Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Generation Y, Sandwich Generation… they all pale in comparison. Today’s youths face issues us old fogies can never comprehend. Namely, they are wusses.
My own children are a crystal-clear demonstration of this new ruling class. They are unimpressed with tales of long hikes in the snow (uphill both ways, barefoot). Tell them that there were no superhero band-aids, though, and they recoil in disbelief.
I fear that in their bid to become poster children for their generation, my kids are going to empty my bank account, kill themselves, and drive me insane. Not necessarily in that order.
To my mind, the predominant problem here is this notion of entitlement that plagues these kids. I have no idea who taught them that they can get hurt.
[*looking over my Mama crib notes* Hmmmm… “Get down from there RIGHT NOW!” … “Well if he told you to SET YOURSELF ON FIRE, would you DO it??” … “It’s not safe to run with scissors!” … “Because it’s NOT SAFE, THAT’S why.” Ummm… *crumpling paper and tossing it behind me*]
Anyway, as I was saying before I, uh, saw something shiny over there, these kids are absolutely slaves to the notion that 1) injury is everywhere and 2) it’s bad. And it’s not so much that this would be a problem in and of itself; especially if, say, it kept them from doing things like walking on the back of the couch as if it was a tightrope. But while it does not appear to act as a deterrent to hazardous behavior, it does result in nearly constant complaints of grievous injury at the hands of others, and the immediate demand for attention to these war wounds.
“I NEEEEEEED A BAND-AID!” Who knew it would become a virtual battle cry?
The manifestations of this syndrome can vary, of course.
Monkey prefers to claim mortal strikes early and often. If someone (perhaps his sister) brushes by too close to him, he begins to wail. “She hit me!” I try to ignore him. He then ups the ante. “She PUNCHED me!” This is usually accompanied by a keening howl–head thrown back for maximal effect. Now I must react if there’s any hope of stopping the noise.
“Honey, you’re fine. Stop it.”
“Nooooooooooooo! I’M BLEEDING!” And he’ll hold out a random body part for my inspection. I’ll look him over, and then I have to pick one from my standard stock of responses:
A) “No you’re not.”
B) “OH MY GOD! It’s a… FRECKLE!”
C) “I see. Then did she run you over with the car? Hit you with a baseball bat? Rip out your eyeballs?”
… and then I’ll spend the next half an hour running away from his insistence that I fork over a band-aid for his imaginary gash.
Chickadee, on the other hand, waits for genuine harm to evoke her perceived latex birthright. Today was a banner example: She was racing down the driveway at full-tilt and tripped over her own feet (that’s my girl!) and skinned her knee in a most impressive fashion. It was a largish area, a classic skinning. One layer of skin sacrificed to the asphalt; a moderate amount of blood; good coverage but very shallow.
Now, I’m happy to tend to such a matter appropriately. It needed cleaning and perhaps bandaging, yes. But it was a play in five acts, starring Chickadee (a.k.a. Sarah Heartburn).
The Tragedy Of The Mortal Skinning
Act 1 (Exposition): Behold! I am dying!
Act 2 (The tension mounts): I am now crippled, and incapable of walking inside for treatment.
Act 3 (Zenith of action): I demand that you nurse me back to health while I scream if you bring any object within a ten foot radius of me.
Act 4 (Denouement): Now I shall languish on the couch. You may kiss my bandage.
Act 5 (Recap): Time to recount the harrowing tale on the phone to Daddy!
Not an hour after The Knee Ordeal, Monkey launched himself at me as I walked down the hallway, and managed to clock his ankle on a doorway hard enough to draw a tiny circle of blood. He was positively triumphant.
Fortunately, the antiseptic wash, antibiotic ointment, and band-aids were still sitting out on the counter. Come to think of it… they hardly ever get put away.
I can hardly wait until the first time one of them needs actual stitches or breaks a bone. Coming of age these days isn’t so much complicated as it is… ummm… bloody.