Monday, August 20, 2007

Indiscretion Uncle: Lesson 2

Today Will came home from pre-school with a construction paper-bound book entitled “Manners Matter.” Each page contains a little Buzzy Bee suggestion for how to be a generally nice and well-mannered young kid, accompanied by a coloring page illustration of the concept (which is both filled and surrounded by the colorful and industrious scribbling of Will). The concepts include “Be Kind,” “Be Loving,” and “Be Helpful.”

Then, after his nap, Will got another anti-manners lesson courtesy of Uncle Graham. Let’s just call it “Be Obnoxious.”
Will learned not one but two ways to create the sound of flatulence. Method A with mouth to elbow and Method B with mouth to hands. Luckily Will hasn’t figured out how to match Uncle Graham’s volume (he sounds like a cross between a loud train and a beastly super-gassy dinosaur). So nice to think that soon sweet Owen will be old enough that Will can begin passing this sort of useful knowledge along to him. And I’ll be left to try to maintain my sanity as the only female among a chorus of gassy males.

On the serious side: I like this editorial in today's New York Times contemplating children’s play and children’s toys in light of the recent lead-paint/magnet recalls. Here’s a quote: “Parents are in distress, but there may be an answer that is better than despair and less expensive than a wholesale conversion to an American-made inventory. It requires a leap of faith, a basic trust in our children’s rubbery and hungry minds. Might it not be possible, for a young child, anyway, to fend off her inevitable molding into a loyal consumerist, and to delay the acquisition of acute brand-recognition skills? Maybe she doesn’t need a talking dump trunk or Barbie with the Malibu beach house. Let her flail on a saucepan with a wooden spoon. Give her paper and crayons. Let her play to her own narrative, not Dora the Explorer’s or SpongeBob’s.”

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