Thursday, October 07, 2010

Roam responsibly…and a hat!

When I was a kid, we roamed a lot. I roamed my neighborhood like a stray cat. On foot, on a bike, even by bus on occasion – I was out and about from a rather young age, all on my own.

Like, as in, kindergarten. And of course, this being nineteen-sebbenty-{mutter}, The Lady My Mother didn’t give it a second thought. I walked to kindergarten all by myself (in the company of approximately 62,000 other kids, but they don’t count). I was on my own. We all were.

And we learned real quick the do’s and don’ts of being out and about on your own as a child. What things could turn your sweet, dear, honey-voiced little mother into a raging, fire-breathing demon with red eyes, claws and the most unbelievably vile temperament. What situations turned really scary, really quick. We learned from each other what houses to avoid. We heard all the urban legends, about how there was this one time? When this kid? Was walking? Alone? And this guy? Was walking his dog? And he sez, “You wanna pet my dog?” and then…{dun-dun-duuuuuuh!!!!}

Blood, guts, dismemberments, we heard it all. By the time my parents thought to have The Stranger Danger Talk™ with me, I was all, “…and…?” because there was nothing new there.

There were other things I learned early, too. Things like…how to tell time. And what the relationship was between me and said time…most of which had to do with avoiding the red-eyed, fire-breathing, steel-clawed demonic mother-like person mentioned above.

But occasionally, it would be something not involving staying out of trouble. It would be something like…one of my friends inviting me to something. I would carve those dates and times on my soul (if I wanted to go, anyway). The first thing I would ask was, “What time Saturday?” And if I knew I had a conflict, I’d ask anyway. Because time is BIG. Sometimes, just because you have to be one place at 9:30 in the morning doesn’t mean you can’t be in another place by 2:30.

Which brings me to Eldest. After the Great Childcare Debacle of 2010©, she now walks to school with two neighbors in the morning. She has an after school program she is supposed to be going to…but a couple days ago, I was on my way home when she texted (!!) (that still freaks me out a bit) to ask me what time I’d be there because blah blah book report and something about research and I said (texted) (!!!!) why don’t you go ahead and walk home?

I think she ran for home. Heady with the ultimate freedom that is being all on your own. Nobody around to squeal on you if you dawdle. Nobody you have to keep up with, or wait for. Nobody being the boss of you.

Just you, and the open road sidewalk.

Ah, sweet freedom…!

So imagine her surprise when she got an earful from me the minute I got home about stopping to talk to people on her walk home.

“What was up with the dog?!” I fired off as I came through the door. And as I was in the middle of giving her a big long lecture about not talking to people, even “nice looking” people walking their dogs in the park because they might be blood-guts-gore-dismemberment types!!!, I realized that…


…I have just officially turned into my mother. Steel claws. Red eyes. Fire. Brimstone. Vile temperament. Furious over “nothing.”

And poor Eldest stood there, looking at me like, Whoa! and slowly realizing that she must have butt-dialed me on her walk home. (Ya, she did. And I listened to almost ten minutes of her walking along singing and then stopping to talk to somebody about their dog, and I almost walked up to the front of the train to slam the accelerator to the floor because GAH! Street smarts! SHE AIN’T GOTS NONE!!!)

The next day, I was working from home thanks to a miserable combination of an oncoming cold and a really bad back pain week. Imagine my surprise when the door slammed open at about 2:45 and Eldest shouted, gleefully, “OH MooooooooOTHER MiiiiiiiiINE, I’M HOOOOOOOOOME!!!”

And imagine hers when the red-eyed, steaming demon erupted from the bowels of Heck to give her what-for about needing to know where she was. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, REALLY! It’s not that walking home is FORBIDDEN, it’s just that when I expect you to be one place and then you just walk away and turn up in another…!!!!!!!!!!!

(The Lady My Mother is so totally laughing right now. I can feel it. She is laughing so hard she is going to fall out of her chair.)

So today, she told me before she even left the house that she wanted to walk home right after school.

Then she reminded me via text message (!!!!!!!) when she went to lunch.

And then she called right before she left the school grounds. “Oh hai, yeah, just wanted to remind you I’m walking home – that’s OK, right?”

And then she entered the Den calling out, “Hi, I’m home, just like I told you! Three times, you may recall!”

Smart aleck.

And then a few minutes later, she got a phone call…and sadness. There were conflicting parties on Saturday. She really-really-really wanted to go to Party 1 and has been looking forward to it just forever...but Party 2 is a BFF+10, and she can only invite one (1) person and naturally she wanted Eldest because who wouldn't choose her first, and BFF+10 was most severely bummed that she couldn't go...and, feeling pained for BFF+10 (I have a big old soft spot for this kid, actually) I said, “Well, but, what time does she need you at her place? Because you’re coming home pretty early Saturday morning from Party 1…”

She looked at me blankly.

I said it again. S-l-o-w-e-r. I’m picking you up at Ludicrous O’Clock Saturday morning. What. Time. Is. The. Other. Party?

Still she’s looking at me as if she’s never heard of time. Time? Time? What’s that?


She had no idea. None. She hadn’t asked for and/or hadn’t retained this information.

This is a kid wandering the streets without a keeper.

But, you know…I can’t keep her a baby forever. At some point, she’s going to be out there on her own. She’s not going to learn how to fly if she never leaves the nest; I can’t imagine how bad it would be to turn her loose in the world for the first time after she’s gotten her driver’s license.

In other and completely unrelated news, thanks to a surprise meeting that was one of those ones where I do a lot of intense listening but almost zero talking, I finally started getting the face finished on the hat!

Oh, you know…the hat?


Ahem. Anyway. Yay me! I finally got the mouth and the nose and the pupils sewn onto the front of it! The ears are a bit (actually a lot of a bit) bigger than the picture in the pattern, but I think they’re kinda cute that way so I left them alone.

Anime Hat, Almost Done!

Now all I have to do is the white part around the pupils and it will be ready to plop onto Baby’s head. Eeeeeeeeee! I hope she likes it…or at the very least doesn’t loathe it…

And now three of the Denizens want one too. And I still owe one of Danger Mouse’s BFF’s a dead fish hat. Which she reminded me of when she was over last weekend. Forcefully reminded me. She wants it in pink and white because that would be “pretty.” But definitely she wants it to be a dead fish. Because a live one would be gross, whereas the dead one is funny.

(Just go with it, y’all. The logic of the ten-and-under set is mysterious indeed…)


Kaviare said...

My sister does this. My 19 year old sister. She will say 'where is store X?' And I will say 'it's on the corner of Port Road and Albert St.'

Blank stare.

'You know? You drive past it every day? It's got a massive yellow sign?'

Blank stare.


marit said...

LOL! Funny readings:-) I spent a year in northern Berkeley in 1984-85, looking after an 8-year old, one of my duties was to walk her and a couple friends home from school. The friends lived only a few houses up the street from us, but I had to walk up there and pick her up in the evenings when she had been visiting. And I was used to going everywhere on my own from a very early kids are also walking/bicycling alone all over the place. They all have cellphones, and I often get a message to tell me where they are, if they want a pick-up...sometimes they are just too lazy to walk;-)(but they are older than yours)

Rena said...

Good for you letting her have some freedom. I agree, it's so important. I also remember running around as a kid, usually with my little brother in tow. We had to be home before dark or be killed by our mother, but otherwise we were on our own.