Monday, January 29, 2007

Die, die, DIE!

I have enough disgruntlement (it's a word!) over clueless twinkies on baby boards who write things like: "we had a peak at the baby in their", and "my hip's feel so lose", but I get particularly exasperated when I spot Grammar Idiocy in print. I mean, isn't that why people pay a person called The Editor? Helloooo!

So, I'm reading one of my comic books (Ultimate Fantastic Four currently written by Mike Carey) and Reed Richards (arguably the cleverest bloke in the Marvel Universe - which makes it 10 times worse) refers to a cube-shaped object as ... wait for it ... "A Dice."

Kill me now*.


In related news - but more pleasant - I had a teary-eyed moment of intense motherly pride the other day.

I was kidding my oldest (aged five-years-in-less-than-two-weeks), Boy, about being so skinny. I was jokingly comparing him to his sister the Human Crash Test Dummy who, despite her appetite, remains downright scrawny. He laughed and said:

"I'm not scrawny! None of us is scrawny!"

None of us IS scrawny.

I know grown people, folks who have graduated from university, who cannot get subject-verb agreement down pat. But my five-year-old can do it. Really, I almost wept with pride.

Of course it's not because he's a genius or anything (although the boy is pretty bloody clever. He can read and write easily and knows a startling amount about dinosaurs), it's that he has two parents who strive to speak impeccable English (not counting his mother's random *koff* epithet).

I don't think people grasp sometimes how much they influence their children by example.

Folks carefully read a book a night to their toddlers, for instance, thinking that this is all one needs to produce readers. It's not enough. Children have to see a love of books. They have to see Mum and Dad reading books, the house needs to be filled with books.

So many people think that school will teach their children to speak and write properly - again - it's not enough. Language development begins in babyhood. Along with most other things.

You can't wait. You can't think: "Well, I'll begin teaching proper grammar/ table manners/ politeness / how to share/ how to write thank-you notes/ fill-in-the-blank when she gets older."

The same idea holds for discipline, IMHO. You can't think: "He's way too young to discipline now" or "Aww, let him stand up in the shopping trolley, he's too small to fall out" or "Well, she's two. Two year olds often throw themselves on the ground in the parking lot and scream and thrash about because they don't want to be buckled in their carseats."

I suppose you've heard about the overzealous Ms. Sally the-government-knows-what's-best-for-your-children-better-than-you-do Lieber and her anti-spanking legislation proposal? John Rosemond (whom I generally adore) wrote a good piece on it.

Aside from the obviously unacceptable notion that the government should be allowed to intrude any further into my life, and the hysterical/ liberal view that popping a child on the hand or the bum is child abuse, there's a practical problem:

The whole thing is bass-ackwards in my opinion. You consistently discipline from the get-go (including reasonable spanking if that's your thing) , by the time a child reaches age four - an age where you can explain things and reason with a child - then you shouldn't have to spank very often afterward.

The whole don't-touch-until-age-four thing seems like an accident waiting to happen. Wouldn't an out of control child who has had nothing but gentle rebukes; brief time-outs; and deep, meaningful talkings-to be more likely to be abused by an exasperated parent exploding and really beating him?

Of course, the real point of all of this is that yet another person is attempting to tell us mothers that we cannot be trusted to use our own judgement. If it isn't other mothers doing mommy drive-bys or Republicans telling us we have no rights to make decisions about our own bodies, it's the Democrats defining spanking for us because, bless out little hearts, we are too stupid to do this tough job of motherhood without guidance.

Leave us the heck alone! Trust us and we will be more apt to trust ourselves and do a good job of raising future generations. Perhaps that's why some folks let things like education and discipline slide - they have been berated by others (all the stupid childcare books by the 'experts' spring to mind) into thinking that they are not doing a good enough job.


PS: Just a note to everyone awaiting goodies. I'm getting to it! I made an error and waited until after the first so they cut my cheque (which removes all the mad money from my store account) so I have to wait until I accumulate more. Sorry for the delay!


