Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashback Friday: Sick Days

Product DetailsLast night Chris and I were trying to impress upon Bethany and Connor how much things have changed since we were kids. It is like a whole new world of instant gratification and constant connectivity. My mom was born in the 50's, and
yes, a lot changed between the 50's and the 70's, when I was born, and there was surely a generational gap. My peers were not being drafted into the Vietnam War and protesting for civil rights. Maybe parents felt like they couldn't relate to their kids' newfangled ways when I was growing up, but my kids are living in such a vastly different world than we were living in at their age that it's difficult to even get them to comprehend.

Chris had an idea this morning that we should start doing Flashback Fridays with our kids. When they get home from school, they'll only be allowed to do things we would have been able to do at their age. No iPods, no PS3, no Wii, no internet. However, we're not starting this week because when you have multiple sick kids in the house it's not a good time to rock the boat. 

So yeah, earlier in the week Mathilda was sick. She's better now, but a couple days ago I got a dreaded phone call from school to pick Connor up because he wasn't feeling well. Turns out he's got strep throat. And this morning Lucy came downstairs at 6 a.m. to tell me she threw up. Good times in the George household. I've two home sick from school today, and praying with everything I've got that Bethany doesn't get sick. She has big plans this weekend and she will be heartbroken if she gets sick and has to cancel.

When I was a kid I spent many, many days sick at home. Think two weeks of chicken pox agony, multiple bouts of pneumonia, frequent bronchial infections complete with trips to the E.R. for shots to help me breathe, and a mysterious illness that was very much like mono but not mono and kept me home for at least two weeks. This is what I remember from those days: BOREDOM. Up until 3rd or 4th grade, I had my pick of television shows from 5 or 6 channels. Soap operas and Phil Donahue, the child's version of Ambien. That's about it. I also loved to read, but I could only do that for so many hours because I generally had bad headaches and vomiting to contend with when I was sick, pretty much regardless of the specific type of illness. Then we got cable, and my television options opened up considerably. I thought so anyway, but then I didn't have today's cable television to compare it with. If I felt well enough to sit up or get out of bed, I could get out a deck of cards and play solitaire. To keep in touch with friends, I might make a phone call or two in the evening. If the line was busy or no one answered, I was out of luck and just had to wait and try again.

My kids have been a vision of health compared to me when I was a kid. Which is funny because I was an only child and didn't share germs with three icky siblings. But when they do have the occasional sick day, they have no idea how good they have it. They have at their disposal entire channels devoted to children's programming, but that's only the beginning. Then there's On Demand, Net Flix, and our huge collection of dvds and Blu Rays to choose from. If they get sick of watching television and movies, they have Leapsters, iPod Touches, and Gameboys to play with. If they're feeling well enough to get off the couch, there's the computer and the endless wonder of the internet. And then of course the PS3, Wii,and XBox 360. They can resort to books too, and if they finish their book or don't feel like reading anything we have at home, they can always download a book via the Kindle app. To keep in touch with friends, they can make a phone call, just like I did. If no one answers at home, they can leave a message, but then they can also track the friend down by calling the cell  - or even the parents' cell if the friend happens to not have one (yet). They can email, text, FaceTime, IM, and Skype each other.

It truly is a different world. So I'm thinking maybe I'll start doing regular Flashback Friday posts. Do you have any ideas for future posts? How was your childhood different than that of your children?

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