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Modern Parenting Skills

My mother and I just bought the same type of camera. This was not planned. Little coincidences like these run through our lives in unpredictable little rivulets.
My mother got hers yesterday, and I got mine today. So my mother has been sending me advice. First piece of advice: the strap is very hard to attach. So I unpacked mine, thinking I’d spend a while on the darn strap.
The strap was very easy to attach.
This is not to say that my mother doesn’t have skills, but that she is a parent of a different generation. I’m coming to realize that the challenges of parenting in any given age give you skills different from your parents’ skills.
Anyone who first looked at their new Baby Bjorn extra fancy front-loader baby carrier learned, the hard way, about straps. The foot goes here. The strap goes there. Don’t put the strap around the foot there. Make sure the baby is facing this way, then pull the strap around that way.
Then your baby gets bigger, she faces outward, and you are a skilled, confident Baby Bjorn strapper. Then one day you realize that either your back or the Bjorn is going to snap from the weight. Not sure which one first. So you start looking online (another skill my mother didn’t develop as a parent, though she’s good at it now) and find out who likes which baby backpack. There are so many of them. And largely, they have straps.
My husband and I got the ultra-excellent baby hiking backpack that was highly adjustable for people of a height range of, say, five-four to six foot. In other words, us. Highly adjustable means, you got it: straps! Many, many more straps than on the Baby Bjorn. Many many more ways for the baby to fall through and if not strangle, at least be very uncomfortable and cranky.
I have apparently mastered straps, as my camera’s straps provided no challenge whatsoever. Make sure the new baby (i.e. camera) doesn’t fall on the ground and break open its crown. Good thing it can’t cry.
Actually, it probably can. One of the reasons I got a new camera is that my old one had been usably broken for a long time, and I resisted getting a new one because it was still usable. But then our ten-year-old’s camera broke to the point it couldn’t be used anymore. His camera had been my previous camera, which was usably broken for years as well.
I sense a pattern forming in our lives.
(I’m not sure what to do about the day when the six-year-old notices that the older kid gets all the hand-me-down cameras. Frankly, I got her one of those little tiny keychain cameras and she lost it after a week, so at the moment I’m not feeling too guilty!)
So where was I? Oh, yes, cameras screaming. After using my old camera, his new camera, for a total of about twenty minutes, my son announced to me that he had found out how to record his own sounds for the camera. You know that fake shutter sound that your camera makes? Well, it can probably make any sound you want it to, including your child screaming. That’s what I suggested to my son that he could record: his sister screaming at him. Well, at least I thought it was funny!
A skill that I don’t have because of when I’m parenting is how to get kids to learn to tie shoelaces. My son is ten now, and though he knows the theory of shoelace tying, practice is yet another thing. When we go to buy new sneakers, I always suggest that perhaps this time he could get one with laces, so he could learn to tie his shoes.
Insert that face that ten-year-olds make when Mom says something so totally stupid it’s not worth commenting on.
So again I buy him shoes with velcro. And even though the shoes have velcro, he proceeds to pull them on without opening them, thus wearing them out sooner than necessary.
How did parents EVER get kids to learn to tie their laces? Or was this something they did in kindergartens of old, that has been left by the wayside with proper spelling, grammar, and keeping a paddle on your desk for the kids who can’t sit still?
My mother, apparently, got me to learn to tie my laces. And so, since I am the only one in the house willing to tie a ten-year-old’s laces, we get velcro shoes.
I imagine that when my son is a parent and I am fighting with a new camera, he will be sigh and say, “Those mothers. How did she ever get through being a parent without learning to make her camera scream?”

Posted in Parenting.


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