*Yeah, I know. You're all saying: "well, it's just a comic book!" NO! No excuse. My children will be reading these one day. Those guys are writers and should be held to the same exacting standards as any writer! Now if we could just get newspapers on board. Worst. Grammar. Evar!

Edited to add: in all fairness I had to come back and point out that I was mistaken about who said 'dice'. It was johnny Storm, not Reed. Not that this excuses it.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 10:40 am   10 comments


At 10:21 am, Blogger k said...

I am in a part of Europe where spanking is forbidden and the way it works here is that no one is after you for a slap on the bottom. The point of such laws is that you have the possibility to go after parents who are mistreating their kids. I am talking about serious mistreatments here – before black eyes and blue marks were a legal grey area because of the right to spank. I have never seen this law abused in the countries I’ve lived in: Denmark, the U.K. and the Netherlands. As far as I see it: you are not the target of this law.
(Oh and I apologise for my English – its my 3rd language.)

At 10:33 am, Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

K, thank you for your comment!

It's v. cool to hear the opinion of someone who is actually living with this sort of law. It gives us another perspective.

(PS: please don't apologize for your English - it's better than a lot of Americans'!)

At 11:36 am, Anonymous VegaVixen said...

K, I have many friends in Europe, and am aware of these laws. I also know that Europeans (and those in the UK, natch) seem to be much more sensible when applying such laws. Unfortunately, Americans don't seem to be able to make such subtle distinctions very well. Here, a law banning spanking would put a mother who simply swats once in public in severe jeopardy of losing her children to Child Services. Store customers would report her to the manager, who would feel compelled to call police, etc. It's just a crazy mentality, which actually reminds me of another "turn-your-neighbor-in" type of mentality which existed not so long ago, in another country....

Blue, I'm with you on the reading. Neither of my parents went beyond HS. Yet, my sibs and I saw them reading every day, and saw the pleasure it gave them to do so.

My mother used to receive a "Reader's Digest Condensed Book" every month, as well as numerous magazines, including National Geographic. And they maintained a wonderful collection of the classics on their many bookshelves.

When I was learning to read, my mother would cook dinner and have me read aloud to her. She would occasionally ask me to reread something, and correct a pronounciation or inflection, or ask me to discuss what I had just read. As a result, my reading level at school was much higher than grade. During visits to the school library, I read non-fiction while other kids read Dr. Seuss!

To this day, my siblings and I are avid readers, and, though we sometimes speak and write in the local vernacular, we do know proper English. I personally find myself considering a mid-life career change to writing!

At 5:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter's newest word is AIN'T. She speaks so well and then throws the word "ain't" in her sentences, and it drives me nuts. She said she has heard it from her friends at school--she goes to a 4-K program at a local church. Hopefully, this will pass (as does everything else) with age and schooling.

At 8:46 pm, Anonymous mrschili said...

Blue, this is a GORGEOUS post. May I link it to my grammar rants? Did you SEE the freaking meatball bag?! Or the Fruity Cheerios?! I wrote General Mills a LETTER, even, and they have, thus far, COMPLETELY ignored me! UGH!

I've been having a lot of parenting conversations lately. Just tonight, our waitress at Friendly's complimented our daughters for being "the most polite little girls I've ever seen." The sad thing is that I doubt she was exaggerating. It's SHAMEFUL that children who can behave nicely in public are singled out as wonders....

At 8:26 am, Blogger k said...

I have to add that it was always frowned upon to hit your children in public here. Simply not the done thing.

At 9:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Glad to see you are back at the post. I missed you! I'm glad you are feeling better.

I highly recommend reading Freakonomics. This is an amazing read. The book reaffirms what you mentioned in your post about laws.

Stay well!

5 kiddies - yes they are all mine, same marriage, and YES we will keep going until we get an ugly one!
DS 14
DD 12
DS 5
DD 3
DS 5 mos.

At 8:14 pm, Anonymous AeroDog said...

I swear to E. B. White I can't find anything to disagree with in this post! Good job.

At 10:21 pm, Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto - on the spanking, on the grammar, and on the need for spanking people with bad grammar. DITTO.

At 1:44 pm, Anonymous stacey said...

Blue, where are you girl?

I hope all is well.


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