Thursday, March 7, 2013

Were You A Practice Child?

Today I was having a conversation with someone which caused me to do some reminiscing. If you're reading this blog entry and you're over the age of 18 you will probably view its content one way. If, by chance, you're one of my 'younger' readers it may give you something to think about.

When I was a child (even a young teenager) I grew up in a household with one sister who was 2 1/2 years older than me. My mother, in particular, had a very specific idea of how we would be raised. She had rules and guidelines, some stricter than others. My sister and I grew up during a time when my mother said, "I am NOT going to look at hair hanging in your eyes. If you're going to have hair down to shoulders or beyond, you WILL have curls." Unfortunately for us, that was a time (the 70s) when curls were attained through the process of stinky home perms. Need I say more? My sister and I endured the home perm process for years, until my sister reached junior high. She just couldn't do it anymore. She despised curls, and even more so the nasty stinky perms. Finally my mom gave in, mostly because it was the year Dorothy Hamill skated in the Winter Olympics. My mom caved and my sister cut off her artificial curls and proudly wore a new short hairstyle. I give her credit, it looked great on her. But something else happened in the process. My mom either mellowed or she just got tired, because she decided as long as the hair was off my sister's face not having curls was suddenly acceptable. That is when she let me quit getting the home perms as well; as long as I wore a headband, braids or ponytails. Hence ... my sister was donned as the 'practice child.'

My early teenage years continued with more milestones; getting to wear 'clear' pantyhose only a few months after my sister did after she'd grudgingly waited til the designated age 13 mark, not to mention the whole getting your ears pierced situation ... my sister dutifully waited til she was around the age of 12 only to have my mom allow me to follow just a short while later with her only explanation being that 'perhaps it wasn't such a big deal after all.'

Of course there were somethings my sister and I struggled through alike (and trust me, NO preferential treatment was ever given) like having to sit at the table until you ate everything on your plate. Let me just say that our mother was a wonderful talented baker, but she had a few VERY interesting recipes for dinner items. I've still never seen, let alone tasted, homemade chili that contained spaghetti noodles in it. Let me add that chili served hot is one thing, but chili that has sat in your bowl for well over an hour is quite another.

My question to you is 'were you a practice child' growing up? ... the one that was raised with the 'trial and error' approach? Or were you somewhere else down the road where the approach was a bit different and your older sibling(s) never failed to remind you of 'how easy you had it?' lol

Now that you're grown up and perhaps have children of your own - are you repeating the parenting cycle you grew up with or trying a different method? What's working for you? What have you discovered along the way? What were some of your fondest (or not so fondest) memories?

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