Sunday, January 8, 2012

Seen, not heard

So, because of a conversation with a friend who is trying to find a church where she can take her kids & focus on the church, not parenting her kids constantly, I was thinking of the old phrase "children should be seen and not heard."

Honestly? What a load of crap. This phrase has got to be a holdout from the days when middle to upper class folks all had nannys or servants who took their noisy kids away, and they saw them only on special ocassions, dressed pretty and told to be good. When people had a relationship with their nanny and/or maid and/or whatever you called it that was like what people should have with their mom and dad.

We took Sean & Maia to church this Christmas eve. We haven't really been to church since they were babies because the last time we tried, Sean was completely wigged out by the giant pipe organ. Too loud, too many people, too much. So we had skipped that Easter service (about two years ago now) and gone to the Riverwalk instead.

So on Christmas eve, we tried. Sean got a laugh when he "hooray"ed the bell choir and thought that was awesome, so kept making the "hooray" noise, even when it was time to not. Dad had to take him away. They had a good time driving around looking at Christmas lights and chilling while Maia and I stayed at church.

You know me-- I have about three minutes of tolerance for people staring at my son when he makes noises. He cannot help it, and I see every little glance, every frowny face, every whisper of "if he were my kid I'd whip him." You can glance at me once or twice, and then, if he's still making noise, yeah, it's STILL US. Thanks a lot for playing. And then I lose all concentration on whatever it is I'm supposed to be enjoying and focus only on every noise we are making, every wiggle, etc. I honestly am trying, usually, to keep him calm & quiet. But people don't notice that, they simply notice that their movie is not in perfect silence. I honestly wonder, sometimes, what it sounds like in their houses. It must be really, really quiet for our little noises to bother them so freakin' much.

And it really pisses me off that it's usually old ladies giving me the evil eye the most. Seriously woman? You're trying to imply that your kids (if you had them) were always perfect angels, who never made any noise, and we are just so rude to impose upon your perfectly orderly life for thirty seconds. What a load of crap. If one happens to have a naturally chill, naturally quiet kiddo who likes to be still and quiet, then consider yourself the exception. Usually, they want to do something FUN. And sitting quietly in some uncomfortable place, listening to some guy rant about something that doesn't make sense to us is NOT fun. (Why is it, actually, that we adults think it's fun? Maybe we've all been brainwashed....)

We have kids in this world for a lot of reasons. But mostly, we want to express our love for each other, to see a reflection of our spouses, our families, our love of humanity. And people, I hate to break it to you, but KIDS ARE NOISY. They don't know "the rules" and they sometimes can not hold still for five minutes. It doesn't mean they deserve to be hit, or punished. It means that you, the adult who is supposed to be intelligent and educated, need to chill the furgh out and remember that you were a kid too, and you probably wiggled. You probably made noise. You probably laughed too loud and cried when you were sad. You probably got bored easily. You might have danced when you were happy about a special food or a special something.

We should, as a general rule, not expect kids to act like grown ups. We grow up too fast as it is. Enjoying life should be what we do.

No one should be "seen and not heard." Using our voice and expressing our likes and dislikes should be what we all do. Yes, polite society should learn that there is a time and place for quiet. Yes, we need to teach our kids to behave in public situations. But we should also cut parents (and each other) some freakin' slack when it doesn't work. We've all been there. I know when the doctor's "appointment" is thirty minutes + past what it was supposed to be I want to scream and yell and roll around on the floor, too.

Anyway. This isn't about me-- nothing in particular happened to inspire this rant, but I challenge us all to be heard, sometimes. Not just seen. Having a voice, having a will of our own, is an important lesson. And I'd rather have kids running amok in my house, turning it totally upside down, every single day of the week. And if I forget that lesson as my children grow older and quieter, I hope someone smacks me.


cuteshastadaisy said...

Love this Rant, Kim!! :) I agree with alot of how you feel as well as I would hope many others parents. Everything even since I was born, ummm, ok I will say, the 80's,:), has progressively started at a younger age, forcing our kiddo's out of the grace and innocence of daily childhood dreams and actions...My son has ADHD as do I. Growing up as a marked unoffically child, it could be sooo damn hard on my ego, and self esteem crushing when I was continously mis-understood by many around me telling me I was wrong for being a eccentric, vibrant, imaginitive(SP) person....For years I was affected by that treatment....I know as parents we are not always right, but we are genuine to our children. When my son started school and coined as "one of those kids" it was hard on him..If getting picked on by teachers and getting in trouble as it seemed all the time for, actually what I consider defending himself with the other kids...I mean really a few of these teachers did not understand his diagnosis, or maybe did but thought they knew how to get him to kick it with ridicule, and poor treatment...All it got him was a name with the kids he went to school with and one pissed off mom! Sorry for the swear but it infuriated me regarding these close minded tactics, and you can better believe your knickers I called them on it...How was by buying the Emotions to Advocacy book on handling the schools, and well doing a whole shit ton of research on our handle...I taught Corey to embrace and be proud of who he is, not to believe those people that say things to hinder his feelings and ego...He has become very secure about himself and his mountain he's gotta cross to get to college, cuz, hey if mama can do it, I most def know he and his sister can, and will! Autumn my girl is also starting to deal with daily cruel putdowns as a 1st grader...:) lol I know most ask, really, what problems do 1st graders have, but it's not really all that funny when you see your child hurt, upset, or crying cuz of the new secular trending ways of "growing up to the fast attitude". So she is my next progression to raising the two best successes I have in my life...:)