Monday, October 25, 2010

Mummy, why do I have to wear sunscreen?

Do you remember,
as a child,

...running under the sprinkler,
playing for hours in the heat of summer,
without regard for water shortage or cost?...


...eating whatever food came your way
without worrying about trans fats, artificial colourings, additives or use of growth promotants?...

(image from

...running to catch the plane with your pocket knife in your pocket
and no security checks to slow you down,
not fearing catching any contagious disease from your fellow passengers?...


...flaunting your body in the sun without any fear beyond some painful sunburn?...

(image from

...watching music videos on telly where the most offensive thing
to a 10 year old were the flares, tassles and sequins?...

(from in a time when the words "global warming" and "carbon footprint"
weren't part of everyday language?...


...when your folks pushed you out the door in the morning
and you wandered back in sometime late in the day when you'd finished playing with your mates
around the neighbourhood, and were hungry, dirty, tired, and happy?...


I do.

I remember those times as I answer the question of my 7 year old who wants to know why there is so much security at airports.

I think about them as I explain to my kids why they need to wear hats and sunscreen if
they want to play out in the sun.

I appreciate my childhood as I tell my children what makes some foods good for them
and others, really bad.

I cherish those few times that we can pull out the water slide in the backyard
and let the kids use it for a little while
without concern for wasted water or breaking the law.

I am in wonder that teaching our kids about
recycling, wastage and the conservation of our planet
is a part of their learning process from the word go;
that it is a fact of life.

I am a little melancholy when I remember my holiday days
wandering off with friends to catch tadpoles,
or wander through the neighbourhood fields
as I try to explain the idea of "stranger danger" without scaring my children.

Don't get me wrong.
My kids are having a pretty good childhood.
There are so many opportunities and options today,
improved health and medical care,
increased acceptance of minority groups,
more freedom to live your life as you see fit without being judged
and amazing access to resources and the world.

But I am a little sad that the world has changed forever
and that it is a fact of life that our responsibilites have changed and increased.

Our kids are growing up with
an awareness of what we need to do to look after our planet and each other.
Something that we adults have really only had to learn in the past 10 years or so.

I'd go and treat my melancholy with an iced donut...
if I didn't know about those bloody trans fats.


Clodagh a.k.a. Isra said...

I often think the same. I wonder if our parents thought the same too?

zofia said...

I do Tas.
I feel the same way.
I wish I could offer my kids more freedom. I do feel glad that they get a taste of it at their grandparents place, where they are still able to run a little wild.
Go bake something- even better than that doughnut! :D

Davia said...

I feel the same too. There is a whole world of responsibility for our kids that we never even dreamed of when we were young.

Some people say 'fat is a state of mind' and I like to think like that too when there are doughnuts around. :)

Tracy said...

Have you heard of

I heard on ABC radio she is doing a lecture tour here In Australia.

My parents had no idea where we were most of the time as long as we were home for tea no one paniced. I used to play in the creek building cubbies in the reeds. ( you know where the snakes like to hang out! I used to tightrope walk across a pipe that went over a gorge... I used to swim in the sea with no one else present and wade across the mouth of the river. We used to mudslide down cliffs and jump off of rocks.
Now I get anxious what people will think in that I send my 13yo off to the store on her own.. or If I popped out for 5 minutes to grab milk fro the shop leaving the kids on their own. I used to babysit at 13!
Society puts a lot of expectations on how parents should behave these days and what freedoms they should allow their children.
Sheesh it's hard being a "good" parent.
I remember going to sleep in the back of the station wagon while mum and dad drove! Now we have to strap the kids in. In seats that have never kept my little squirms in, so I have to pull over and rant and put them back in!
Ah the joys of parenting in modern times

Crafty Mama said...

Tas you hit the nail on the head with this post...

Helen said...

Lots of memories there Tas! I remember just us kids sleeping on the front lawn on hot summer nights, and the milky having to pick his way through us to deliver the milk lol
One of our favourite games was playing "house" in an old car left unlocked out on the street, baking "cakes" from real flour, sugar and water we nicked from the kitchen, in the car glovebox. Sometimes it was a getaway car or a policecar or a spaceship!

We know so much more now and with that knowledge, sadly, innocence is lost.

Liz said...

So, so true Tas.

Tanya said...

Absolute ditto Tas. I have very happy childhood memories and really try to let my kids take 'safe risks' and not be a control freak- knowing my mum wouldn't have ever thought twice about letting us ride anywhere. And the food- sheesh, don't get me started. Just read somewhere that girls as young as 8 (in Australia) are doing 'beauty regimes'. Good grief. Hooray for home made clothes!!

Mary said...

definitely a week for musings Tas and I agree with everything you've said. Finding a balance between freedom and safety is always a little difficult.

Lola Nova said...

Oh my yes. My Mr. and I were just talking about this very thing. Mostly, I remember being outside, my mom having no clue where I was or what mischief I was up to. Seeing the sun start to set and racing home before dinner was on the table.
I can't imagine doing that with my girl.
Then again, there are some really good things about being a kid now.

Sally said...

Too right Tas. Those were the days hey? But these - as you say - are great days too. It's just what you make it.

The Handmaden said...

Ah, the memories! The sunburn picture in particular. Ouch!
Do you remember the "hole in the ozone layer"? - that was trendy when I was a kid.