Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

I was at a birthday party with my kid the other day. It was at one of those huge enclosed play-areas that smells like old cheese and armpit and where your kid peels off her socks and screams 'HURRAH!' before skittering off and kicking you to the curb for two hours. You're left to sit huddled on a gym bench with the other moms and you all chat and pretend to have more in common than the fact that your children were all born in the same year. Yay.

Actually, I like Lily's friends' moms. Most of them are really kind and friendly, though I'm still getting used to the southern culture of, oh, what do you call it again? oh yeah, manners. In comparison, my New York mom friends and I were disgustingly candid. We would sit on benches in the public parks of Queens, slurping coffee and bitching about everything from the inefficiency of our vibrators to our partners' bathroom habits.

The women I've met here are a bit more reserved. I don't think it's a bad thing; it's just not something I'm used to. I've had to be a little more careful in sharing all the wigged-out details of my life here. Hell, maybe that's an improvement. Perhaps it's even a sign of my own maturity. Imagine?

Here's an example. One mom, a native of Colombia married to a cajun guy (what?) was talking about how, while visiting family in Colombia this summer, her daughter learned all about sex while hanging out with older children. She started apologizing profusely to the other mothers in case her daughter 'told our kids about how babies were made'.

The other moms seemed genuinely troubled by this. One mom said, 'Weeeellll, I told my daughter that God takes a little bitta Mama and a little bitta Daddy and puts it in Mama's tummy. Then when the baby's ready, the doctor just cuts it out. I had a C-section, so I have a scar and everything.'

She was commended on this while I just clamped my fucking mouth shut. I was the mom who, when asked where babies came from, sat her 2 year old down in front of Dr. Google and looked at pictures of the human anatomy, explaining intercourse in primitive, scientific detail. I didn't pretend that menstrual blood was 'a cut in Mommy's hiney' (as one mother put it), and I nursed Lily until she was old enough to ask for it.
I'm not saying I hold the keys to good parenting (obviously, have you met my kid?), I'm just saying that I did things a little differently. I'm happy with the results, but I don't always remember that my methods of parenting might be considered a little bit...against the grain.

Especially considering that at 3, Lily was wedging babydolls up her dress and reenacting birth scenes with her friends (several times I walked into her room to see her on her back with a stuffed dog between her legs, screaming, 'ARRRGHHH!', while her pal Lucas, ever the relegated to role of 'Dad', yelled, 'Push! Push! I can see the head!').

Lily nursed her babies and stuffed animals and carried them in makeshift 'slings' I fashioned out of ripped up sheets. She was like a baby earthmama, and I didn't see anything wrong with it.

I still don't, but I am realizing more and more that there are a variety of ways to raise kids, and my way isn't the only way. Hell, maybe it isn't even the right way, but it seems to have worked so far. If anything, I'm becoming more open-minded living in Louisiana. Maybe even more than I ever was in New York. I think that's kid of kick ass.


Vegas Linda Lou said...

You kill me. The image of Lily giving birth kills me. She's already amazing--you're doing a fantastic job. Despite the fact that you're, you know... kind of demented.

I mean that as a compliment.

Anonymous said...

Cajun men are yummy. Well, the few i've met. Specially with their lovely accent (:

I think they way your parenting is fine. Atleast when Lily grows up, she knows she can come to you about anything and be honest.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I think your honesty about things is quite good. Having the correct knowledge leads to good decision making in the future. It sounds like you gave the appropriate degree of knowledge for her age.

kay zee said...

did you call it a vajay-jay?
or give it another nickname like my mom did ("peepee")?

Prunella Jones said...

Lil is such an awesome and hilarious little kid, you are obviously doing something right. Also, you sound like the coolest mom on the park bench.

Southern ladies are a bit on the uptight side, aren't they? Wonder why? My mom is from South Carolina and she called it a pea blossom when I was a kid. As in, "Pull your skirt down and quit showing the boys your pea blossom, young lady!"

PuertoVallartaGirl said...

I love your story. I usually am the one saying too much and everyone looking at me like, "did she really just say that" and thats in this day and age at an Art college.. How can I still say t.m.i? love your blog

Memphis Steve said...

We're glad to have you down here in the South. Sometimes it can be fun to see the reaction of good ole Southern women to the things that Northern women say. Sometimes, but not always. Anyway, Mrs Memphis' uncle works in NYC and took us there on the train one morning. He saw someone he recognized and shouted at him, "hey you goddamn motherfucking asshole!" And his good friend responded in kind. And then they shook hands and began a happy conversation. You Yankees are weird.