Thursday, March 30, 2006

Grup, Grup, Grup, Grup

Found this interesting article about "Grups" via Carlos' blog. As a person who's mulling over her future, which may include kids, I thought it was very interesting to read:

It's more interesting as evidence of the slow erosion of the long-held idea that in some fundamental way, you cross through a portal when you become an adult, a portal inscribed with the biblical imperative "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: But when I became a man, I put away childish things." This cohort is not interested in putting away childish things.

As I read the article, I could see bits of current and future me in it. Jeff and I spend a lot of money on "childish" things such as video games (witness our sick WoW addiction as well as our love for other games), anime and other random things that don't scream "adult."

I look at my sister and her husband as well as my bro-in-law and sis-in-law and see their families. They haven't sacrificed who they are to become some sort of pod parent. The identity of a parent just melded into who they are now. I love the fact that my sister plays Missy Elliott for Rooster and that for awhile, he had giant OBEY signs with Andre the Giant on them in his room.

I'm not sure if she was sending him a subliminal message or not, but in all honesty, I don't think it worked.

However, I don't agree with the idea of forcing something down your child's throat because you don't like Gymboree or Barney. I may not be a fan of Baby Einstein (that stuff puts me into a coma), but I'd rather show that to my two-year-old niece and my wee nephew instead of watching Fight Club with them.

Hell, that's what bedtimes are for. I'd rather watch Fight Club and not have to explain the homoerotic undertones to a six-year-old. Or explain why The Transporter shows love for his homies by nearly backing over them with a car.

Witness this quote from Neal Pollack:

"You have to have a little bit of Dora the Explorer in your life," he says. "But you can do what you can to mute its influence." Okay. "And there's no shame, when your kid's watching a show, and you don't like it, in telling him it sucks." Yeah! There's no, wait. What? "If you start telling him it sucks, maybe he might develop an aesthetic."; Sorry, son. No more Thomas the Tank Engine for you. Thomas sucks. Stop crying. Daddy's helping you develop an aesthetic. Now Daddy's going to go put on some thunder music.

To me, that smacks of selfishness -- of attempting to create a Mini-Me in a vintage Ramones shirt. I'd rather see my kids develop their own style -- even if it's a *sigh* jock or woo-woo girl -- and be happy, instead of being something that they think they need to be to make someone else happy. As long as I can understand what's going on, I'm alright with it.

Also, being a parent is more than being a friend to your child. I never understood people who said they were best friends with their parents. Maybe it's because I see my mom as my MOM. There's certain things I can't tell her that I'll tell my friends. As a parent, I still want a certain amount of control and guidance and to achieve that, you have to give up a little bit of the coolness factor.

But that's part of growing up. It's recognizing that there are some sacrifices you have to make -- not everything, but some things. I'd rather have my children happy, smart and impassioned than being little clones of me and Jeff.

Of course I never had a coolness factor to begin with, so there's not much to lose.

Jeff and I joke about it all the time. Jeff says he looks forward to the day when he can sit out on the lawn, dressed in a golf shirt, kahki shorts and black socks, sipping hot coffee and yelling "GET OFF MY LAWN" at the squirrels.

I say I look forward to the day where I can say, "Hey kids! Come here! See daddy? See daddy screaming 'GET OFF MY LAWN' at the squirrels? You're going to turn into daddy!"

Hell, trading in the coolness factor for embarassing my kids may be worth it.

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