Most days I look at my kids and think, ‘Are you sure you are my kids? Did they switch you at the hospital?’ Don’t get me wrong, they both look just like me, but it’s only every now and then that their actions or mannerisms scream that my DNA is somewhere inside of them.
Take my son, for example. He is an amazing artist, and every now and then, he’ll stick his tongue out of the corner of his mouth while he’s drawing. He got that from me, and I got that from my dad- DNA. (Yes, I’m saying there’s a stick-your-tongue-out-of-the-corner-of-your-mouth-while-concentrating-on-stuff chromosome.) But then take into account how he can’t sit still while he’s drawing. Spare me the lecture on ADHD please, he’s 7 years old, and today’s kids are used to fast paced everything- learning (“No Child Left Behind” BS), video games, music. If they take a minute to sit down, of course their body or mind is going to fight it. It’s the way of the world today- keep moving or die.
That started me thinking of how different things are today then when I was a kid. Huge differences...
When I Was a Kid: Perfecting the button coordination to keep Mario flying after he grabbed the leaf and got the raccoon hat in Super Mario Brothers 3 was an accomplishment, and if you got to level 5 after only a few days, holy crap, you were awesome.
Today’s Kids: Running through 56 tunnels that all look the same, knowing where you are on the map that requires scrolling over 2 screens to see the whole thing, and killing that bad guy after using your secret stunning potion, stabbing him 47 times in the weak spot under his arm and then performing the upward thrust downward stabbing motion 3 times before he moves his tentacle again, is a normal video game day. Oh, and if you aren’t on level 23 of the newest cool game by day 2, you’re a loser.
When I Was a Kid: I’d leave the house right after breakfast in the summer, have to be back for lunch, leave again, have to be back for dinner, leave again, and be back at dusk for the night. My friends and I roamed all over the neighborhood on our bikes, and as long as I was within shouting distance of my mom, everything was okay.
Today’s Kids: If I can’t see them, it’s too far. No more roaming around the neighborhood; there are sickos out there.
When I Was a Kid: McDonalds was a treat.
Today’s Kids: McDonalds is Thursday night’s meal, plus maybe lunch on Saturday, and breakfast on Monday morning. (Not my family, but in general with society today.) Fast food is now a way of life, not a luxury.
When I Was a Kid: We made mixed tapes of our favorite songs, and if you didn’t want to hear one of them, you had to hit fast forward for 5 minutes to get past it.
Today’s Kids: Hit ‘skip’ on their Ipod and go right to the next song (Okay, maybe I am a little jealous on that one.)
When I Was a Kid: Secrets were told by leaning over to a friend and whispering in their ear, or by passing notes in class.
Today’s Kids: Secrets are told by texting, which are immediately forwarded and then posted on facebook, so 30 seconds after you ‘confide’ in someone, everyone in the school knows.
When I Was a Kid: Farts were HILARIOUS!
Today’s Kids: Okay, maybe some things don’t change.
When I Was a Kid: If the movie had nudity, drug use, excessive cussing or violence/gore, I wasn’t allowed to watch it.
Today’s Kids: The bloodier, the better, bare asses and side boobs are shown in PG-13 movies, and if a movie doesn’t have the F-Bomb, we wonder why.
When I Was a Kid: Clothes shopping for the new school year was done at K-Mart, and damn, that was an exciting day!
Today’s Kids: Clothes shopping is done at Abercrombie and Fitch, a small loan is needed to get the ‘newest fashions’, and they aren’t happy with the clothes a week later.
When I Was a Kid: Music was the Fresh Prince singing about how his Parents Just Don’t Understand, or Paula Abdul dancing with an animated cat in her videos.
Today’s Kids: Music has to be edited every other word so the song no longer makes sense, and there are no sexual innuendoes - the lyrics are straight forward- who is going to do what to whom, when, and all of the details involving the experience.
When I Was a Kid: We had our choice at breakfast: Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Pebbles (yes please, it turned the milk into chocolate milk), Cheerios or Captain Crunch. That was about it.
Today’s Kids: Cereal is an entire aisle now, Cheerios come in 25 different flavors, and your favorite candy bars and cookies are now available for morning consumption in cereal form. Picking out a cereal is now a major decision in life.
When I Was a Kid: Getting grounded meant losing TV, maybe the phone, and not being able to go outside and play with my friends.
Today’s Kids: You have to take away the TV, video games, phone, cell phone, computer, tablet, Ipod, and handheld video game systems for them to truly feel ‘deprived’. By the time all of this is taken away, it’s the end of the world to them, and they don’t even care about going outside to play.
When I Was a Kid: Saying ‘hell’ with your friends at the age of 12 caused giggles and ‘Ohhhhhhh… you’re gonna get in troooouble.’ And you better hope a grown up didn't hear you.
Today’s Kids: I heard a 6 year old on Supernanny the other night call his mom a s*ithead, and young kids freely walk around saying, ‘WTF’- yeah, that stands for a cuss word, so it means you are cussing. Just because it’s in letter form doesn’t make it better.
Call me old fashioned, but I’m tired of it. Kids today are so much older than I was at their age, and that’s pretty bad, because I earned the nickname ‘Mama Morgan’ in high school because I couldn’t relax and go with the flow, I felt I had to take care of all of my friends. Why does everything in today’s world have to go-go-go? What happened to slowing down and smelling the roses?
Right, the roses are now covered with pesticide and possibly e-coli, so don’t touch them or even dare to smell them.
Okay, laying back, and going with the flow of life?
Right, the river of life now heads down to a pool where a chemical plant has been dumping toxic waste.
You know what? Not in my house! In my house, the roses can be smelled, admired, or added into a cake. I might even boil down the rose petals and make rose water which I’ll use to freshen the house, damn it.
In my house, the river of life leads down to a nice chill out spot with a waterfall, where you can truly relax, and not have to worry about broken glass at the bottom of the pool, or needles or condom wrappers laying around from the latest weekend party.
So help me, if I have to pretty much create a time warp in my house, I will do it. Yes, I understand that my kids will have outside influences when they go to school, but as long as they are in my house, I will teach them to be kids, and to relax. It’s all I can do as a mom, short of putting them in bubbles and homeschooling them for the rest of their lives.
So, bring on Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast, Debbie Gibson for musical entertainment, if you say ‘hell’ in my house you are getting grounded, don’t even think of watching that movie because there’s sex in it, a home cooked meal instead of fast food, no video games during the week (a standing rule in my house), and we’ll hit the clearance sale at Old Navy for clothes, but that’s as far as I go.