Things are so different from when I was a kid, and even from when my own children (now in their 30s) were little. Kids today don't leave the house! They don't go outside and play with friends; they play with friends on the video games. From first thing in the morning until eleven o'clock at night sometimes, one kid is playing games on the TV in the living room and the other is on the computer in the kitchen. Or vice versa.
There doesn't seem to be a lot of kids in our neighborhood, but who knows? Maybe there are tons of them and they're not leaving the house, either.
Mike's kids never complain about being bored, but I can't stand looking at them rotting away in front of the screen. Mike doesn't seem to mind; he's usually in front of a screen himself, or playing along with them. So I guess it's my problem. I feel bad for them; I'm always thinking of fun things to do with them, but then I'm like, why the hell is it my job to make sure they're entertained?
See, this is where the role of the stepmother gets frustrating; they're not my kids, so I can't tell them what to do. When my kids were little, I'd be like, "It's a beautiful day--go find some friends." And if they were bored, I'd respond, "I'm not your entertainment committee!" Which is exactly what I seem to be now.
8 Lincoln Avenue in Albany, New York, we were ALWAYS outside--in all kinds of weather, but especially in the summer. We'd be out looking for our friends right after breakfast, come home for lunch, and then we'd play until our parents yelled our names throughout the neighborhood calling us for dinner. Then we'd be back out until the street lights went on. We played kickball and badminton in the street, and jump rope and hopscotch on the sidewalk. We'd walk to my grandmother's house, to the bowling alley, to Lozoff's Pharmacy to get a Freeze Pop, or we'd just walk around the block and through the neighborhood just to see what was up. Half the time our mothers had no idea where the hell we were.
I understand that kids today don't have grandmothers within walking distance, but why don't they have outside toys like balls and croquet sets and jump ropes? Why aren't they encouraged to go outside and explore? (DON'T tell me the crime rate is any higher now than when I was a kid.)
Maybe we loved playing outside so much because inside kind of sucked. We had five kids and two parents yelling at each other all the time in a house that measured all of 1160 square feet; the house Mike and I live in is more than three times that size. But another difference is, when we did play inside as kids, we spent a lot of time in our bedroom. Kids today don't seem to play in their bedroom.
I've ranted a million times about the goddamn video games; this is just one more. I just can't believe that it's a good thing for kids to be spending every waking minute playing that shit. I can't believe that on some level they're not being desensitized to violence. With every cell in my body, I think it's just wrong.
But again, they're not my kids, so I can't say anything. So I'll say it to you. And if you're looking for me this summer, if I'm not outside myself, I'll be playing in my bedroom. With the doors closed.
|Thank you, God, for this little piece of heaven!