Sometimes I feel like I live online, specifically on social media. I’m often guilty of overgramming, and there are days that I scroll through Facebook so frequently that there have been no new posts since the last time I logged on. Not a single one. That means I’m signing back on about a minute and a half after I sign off.
Is that sad? I try not to think about it.
What makes me feel less pathetic – albiet slightly – is that there are a handful of other people I notice on social media with this frequency — mostly others with young kids at home. These are my people, and I love every picture I see of their babies sleeping peacefully or their toddlers throwing tantrums or their hands on 12 oz. pours of wine at 3 pm.
I read an article last week about how while “it takes a village”, we no longer have a village because of changing societal norms.
It’s true — even if I was okay letting my kids roam the neighborhood all summer or walk the mile and a half to school, Social Services would be on my doorstep before they even made it to the end of the block.
But to me it seems our village is still there, it has just moved online. I may not be sending my kids to play with the older kids next door while I run to the grocery store, but I can jump online and ask for recipe ideas with whatever ingredients I happen to have in my pantry.
For the record, TetraFin/Hoisin Sauce sandwiches are supposed to be amaaaazing.
It’s definitely a different world that we live in, and there is plenty to make me nostalgic for a day and age I never parented in. That Nesquik is one of them.
“Good Dog Carl” is another. The original “Good Dog Carl” is one of my favorite children’s books. Mostly I like it because it has no words and so I can “Read” it in two minutes flat, a trick that comes in handy when trying to get three kids to bed in a twenty minute timeframe.
I also love it because it’s ridiculous. So Mom leaves her baby in the care of the family Rottweiler, Carl, which immediately endears the book to me because I have a special love for any animal with a human name.
The year is 1986, so I can only assume she’s off to see Top Gun. The baby is in a crib that’s since been recalled with a drop side that’s been banned. If this woman was on Instagram and this was her post, there would immediately be fifteen people down her throat demanding she remove that blanket from her baby. But she’d never post this picture on Insta, because that nursery is definitely not Pintrest-worthy and she can’t have anybody seeing that.
Anyway, Carl goes on to try and kill the baby in every way possible, except for the one way a Rottweiler could actually inflict harm.
Then he turns on the record player and teaches the baby The Macarena, ten years ahead of its time.
Somehow the baby survives the day and the Mom is none the wiser when she returns, presumably because she can’t stop thinking about Tom Cruise.
Another of Evelyn’s favorite books that takes me right back is “Where the Sidewalk Ends”, which I’ll read to her even though nine out of ten of the illustrations creep me out and I can’t look directly at the picture on the back.
I love me some Shel Silverstein, but did anyone tell him that this picture was going on the back of a children’s book and not his speed dating profile?
And while I’m on Mr. Silverstein and bad decisions, I still haven’t read Evelyn “The Giving Tree.”
That poor tree needs to get herself to an Al Anon meeting immediately. I mean this jerk of a kid shows up every time he needs something from her and then disappears. Every time he comes back he gives her just enough to trick her into giving him something else he wants.
“Can I have all of your branches since I carved our names together in a heart?” And then when he turns into a jerk of a man, “I squandered my money and failed at love, can you rescue me by letting me chop you down and make you into a boat that I can use to escape my bad choices?”
These are not exactly the lessons I want my kids learning.
I want them learning that if they think they can, they can – like The Little Engine That Could.
This book I take no issue with, except for this one page:
This little train is happily traveling through what appears to be Holland, and then all of a sudden there’s Butch Cassidy running after it, armed with a pistol. The first couple of times I read it as an adult I did a double take. But then I figured if Little Bo Peep and the lawn jockey don’t seem bothered by him, I shouldn’t be either.
Last summer while I was pregnant with Lottie, I took the kids to my first prenatal appointment. My doctor got called away to deliver a baby so we were stuck waiting for about an hour.
My kids lost interest in the activities I’d brought for them after four and a half minutes.
Happily, they were well stocked with children’s books and even more happily, one of them was a sequel to “Good Dog Carl” that I didn’t know existed.
I like this one even better than the original because the Mom — whose name turns out to be Sarah — takes her deplorable parenting public, leaving Carl in charge at the park. It makes me laugh, and it also makes me jealous, because this is exactly the kind of thing that you can’t do anymore. Not that I don’t love living online … but I want to be part of Sarah’s village.