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It Takes A Village (Idiot) To Raise A Child (Just Ask My Kids)
Back in 1996, Hillary Clinton introduced us, via her book, to the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child." The meaning being that the whole village must be involved in order to raise a decent child. The proverb further states that the whole village reveres the women who bear the future generation. Now personally that is my favorite part of the proverb, but I also understand that it would make the title too big for the book cover.
Unfortunately in leaving off the part about revering me, Hillary left the door wide open for my children to reinterpret and actually restate the title. In their opinion, after having lived under my tutelage for lo these many years, the proverb surely must be, "It takes a village IDIOT to raise a child."
I am not flattered. But then, neither am I alone. For if I am the village idiot, my husband must certainly be the district dolt, colony cuckoo, hamlet half-wit or borough buffoon. (Get the feeling I am enjoying naming him?)
So why the lack of reverence? Why the fall from grace? Why the sprained eyeball sockets, which incidentally are not covered by our HMO? Simple, they are doing what you and I did to our parents, they are growing up.
Yes, these poor children of mine have advanced to the age where each statement, argument, and debate is now punctuated with eye rolls, exaggerated sighs and dramatic exits worthy of an Oscar . Like generations of children (and Enron and Worldcom employees) before them, they have discovered that the very people they once trusted, looked up to and respected for all their knowledge and wisdom, have been making it all up as they go along. And just like Enron and Worldcom stock, shares of Daddy&Mommy, Inc. (NASDAQ: DAM) have plummeted. Our mental net worth is lower than a share of Martha Stewart, Inc - and thatís not a good thing.
I suppose they could be right. After all, only an IDIOT would say things to them like, "Donít run with scissors.", "Turn off the lights.", "Eat your vegetables." and "Turn down that music!!" And only the stupidest of the stupid would force them into activities such as room cleaning, dish washing and laundry folding. And I do suppose I further reinforce that "idiot image" by doing things as insane as hugging them in public, looking over their shoulders while they are online and insisting their homework be completed before the TV is turned on. What a screwball I am!
For his part, the hamlet half-wit need only open his mouth. Poor dolt, any attempt to verbally discipline them results in his tongue tying into knots that would make a sailor proud. He turns into a human gumball machine of sorts, with thoughts just randomly dropping from his addled brain onto his tongue and out of his mouth. It is not uncommon to hear things like, "You know better than . . . uh, yeah . . . um . . . when you think what you uh did . . . hrumpf . . . and then things like, you know . . . well, stop it and . . . ROOM TO YOUR GO!" Has all impact of a French movie with no subtitles, in fact the child in trouble has dozed off on more than one occasion.
He also manages to retain his title by virtue of his recreational attire. Now in all fairness, the girls did buy him the Sponge Bob Squarepants boxer shorts, but they never envisioned he would actually pair them with his hideous neon orange and blue aloha shirt and then go public. And they say Iím an idiot?
Well, actually no. They do not say it out loud. After all, the children in this village know where their allowance comes from. And while they may be the offspring of idiots, they certainly arenít stupid.