolAid. We were thrilled to death and practiced 'the share' between us. What we didn't know was that those bitch mothers of ours were doing it because one of us had the mumps AND the measles and they thought it would be better if we all got sick at the same time so that it would run its course through our group in a timely manner, thus not inconveniencing our bitch mothers any more than was necessary. You can probably tell that it WORKED or I wouldn't be so bitterly retelling the tale!

I was also waaaaaaaaaay too competitive as a child to get the 'plays well with others' lesson either. I wanted to kick their asses, and I have no idea where that came from, as The Ancient One, who was The Stunning One back then couldn't have cared less about competition of any kind...wait...I take that back...she won all the handsome young men and kicked ass in that competition! Consequently, I am NOT a team player, a cheerleader or a club joiner. I AM a damn good friend though.

Inside/Outside voices...what in the HELL is that? When you wanted to carry on a conversation out in west Texas if the wind was blowing, you used your inside/outside/down-the-road/hollerin' voice or you'd never get your point across. I've had to be restrained before when I've seen a mother who has no business being one, quietly respond to a SCREAMING toddler in a public place with, "Please use your inside voice, Honey." My daddy woulda just gone out and gotten a switch from the mimosa tree in the backyard and laid it across my fanny once or twice (not too hard...just enough to scare the shit out of me). But, that was 1956. My, how times have changed.

The Ancient One is pretty happy about the way we turned out, I must say. We just don't remind her that she had practically nothing to do with that because our maid, Dorothy is the one who really raised us. Hehehe.

Thank GAWD for childhood lessons. They still serve us well,
KK

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That's so true. Seeing as how mother slept every day until 11AM, was never at home when we got home from school and was out partying almost every night - we were raised by a five-foot tall, 300-pound black woman named Dorothy. She was a great mother though, look at us.

The Stunning One taught us good stuff when we could catch her though. We have really good taste in art, decor and poker chips (they must be clay). We had the best of both worlds. Mother taught us how to fold a napkin, which professions were preferable in a husband, and how to hold in a fart when in public. Dorothy taught us how to fight back at the schoolyard, that everything tasted better cooked in bacon grease and that survival of the prettiest led to fluffy, empty heads.

When we got sick mother made us hot lemonade. It was almost worth getting sick just to have her come in and give us that wonderful, warm cup of lemons, water and sugar. It was actually pretty smart of her and what KK refers to as 'the bitch mothers' to make all the neighborhood kids sit in a circle and share the Kool-Aid when the mumps started going around. They knew that mumps in particular and measles were dangerous the older you got and they wanted us to get those diseases while really young because then you were immune to them for the rest of your life. You can die from those diseases if you are old! These days kids are so protected from germs and normal airborn parasites that they have weak little immune systems that can't fight off the germs in a ladybug's sneeze. We, on the other hand, can get pneumonia and walk around telling everybody we have a temporary cough. And it's true.

So what have I learned from all of this? Three things stick out. Don't be afraid to let your kids roll around in the dirt...trust in the wisdom of old black women - and trust in Allah but tie up your camel.

Happy Easter,
SalGal

3 comments:

Mental P Mama said...

Wait, am I your long lost sister? This post sounds like me in therapy. Only my mother didn't know a clay poker chip from a plastic one. At least that's what I remember. You two are the best!

Snooty Primadona said...

OMG! I so totally agree with everything you both said. However, I was a bitch mother. My kids were little BEFORE they had the chicken pox shot, so when a friends kids got the pox going, we invited ourselves over & I had the kids all share popscicles.

The way I had it figured, they could be over the chicken pox & healed of all scars before Easter. Fortunately, I was right and it turned out that I did something right for once.

Debbie in NC said...

Definitely agree with the wisdom of old black people! My Mom used that tiny little hurt like hell switch occasionally. Usually just made us find it, then said "If you ever do that again!"

I thought I had done really well raising my son. But, now for some reason, at the age of 21, he is making some of the damn dumbest decisions and I have no clue!

Whatta ya gonna do? Love you guys!