When my dear, sweet babies were born, they were completely and utterly dependant on us, their doting parents. As they grew, we enjoyed a position of superior knowledge, and as parents do, we regularly baffled our youngsters with years of accumulated adult brilliance.
One such befuddlement occurred when my son was five and he was singing a song about monkeys jumping on a bed. To his astonishment, I began to sing along, and he immediately stopped, dumbfounded (and entirely impressed, I’m sure) that I knew the song.
A few years later when my daughter began learning French in grade one, I replied, en Francais, to a simple question she asked in English. Her wide eyes showed shock (and admiration, I’m certain) that I, inexplicably knew some of the second language that she was learning in school.
I basked in the glory of knowing almost all of the answers my young children would ask…but was blissfully unaware that this level of esteem would soon be abruptly yanked from my reluctant grasp.
Fast forward to 2009, and to my 10 and 13-year-old kids who no longer rely solely my wisdom to guide them through their day-to-day situations. In many cases, my offspring have actually bypassed my knowledge level and, if you can imagine, sometimes even find humour in my shortcomings.
Most of what I get ridiculed for are my technological inadequacies, a direct result of growing up in a world that is unimaginably different from the one my kids inhabit. Both kids seem to have an innate ability to answer and solve almost all of my computer, internet, cell phone and iPod questions and problems.
But it wasn’t well-meaning advice they offered the first time I tried to use the remote of a new TV. After picking one of three remotes, I was informed, with a giggle, that it was the wrong one. Luckily my next choice was correct, but I awkwardly pointed the wrong end at the TV. Adding to the hilarity, I asked what the heck was wrong with the new convertor…obviously a term from days gone by.
I continue to do my best to redeem myself in their eyes.
My daughter recently started “spool knitting.” Back in “the olden golden days,” I used an actual spool with nails hammered into it to craft creations of pot holders and coasters. Now known as “French knitting” her “spool” is a vibrantly coloured plastic bumble bee with smooth protruding attachments to hold and guide the yarn.
My kids looked at me in awe (at least I think it was awe) when I launched into a philosophical explanation of the difference between this crafting gadget, and indeed the world, then and now.
I continued to create confusion by telling them about my family’s television when I was a teenager. It was black and white, and not only did we have to get up to change the channels, but because the picture was distorted, we’d have to lodge the multi-purpose spool knitter between the dial and the frame of the TV to keep the picture clear.
They stared at me, puzzled and speechless. I stared back, realizing that they weren’t sure if I was even telling the truth. Surely, they didn’t think I could make this stuff up.
In the end, the vacant look in their eyes flickered with recognition once again when I uttered the words plasma, HD and Blu Ray. I then explained that, since we didn’t know what we were missing at the time, we really weren’t missing anything at all. With that, I’m pretty sure I lost them again.