I’ve spent most of the past week threatening my daughter with hideous sanctions if she does not get out of the house and do something old-fashioned.

She meets these threats with contempt and pity, and I generally lack the energy to demand that she put away the bloody i-pod and read a   £!!*%@?* book.

What is wrong with children today?  When I was her age, we were catching frogs and digging clams, sailing, reading and jumping over waves for hours while our parents smoked cigarettes, drank vodka tonics and flirted with their peers.  It suited everyone – we got a perfect childhood and they got to live the real life version of Mad Men.

I’ve always been careful to allow my child more or less total freedom, under the guise of encouraging maturity. But in reality it allows me to get on with the things I like doing – reading, writing, riding horses and dozing. If it weren’t for Bananagrams tournaments, the family might get through the whole summer without having a single conversation.

Now if only I could beat the annoying little upstart.


11 thoughts on “Another Perfect Summer Holiday

  1. andrea seigel 9 years ago

    my mom used to get upset with me during the summer because i only wanted to spend time alone in my room. so she’d call me downstairs, put the phone in my hand, slap my address book in front of me, and tell me to call a friend and make some “active plans.” i’d pretend to dial a number, pretend to speak with a friend, pretend to be disappointed that the friend was busy, and then repeat those steps 10 times until finally my mom caved and went out to the market. and then i was doubly happy because i had the whole house to myself, not just my room.

    1. Meg 9 years ago

      And there I was catching minnows in milk bottles.

  2. bookwitch 9 years ago

    I’ve got one here too.

    I also had perfect summers when I was young.

  3. Sara 9 years ago

    My son says things like: “I’m going swimming down at the dam” and “we’re having a bonfire down on the beach again tonight.” It’s as though he’s some kind of throwback.

    1. Meg 9 years ago

      For one brief blissful moment I thought he was winding you up. Code for “going to buy some drugs” or “going back to bed.” I guess I’m just jealous.

  4. Sara 9 years ago

    He may very well be winding me up. What do you imagine “having dinner down at the caves” is code for?

  5. Mari 9 years ago

    It’s totally the opposite for me! I’m the fourth child of five girls and out of all my sisters I’m the only one that seems to want to get out these days.
    We’ve been having such lovely weather where I live and there is this nice, hidden nature path that I enjoy walking down. However, my mom won’t let me walk there alone. So, when I ask if anyone would like to join me on a walk they’re always too tired or too caught up with what’s happening on TV.
    For a while I was riding my bike around the neighborhood alone, but after I fell and scraped my knee my mom said I couldn’t go riding my bike anymore without a helmet and of course…someone to go with me.
    And I can’t seem to turn to friends now that they all have boyfriends/girlfriends and would rather stay indoors with them. Not to sound like a sob story, but I really wish kids my age were as nature-loving as I am.

    1. Meg 9 years ago

      That’s terrible, Mari! I kind of think parents are too overprotective these days…you’ve got to find yourself a friend who likes going out and doing things. There must be someone…….hope you find one.

  6. ceinwen 9 years ago

    I just want to know what bananagrams tournaments are!
    I loved catching tadpoles and having bike races as a child but as a teenager, my mother was always yelling at me to go out and do something instead of “lying in my room reading”. Usually I got around it by going outside and lying in the garden reading.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      I think shouting at children to do something else must just be what parents do. Oh well.

  7. fleur Sinclair 8 years ago

    Bananagrams is probably the best game ever invented – better than scrabble even! My whole extended family is totally addicted – my mother in law has the upturned tiles constantly ready for an impromptu game on an old mircrowave turntable in the middle of her dining table!!!

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