Since I’ve started blogging about parenting issues, my friends have started sending me URL links to whatever loony parent stories they read online.
Martha Brozyna, the nation’s foremost expert on sexual deviancy in medieval Poland, one of probably about twelve people in America besides me and Victor Davis Hanson who have PhDs in history and are not leftists, and a stock trading guru, is always a wonderful source of bizarre news items. The latest from her is this little gem about a New Zealand couple who named their daughter Talula Does The Hula. And I thought Gwyneth Paltrow was a nut job for naming her daughter Apple. Makes me feel sort of silly for worrying that I had given my daughter Portia a name that was too unusual. Even Itzel and Meadow aren’t sounding too bad after hearing about Talula Does The Hula. Poor kid was so embarrassed she wouldn’t tell her friends her real name and asked everyone to call her K. The article doesn’t tell how the case came to court, but does say that the judge made 9-year-old Talula Does The Hula a ward of the court, and ordered her name to be changed. The new name was not revealed so as not to embarrass the girl. You have to wonder what her parents were thinking. Were they on drugs? Mentally ill? Or just plain sadistic?
Another crazy parenting story was sent to me by the lovely and charming Kathryn Rubenacker, a fellow alumna of Culver City High and the wife of my husband’s best friend. This one is about parents who can’t bear to send their kids off to summer camp the old fashioned way. Most camps don’t allow the campers to have cell phones, so some parents are sending their kids off to camp with two cell phones, one to turn over to camp counselors as required, and another to stash away so they can text Mommy and Daddy on the sly. Kathryn observes that much of the fun she had at summer camp as a child would now be fodder for lawsuits. I didn’t go away to summer camp as a child, but I did have a lot more freedom of movement than kids do these days. When I was fairly young I’d be out playing with the other kids on our street, free to go where I liked between within certain limits, and by the time I was 12 or 13 I was riding my bike or the bus all over the west side of Los Angeles while my mom was at work, with no cell phone to let her know where I was or what I was doing. As much as I enjoyed having that freedom when I was young, and as much as I want my children to be resilient and independent, I also don’t want to be that one mom in a million who ends up sobbing on the eleven o’clock news when something awful happens to one of my children. As I’ve said before, I strive for moderation in all things, and will have to find a happy medium between the moms who hide cell phones in their little campers’ backpacks and the laid-back moms of the 60s and 70s who made my generation’s childhood so much fun.
BTW, if you know what this post title paraphrases, you’re probably at least as old as I am and spent your childhood Saturday mornings the same way I did — and had a lot more adventures as a kid than your own kids are having now.