I was gurgling and making strange guttural noises as my eyes rolled about horribly. And as I approached the pouting one, he cracked a smile and emitted a chuckle. Phew, I was finally making progress. My little one-year-old grandson has recently learned how to pout and now didn’t want to end his pouting session. It took a lot of facial and nose contortions to get him to break out of his bad mood and take the piece of paper from his mouth. Such a dangerous life when you’re that size. Anything could hurt them and it’s hard to get about on eggshells constantly searching for that baby bottle. Yes, grandchildren are a blessing indeed.
The next lesson was how do get the thumbs upright. Usually the wrong finger goes up and we laugh, encouraging the little one with more silly antics. But when he wants what he wants, he knows the power of pouting, and it’s become harder to negotiate than the NAFTA accord, where anything goes as long as the minority benefits. In my case, it’s just between him and me, and the territory is limited to the couch and any spare space not occupied by some toy. Yes, we spoil the grandkids to no end. But hey, when you’re at the top of the heap, you have a lot of sway and influence, and no one really complains. It’s just the way the world works today.
Back in the day, way before my time, children were treated like little adults and had roles to play in society. Often, children were coddled somewhere on a baby hammock while they had their diapers changed. Sometimes, raising children was difficult, especially when one would stray from the family and leave home, most times without their consent. So being a child was a time to take advantage of, before they got taken away and sent to some distant residential school. Many didn’t return for ages and when they did, they had changed. Childhood was literally taken away.
Today, in the safety of my arms, I know that my grandson won’t have to experience that hardship of leaving home to live a life that doesn’t belong to him and then return a stranger. Now, I can enjoy him from birth to high school, just like people who have the privilege of enjoying their children until they leave the nest fully grown. Now, this is the part I like when people and politicians speak today about living life as it was in the past, but without the external pressure to be someone you can’t, like city folk who yearn for the country life as they live in their lakeside cottages.
Today, life is much better than it was. No longer are we being raised in a strange environment, like a residential school or institutionalized cultural centre that was designed to make us “better” but which, in reality, was designed to break us down into something we are not. We no longer have that threat hanging over our heads, so what’s with all the discouraging news about our lives today? Maybe, we just haven’t grown up yet as communities. With our population rapidly increasing, maybe we need to grow up as a society. It’s time to throw the juju away, folks. It’s time to stand up and get some serious work done, because most of our kids and grandkids will soon be walking on their own.
My little grandson will inherit the world we have created for him, so let’s make a great future a reality. Instead of crying over the spilt milk of the past, let’s wipe the pablum off our chins and move on to solid foods.