Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thinking I've mellowed (and acknowledging the truth)

For a split second, I thought maybe I've mellowed in the 9 years that I've been a mom.

When I was expecting and soon after N's birth, I was pretty darn militant about natural childbirth and breastfeeding.  G being breech and not cooperating with external version, requiring a c-section, sorta helped calm me down.  Even though I wasn't laboring and pushing I had still had a baby, although under circumstances that I wouldn't have chosen had I been given my way.

M finally stopped nursing (or I cut him off--however you want to look at it) earlier this year.  After nursing him for 36+ months (and the other two for a grand total of something like 64 months), my feelings about breastfeeding have dwindled.  I certainly think breastfeeding is best, but I'm not on my bandwagon about it.

The lessening of my opinion about these things made me temporarily think I was "calming down."

But no.
I very soon realized that I continue to be highly opinionated about other issues that are more in line with where I am, and where my children are, in their lives.

For example, I have found that the general trend in my area of sending one's children through the local public school system for elementary school and then hightailing it to a nearby county for middle school pisses me off to a degree I find difficult to manage at times.

I totally get it.  As much as I support public education, I find my views challenged whenever two grandchildren of a neighbor come over and play with my children in the backyard.  These kids are not bad, but they are uncouth and generally not well managed by their mother (I guess there is a father in the picture....I really don't know), and they have an astounding ability to ramp my children up into a fit of ape-like insanity (as if my children need help in this respect).

If nothing else, this experience serves as a gentle kick-in-the-pants to me.  If I believe it is good for my children to be around other children from all different walks of life in public school, which I do, then I need to accept that this includes the uncouth and generally not well managed among them.  Having just reread To Kill a Mockingbird, I am reminded that Scout and Jem learned a great deal from the Ewells about how to behave (or not) in life.

I completely understand the desire to run off, and I respect a parent's right to make this choice.
But I think you are a coward if you do.
There.  I said it.

(If all of these well-meaning, volunteer-oriented parents who are strong advocates of education would stay where they are, I suspect the local schools would improve.  If everyone who is great and dedicated and knowledgeable runs off, then off course the schools are gonna blow.)

Another example of my lack of mellowness has appeared as N gets ever closer to middle school, and I see the path of her rebelling before me.  I have developed a much stronger opinion of tattoos than I've ever had before.

I have told my children that they can do anything temporary to their bodies that they want---nose rings (which you can take out or allow the hole to close), neon-green dyed hair, mohawk cuts.

But for the love of god, do not get permanent tattoos.
Or if you do, wait until you are 40 (because by then you may have the sense of not making it a neck tattoo or something huge that may hinder your ability to get into whatever field of employment you wish to pursue unless you wish to be an artist or something of that nature in which tattoos are appropriate).

I'm not anti-tattoo in general.  I don't think people who have tattoos are dumb or trashy or anything of the sort.
But I also think that tattooed skin on a 20-something person, which can look very cool, looks very, very terrible on a 50-year-old's skin.  I've seen how my own skin has changed since I turned 35, and I don't even want to think about what another decade of life will do to it.

I also think that people in certain fields, like teachers, doctors, attorneys, judges, nurses, CEOs, are probably not taken as seriously (or hired) if their bodies are covered in tattoos.  I certainly would not want someone who looks like Travis Barker teaching my kids (although if he was f*cking OUTSTANDING I could look past the excessive body art a bit).

Where I live, there seems to be three types of folks:
1. the ones with a dinky little tattoo on their toes (and really why bother if it is gonna be a dot of ink?)
2. the ones with ginormous tattoos covering their arms and legs that cost hundreds of dollars (and really do you not have rent to pay or a car payment?)
3. the people like me who have no tattoos (we are a very, very small group of 4 people).

I have begun to think of it in this regard lately.  The skin is the body's largest organ.  Would you inject dye into your liver or kidney?  Then why into your skin?

This diatribe on uncouthness and body art is clear evidence that
1. my soapbox remains completely intact
2. I have become a full-fledged curmudgeonly old lady.  

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