Amy Vansant is a writer and shameless labradoodle mommy. You can read her published works and humor blogs at Kid Free Living- a site which serves as an escape valve for the child-free, empty-nesters and those just pretending there isn’t any one covered in Popsicle juice tugging on their pant leg. Mmmm? What’s that? Blond critter with wild eyes and a purple mouth? I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.
A friend posted an interesting article from CBS news called “Why my Child will be Your Child’s Boss.” In short, the author, Suzanne Lucas, talked about how in Switzerland, teachers regularly give 3-year old boys and girls SAWS and send them into the woods to play with wolverines and cook hot dogs over open flames. They actually have a “forest teacher,” like a gym teacher only with deadly objects instead of rubber balls (pretty sure that’s the plot of My Bloody Valentine 16 if not, it should be. Call me.)
Here’s a quote from the piece:
“If this trend in the U.S. continues, American children will become more crippled in their ability to make their own decisions (mom is always around), manage risk (at what age do you become magically able to use a saw?) or overcome a setback (you learn nothing when mom and dad sue the school district to get your grade changed).”
I don’t have kids, but I’m totally on her side, which I can say without hesitation — except for ONE SECOND while I carry the dog down the stairs so Mr. Clumsy doesn’t trip again! There you go Stumble McTripperson! You want to go back up now? Oh. Well, all right, baby, here we go! Wheeee!
OK, sorry about that. What was I saying? Oh right, American kids are bratty little wimps who think the world should be handed to them on a plate, and why not? It ALWAYS HAS BEEN. Tell a kid to clean his room nowadays and he’ll text a grievance to Amnesty International. And furthermore—
Excuse me, just a sec… The dog is making this adorable little huffing noise he does when he’s trying to get my attention. What’s that StinkyButt? Does baby want a treat? Just a second… there you go… belly rubs all around! Yea!
Alrighty, where was I? Oh, right, little momma’s boy-crybaby-BRATS.
I have an example. My one niece is tough as nails because she was the first and Daddy was around to scare the beejeezus out of her with a look. Her younger sister grew up while Daddy was on the road and Mommy DOTES on her. If she can’t have candy-coated chicken nuggets for every meal she starts screwing up that little cherub face and the waterworks start, because that ploy always works on Mommy.
But when Aunt Amy is there, it’s a different story.
“Not me, Chica,” I tell her, doing my best scared-straight ‘you’re on MY cell block now’ face.™ “Aunt Amy doesn’t play that. If you think I’m going to carry you home when I WARNED you this walk would be too long for you, you and your impractical toddler shoes have another thing coming. Now, it looks like your puppy has something in his paw. He limped once just a second ago, but you probably missed it, what with all your “but I’m only three! My tongue is swelling from thirst! blah blah blah” whining. So I’m going to quickly jog him home. Does little gimpy want a treat to make that paw feel all better? Yes? Yes, he does? Ok, kid, I’m taking the dog. I’ll see you back at the house. Why don’t you quit your crying and drop and give me 20 before I go?”
And you can believe that walk made my niece a tougher person. Later, she thanked me for teaching her a life lesson. “Aunt Amy,” she said, “Thanks SOOOOOooo much for punishing my lazy feet. Although I may never again be able to walk without this little hitch in my giddy up, I will figuratively walk tall for the rest of my life. Bless you for your tough love.”
Or something like that. I wasn’t totally listening because the dog had gotten a bit of his bone caught up in his cheek. It’s SO cute when that happens! He chews and chews and finally he walks over and puts his face in my lap so I can push it out of his cheek and into his mouth. Just adorable.
And you don’t see HIM crying about it.