When I was a child all of my brothers and sisters along with myself would stand among the shadows of twilight, look up at the darkening sky and count the bats as they darted between the black limbs of the a sugar maple, erased of all color with the coming of night. And of course we would scream in terror if they flew to close because my mother told us they would get stuck in our hair and lay eggs. Never mind that they were mammals and therefore did not lay eggs. Apparently that was on a need to know basis.
I was sitting in my yard near twilight the other day to see who was out and about and do you know I saw one bat in the whole ridiculous neighborhood and that was the first time this year. That is a shame. There is be a whole generation of mothers who will not be able to frighten their children into blind terror because there are no bats flitting through the night sky. I’m sure they use scare tactics in a different way now, it is the age old method for getting a child to do what a parent wants.
Perhaps parents should be gifted with a few ‘dog’ books that are available to pet guardians. (When reading just replace ‘dog’ with ‘child’.) The ones that promote positive re-enforcement are good starters. Had my mom read such literature I would not have grown up concerned with mammal eggs in my hair.
While I sat there on my glider (watching for bats) I also noticed there were no children playing outside on a beautiful summer evening. Whatever happened to running about barefoot playing tag? Maybe it would help parents to read a section in chapter three which states, ‘Take your child on a walk at least once a day and make sure to give them plenty of exercise or they could become bored and mischievous’. Mom had a good handle on that. If it was nice outside we were required to BE outside. Understandable since she had eight children in a one room cabin.
I would think a very popular chapter would be ‘socializing your child’, so that one might expect children to have a bit of decorum when in public. Possibly not running all around the restaurant when lunch is being served, screeching like a banshee and running into innocent by-standers like myself.
And let’s not forget the all important obedience section. Sit. Stay. Quiet. Heel. All good words for children to know…through positive re-enforcement of course. Just keep a pocket full of M&M’s handy and dispense them at appropriate times with loving words.
Now if memory serves, I was a model child.
And from my lofty perch of near perfection I observed the shenanigans of the children in the next booth at a fast food restaurant. One child ran off with another’s French fry, there was some taunting involved and then all the wheels came off the wagon as a parent breeched the booth to give chase.
We didn’t act like that. That’s what I said to my mother as she sipped her coffee across from me. She gave me a dubious look.
“Well, maybe I would have been better behaved if you hadn’t threatened bat eggs in my hair and all.” I said, rationalizing some forgotten mischief mom ‘thinks’ I may have created.
“It did keep you from bringing one home….”
I think I heard her add something about my bringing all sorts of animal friends home as she put down her coffee, shaking her head at some distant memory.
Then she added, “You were a pain in the butt Sweetheart.” She motioned her finger about the lobby as if to include me in the nonsense the unruly children were displaying.
Well, my dogs were well behaved…I think. Maybe I better read that book….