April 2010


Preface: My child does not live in her car seat. She just happens to fall asleep every time we put her in it, which makes for really adorable pictures.

I wanted to share a couple of quotes I’ve recently discovered.

A little girl is sugar and spice and everything nice – especially when she’s taking a nap.”  ~Author Unknown

The only thing worth stealing is a kiss from a sleeping child.” ~Joe Houldsworth

How much do you want to kiss those sweet little cheeks? Admit it. You know you want to!

You got me. I’m an Andy Griffith fan. Give me my polka-dotted pjs, some Oreos, and a 12-hour Mayberry-a-Thon and I am a happy woman!

The other day, as I was leaving the Target parking lot, traffic had backed up because it was lunch time and I was having a hard time getting back onto Hwy 280. The shiny SUVs and BMWs poked along, paying no attention to the person who had been sitting at the yield sign through two green, then yellow, then red lights. Then, an older gentleman in a pick-up truck paused and gave me the familiar wave to go ahead. I reciprocated the “thank you” wave and smiled. At the next light, I returned the good deed to another car who needed to get into the flow of traffic. No wave. No “thank you.” OK. Whatever. I need to learn not to expect people to be polite. Then, I thought, the man in the truck had Mayberry values. This other woman did not.

Here’s another scenario. Earlier this week, I took Madeline with me to the post office to buy stamps. As we were leaving, a small, dark-haired woman opened the door to leave ahead of us. I know that for you and me, instinct would say, “Hold the door for everyone, particularly a woman with a flippin’ baby carrier.” The woman at the post office was not as bright as you and I. She, apparently was raised in the woods by a pack of wolves who did not have Mayberry values. She let the door close in my face without so much as a second glance. I said, “Thank you! Have a nice day!” anyway, because it was the polite thing to say and I was raised to have manners.

Let me explain what I mean by Mayberry values. These are the values with which I was raised in our little neighborhood, surrounded by elderly Southern ladies and gentlemen. They are values of common courtesy, good manners, and kindness just for the sake of being kind. They are the values that led Andy, Aunt Bee, and the others to take casseroles and desserts to Miss Emma when she “took sick.” They are the same values that ensured that when Opie was rude or disrespectful or did something careless, there were always negative consequences instead of a bail-out. These same values prompted people to say hello to one another, to know how long to stay before overstaying their welcome, and to help others in need.

Yes, I admit I am a stickler for manners. And, I’m not talking about white gloves and tea time here. I mean basic consideration for other people. Every rule of proper etiquette has been put in place for a reason, and that reason is usually to make sure that we treat others the way we would want to be treated. Would you want someone sharing your personal information without asking you? That’s why it’s polite to mind your own business. There was an Andy Griffith Show episode about that. Would you want someone to keep you up at night with a lot of noise, knowing that you had to get up early? There’s an Andy Griffith Show episode about that.

Did you know that there’s a reason we don’t put our elbows on the table? It’s so that you sit up straighter so that you can participate in conversation with other people at the table. OK, there’s no episode about that, but there is one where the Darlings are eating supper with the Taylors and have terrible table manners.  But, that’s a post for another time.

Think about it, though. Who were the only people on the show portrayed as not knowing how to mind their manners, respect others, and obey the Golden Rule? The Darlings and Ernest T. Bass – illiterate hillbillies with no education who were quite possibly inbred.

Mayberry values also cover acts of kindness. In one Christmas episode, Aunt Bee makes Christmas dinner for the family of an inmate who is in jail because he has lost his job and been evicted from his home on Christmas. Between the Taylors bringing Christmas dinner and mean old Ben Weaver bringing presents for the kids, it turns out to be a wonderful Christmas for everyone because they all acted in kindness.

I tried to remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas when there were no non-family members sitting at our table. I can’t remember one. There was always someone there from Daddy’s work or a friend of my parent’s who didn’t have any family and was going to be lonely for the holidays. If someone couldn’t afford to have gifts under the tree that year, my parents made sure Santa came. If someone didn’t have enough to eat or shoes or a jacket when it got cold, my parents stepped up and pitched in, whether we had much or had little.  They didn’t do it for a pat on the back. They did it because it was the right thing to do.

If you are the mayor, Ellie the pharmacist, or Helen the teacher, you are not superior in any way to Goober the mechanic, Juanita the waitress, or even Otis the town drunk for that matter. And, if you think you can talk down to them because you have more of whatever it is you have more of (education, status, money, etc.) perhaps you should try to fix your own car and stay home to eat. We were all created by the same God and not one of us has the right to treat people as if they were beneath us. We should give the cashier at Publix the same friendly smile we give to colleagues at our own jobs.

I once heard a man say that he thought Southern hospitality was “mean,” because it requires things to be done a certain way. Why do I have a feeling this man’s children are the ones who don’t get invited back to friends’ houses because they don’t know how to say “please” or “thank you” or to pick up after themselves?

So, what happened to Mayberry values? Did they really disappear so long ago? I’m only 33 and I was certainly raised to mind my manners and treat other people the way I want to be treated. Are these values really so old-fashioned and out-of-date?

