“Children should be seen and not heard.” I was raised by elderly parents, especially a father, whose life philosophy of child rearing seemed to be based on this idea. I remember one Saturday morning my mother was reading the auction sale listings while he read a Louis L’Amour western at the table next to our big picture window, his favourite place to sit. My best friend was over and we were all huddled on the sofa. We’d been told to be quiet while my mother read. My friend and I whispered to one another but then she became louder, not quite giddy, she just acted out of joy. He got up from the table, hit her over the head with the spine of his novel and told her, “I said ‘be quiet’ and I meant it.” He returned to his seat and she and I stared at each other, shocked into silence. It was rare for her to ever visit while he was home after that. And we never mentioned it to one another. I wonder if she remembers this happening.
My little ones have entered a new phase of their growing up… my eleven and five year old seem to have a never-ending, (so there’s never a winner but they are determined to master the intricate technicalities of covert strategies meant to frustrate the sibling while not having their actions caught by Mom), competition going on as to who can irritate the other the fastest and for the longest period of time. When things become too much, one or the other is calling, “Mom!” I’ve noticed they also wait until I am putting one of their brother’s to sleep before they need something just beyond their reach, or a snack made or need help locating an item they used but never returned to its spot. In particular we seem to play a lot of “find my shoes” but I can’t really complain about that because they play a lot of “find my glasses” too! The youngest two now cry whenever I leave the room. They follow me everywhere, and I DO mean everywhere. If I open the fridge door to retrieve an item while making a meal, I can be guaranteed one of them will be inside the fridge, climbing by the time I turn away and turn back again. They seem to be crying all of the time, mostly out of frustration. Both boys want to be into what they shouldn’t be. It’s not that they’re bored, they have plenty of toys, they’d just rather be doing the things they see me doing. They aren’t quite ready for those tasks, and frankly, I’m not ready to see them grow up quite so fast or take on added responsibility. Just walk without falling, my boys. Let Momma’s heart settle down while you successfully navigate from sitting on the sofa to climbing onto the floor without bumping your head as you fall. Of course, I fell Sunday morning in front of all the children so perhaps they think, from my example, that falling is the way to get to the floor quickly!
Speaking of babies, did you know the bison at Waneskewin have had the pleasure of welcoming four new additions this spring? These are the first births on traditional homelands since the disappearance of the buffalo in this area. Google the bison at CBC Saskatchewan if you’re interested in learning more since this is the only way to view them until the ban is lifted. Learning about the newborn bison, reflecting on how I was raised and the cycles I have broken as I raise my own children has me thinking to my ancestors. What must it have been like to move from place to place, following the buffalo and hunting? Can you imagine stalking such huge creatures and raising a spear or bow and arrow, aiming and about to release the death blow, when over the air comes the wail of a crying baby, breaking your concentration and causing the buffalo to stampede safely away? I would hang my head in defeat as I watched those tender steaks run away in a cloud of dust. All I know is, when we gathered as a family around the dinner table that night, not ONE of my ever loving children should look at what is being served and complain, “Pemmican and water, again?!?!?” Like my father, and his before him, I think I would be inclined to agree, “Children should be seen and not heard!”
Have a great week, everyone!