Sunday, October 07, 2007

Modern Times

I was chatting on the phone with my grandma the other day. Something happens when the topic turns to child care with Gramma: I realize that so much has changed in the rules for parents since she was one, it's like we aren't even doing the same thing. It was like Gramma and Grampa were raising baby people but I am raising baby pandas or elves.

She told me she had recently advised some family friends to put their newborn grandchild in a drawer while babysitting since the didn't have a bassinet. Sure, I've heard of that, I said. Then, she said, she told them to put a nice pillow in the drawer and line it with blankets.

"You know, you're not supposed to give babies pillows any more," I said.
"What?"
"Or blankets."
"What??"

The blanket-lined drawer was popular among Navy wives who were always moving and always broke, she said. They would take precautions, of course: they would put a garbage bag in there in case the baby's diaper leaked.

Then it was my turn to say, "What??"

Then I told her about how Pebbles won't eat her new food of the week, tofu.

"Put some honey on it," Gramma advised.
I chuckled. "Actually, you're not allowed to give babies honey anymore. It can have botulism."

We both had to laugh.
"I don't know how our babies survived," Gramma said. "I'm sure glad I'm not doing it now, with all these new rules."

I wonder what Nutmeg and Pebbles will think of our child-rearing techniques when they're mothers, and they have their own new rules. I kind of hope it will go something like this:

"You used to put me in a crib to sleep? All by myself? What?? And sometimes you used a stroller instead of the sling? Kids used to be allowed to watch television? With commercials for sugary junk food? And if we acted up in school, we would get a prescription?"

"What??"

It's a miracle they're surviving. Knock wood.

Addendum:
Gramma reads this blog, and she sent me this message after today's post. I love it, all the little details of the world that's gone:

It gave me a laugh too..growing up we had lead paint… asbestos , no bottled water, old wives remedys and Watkins medicine sold by a traveling salesman, wonder bread, bacon grease and lard sandwiches, we, farm weeders ,drank from a pail of water used by all on the job using the same dipper, drank clear water from lake michigan, swam in the harbor, we walked to school twice a day and we girls went bare legged all through the winter school year.. gad, it’s a wonder that we made it this far. The winters were colder and the storms left snow piled high in the streets and they seldom closed the schools.. no planned activities in my day.. we made our own fun.. round the moon, red rover , kick the can, etc, etc.. at eight pm the mothers would call their young ones in to bathe and go to bed. Older kids could stay up till nine listening to a favorite show on the radio.. families ate together every evening when dad came home..( of course there was no dad at my house so I started the meal and mom would finish when she came home from nash motors.) I liked it better then as the media didn’t control much of our lives.. we were free to make our own decisions.. we didn’t try to keep up with the jones’s as they were in the same boat. It was depression times.. I only remember good times spent with my friends and with plenty of love from my mother. I had a happy childhood and for that I thank my mother.

6 comments:

Moxie Mom said...

Well I am just glad that you were able to have that conversation about the changes, with a chuckle.

Haven't we all heard the horro stoires of how that very topic can cause resentment and anger in families?

I used to talk to my husband's grandmother (mine all passed years ago) like this:
I just cannot believe that people can pay for things without actually having the money to buy them. Credit cards are the devil.

However mainstream CC's are in people's lives, she might be right!

susiej said...

I love this. It's so sweet.

Anonymous said...

I was just having a similar conversation with my Great Aunt who still believes that pregnant women shouldn't put on more than 20 pounds. The beauty of these conversations with the elderly is that, for the most part, it's just talking and good laughs and comparisons as they have no intention of actually watching your kids and implementing their "old school" ways. My troubles stem from the stubborn in-laws who feel like giving a 6 month old an entire pickle is a good idea. How does one reconcile the need to preserve your child's safety and your parenting choices while also giving grandparents the access to the kid that they want? Even if they agree to most of our "terms," I still have little faith that they won't just do what they want to once our backs are turned.

Red Headed Mama said...

Aww, that made me miss my grandma SO much. You are so lucky to have her - she's a funny one!

Thanks for sharing :)

Kori said...

Gramma, write more soon!

Notta Wallflower said...

This post makes me wish I could talk to my grandmas. I miss them terribly. Both of them always had stories of what it was like to either grow up in hard times or what it was like to raise children. I'll bet they had similar experiences to what your grandma describes.