Maybe. But, you’d better believe that we’ll be passing Mayberry values along to Madeline.

If you are a child of the ’90s, a parent of a child of the ’90s, or a child of the ’80s who babysat children of the ’90s, then you are probably are familiar with Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats.” If you have ever seen the show or the movie, you undoubtedly know the adorable twins, Phil and Lil DeVille.

I now present to you Madeline, the obvious successor to Lil DeVille.

Let me be the first to admit that I am artfully dark. I love reading Poe, will watch or read anything related to the Salem Witch Trials, and find the biographies of Sylvia Plath, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison to be tragically interesting. Otherwise, I’m Emily Post and Donna Reed rolled into one. (I’m not really weird. Just a little artsy.)

And yet, there are lullabies and nursery rhymes that make me wonder why in the world we sing them to our children.

I’m sure many of you have wondered about “Rock-a-Bye, Baby.” A baby is sleeping in a tree , the wind blows, and the kid takes a frightening tumble to the ground. Does the baby get injured? Perhaps not, but it’s implied. What a scary story for a small child! There is some debate as to whether this one is an allusion to Native American tribes who used to put their babies in something like a sling and tie them in trees, or a famous war hero’s child who was killed when he fell out of a tree. Either way, ugh!

The song that gets me the most, though, is a lullabye called “All the Pretty Little Horses.” The first verse is benign enough, promising a team of pretty horses to a child if he or she will go to sleep. OK, fine. The second goes a little something like this:

Down in the meadow lies a poor little lambie

Bees and butterflies picking at its eyes

Poor little thing is crying, “Mammy!”

I don’t know about you, but I find that rather disturbing! This song is on one of Madeline’s lullabye cd’s. I know it hasn’t affected her sleep at all, but it sure kept me up one night. I was afraid to go to sleep because that is one scene I do not want hauting my dreams!

Nursery rhymes are just as creepy. The farmer’s wife severs the tails of three visually-impaired vermin with a carving knife. We all know about “Ring Around the Rosy.” An old woman who lives in a shoe refuses to give her children any bread and then beats them before they go to sleep. The pumpkin eater’s wife is reportedly an allusion to a cuckolded man forcing his wife to wear a chastity belt. How did that ever become appropriate for a children’s rhyme?? And, why exactly are those three men in one tub?

Am I overthinking this? Am I the only one who has wondered?

What about you, dear reader? Can you think of others?

Today, Madeline had her first taste of rice cereal. The following is her harrowing story chronicled in pictures.

"Hmm. That looks like big people food. Why is it such a small bowl, though? That's an awfully pretty spoon."

"Oh, I'm supposed to eat it? Well, OK. It's not in a bottle, but I'll give it a shot."

 

"Alrighty. It's not awful. It's not...wait...hey!"

"What IS that?? You tricked me! I don't believe for one minute that you & Daddy eat this mess!"

Don’t let the little diva face fool you. She actually did pretty well with it after a couple of bites, you know, once she figured out what to do with the mush in her mouth.

Our little sweet pea is growing up. Today it’s rice cereal, and tomorrow she’ll be asking for a cell phone to call her boyfriend named SparkPlug and yelling that she hates us because we won’t buy her a car or pay for her to get her lip pierced.

Or, maybe just some green beans.

“Make new friends but keep the old; for one is silver and the other, gold.”

Madeline has had the opportunity to make some new friends over the past couple of weeks while I lunched with my old ones. Hmm. I never envisioned myself as a “lady who lunches.” Ick. 

Without getting all sappy (because you know that’s not my style) about how wonderful my gold level friends are, I will say that it has been wonderful to be able to catch up with Jenn on a regular basis, and I miss Sheryl terribly.

But, Madeline had a good time making some silver friends: beautiful Addie and handsome little Andrew. Very soon, she will get to spend some time with Luke and Aubrey while their mommy and I catch up over lunch and coffee.

OK, bring on the sappy. I miss my Georgia friends like CRAZY and I get all giddy and excited when I know I’m going to get to spend time with them. (And, not just because it’s adult human contact!) Not that I love my Birmimgham friends any less – my oldest friend and the woman who introduced me to my husband are here, for heaven’s sake – but our faraway friends are loved and missed and I wish we could spend more time with them.

There. I said something all sentimental and junk. Happy?

Getting sweet hugs & kisses from Addie

Getting sweet hugs & kisses from Addie

Andrew wanted a closer look at the little bald baby.

Today is Madeline’s four month birthday, and we enjoyed a day of celebrating Christ’s triumph over the grave! The Easter Bunny was quite good to Babyhead this year, sending his helpers in the form of Grandpa Phil, Uncle Ben & Aunt Elizabeth, and Uncle David & Aunt Kathy. Oh, and Mommy & Daddy, of course.

Enjoy the pictures, and feel free to sing along.

Happy Easter!

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it...

...you'll be the grandest baby in the Easter parade!

I'm wo' out.