Here’s one of the great things about raising pets: sure, your lack of training may turn them into ill behaved mischief makers, but it’s much harder to really screw them up psychologically than it is kids. Teach them sit, stay, and a few basic manners and for the most part, you have harmony.
Kids, on the other hand, are almost impossible not to mess up. You either neglect them or spoil them, demean them or overly praise them, treat them like Oliver Twist or Veruca Salt. No matter what you do, you’re doing it wrong, at least according to half the people you poll.
Which is why I never ask for advice.
Take yesterday, for example. My husband surprised me with a pair of Katy Perry tickets for myself and my daughter. I admit I had my reservations about this endeavor- I mean, I like the music but I also know exactly what she’s singing about. My daughter thinks the California girls are “sipping ginger juice”, if you know what I mean. But she loves the music. It’s just fun.
What sealed the deal for me was my sister telling me that when she was six her favorite song was “Afternoon Delight,” which she regaled our conservative New England neighbors with every afternoon in the mid-seventies. If she got away with that and still turned out normal, I figure a little Katy Perry grrrrl power heavily monitored by an overly cautious mom would be ok too.
So we got there, settled into our seats, and then heard “pssssst…..” I turned around, and there, not five feet away, was one of Zoe’s best buddies from school, sitting there with her mom. This happens to be one of my favorite women at the school, so I took this as a sign I wasn’t embarking on some moral slippery slope that would end up in a cloud of cigarette smoke and vodka on a stage in Vegas 15 years from now.
“I didn’t know you were going!” I said in amazement.
“Well, I didn’t exactly share it with the world,” she said. Then we agreed not to tell anyone. And here I am blogging about it. Sorry about that, “Penelope.” We have nothing to be ashamed of.
I debriefed my daughter the next morning, to see if there was any damage control I needed to deal with. “What do you remember about the show?” I asked cheerily, hoping she wouldn’t ask what that scene with the brownies was all about.
“Well, Katy likes candy,” she said.
“And she had a lost cat named Kitty Purry, but she looked for her and finally found her at the end of the show.”
“And- this was the best part- did you remember that song with all the big steaks floating around in the air?”
I nodded, because who could forget two 7-foot steaks flying over your head.
She paused for dramatic effect. “I wish BRODY could have seen that!”
So the concert was about responsible pet ownership and remembering to bring home a doggie bag. That’s my girl!
Vicki in Michigan says
I had many qualms about Barbie, and about encouraging my small daughter to buy into that sort of body image, clothes-craziness, etc, etc, etc.
I finally realized that by forbidding Barbie, I was only making her more attractive, and Barbie finally joined our household.
Shortly thereafter, my daughter showed me Barbie, jaybird nekkid. Barbie was bent double, head near her knees, and her arms (straight, of course) were perpendicular to her body, sticking out past her legs.
Holding Barbie by one ankle, my daughter said “Look, Mom! Letter A!”
It turned out that Barbie was just one more manipulative……………. 🙂
I did make sure that we had a range of Barbies (not all blonde!), and we had police officer Barbie and astronaut Barbie…………. And my daughter turned out fine (even though Brittney Spears [“Hit Me, Baby One More Time”] eventually joined Barbie as part of the household)………………..
While it’s hard to get every last detail of parenthood right, I think if parents are conscious about it, and work to do it well, the kids will generally be ok. A lot of it we know from dog training. Vigilance, consistency, positive training……
tabitha w says
Does anyone remember the song “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard”….
My teen foster girls would dress like girls with “milkshakes” and shake their thang out in the backyard to that song for hours one summer…Drove me crazy.
They KNEW what the song was about, and that worried me that they were so “in” to a song about sex and overall “mean girl” attitude. I am proud to say that all but one graduated college, WITHOUT shaking their milkshakes.
I agree, parenting, no matter what age, is about consistency and the all powerful squirt bottle. 🙂
Love love love it!!!!! I’m not a HUGE Katy Perry fan, (I don’t actually own any of her CDs, but know every song on the radio) but I did win tickets off of the radio and the concert I am attending is in the middle of September. It looks like a total blast, so I am excited!
Love that your daughter wishes Brody could have seen the big steaks!
Lisa W says
You have raised her right!!! (Not that there was any doubt…) That Brody comment is the best!
Aw, Katy Perry did Sesame Street (well, okay, I know it never got to air). Name one bad influence that did Sesame Street! I grew up singing the disco song, “Brick House” (she’s built like a brick (significant pause) house/Mighty mighty/just lettin’ it all hang out) and I and my friends are SUCH straight arrows. And think of all the little girls (and boys) who sang “She bop,” by Cyndi Lauper and are now probably Tea Party members.
By Word of Mouth Musings says
OK banned Katy Perry after her ET song, the whole
hit me with your love pen
fill me with your poison
I wanna be a victim …
but I know all the words to I kissed a girl and so do my kids 😉
Pup Fan says
That last comment from your daughter is priceless!
Hawk aka BrownDog says
Hi Dr. V,
Thanks for reminding me what it’s like to be young again! I do so remember asking my mother meanin of something I’d seen or read. My mother’s response was “you’ll understand when you’re older”. 🙂
Come on by,