Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hello Summer!

Whew! It was hot today. Hot enough for this

and this

a little too hot for this

although I tried.

Ben refuses to wear shorts. It was 85 degrees today, but Ben has to wear "long pants." And boots.

And if you check out those boots, well...
Anyway, he was hot and cranky, and I told him that that is why people wear shorts in the summer, but he is having none of it. I'm thinking I'll make him some lightweight clam diggers, you know, longer than shorts, but shorter than pants. He also won't wear sandals or go bare-foot. He has a thing about feet that I won't go into here. I don't know where this comes from, certainly not from me. I remember being bare-footed most of the summer, as a child.

The first time with no shoes in the summer was always painful. There were no sidewalks in my neighborhood, just a little slope of asphalt extending up from the street, bordering peoples yards and driveways. One of my friends lived next-door to me, two others lived at the end of the street in the cul-de-sac. We traveled by bike or by foot to each others' homes, and by the end of the summer the bottoms of our feet were hard with calluses, and we had suffered more than our share of "stubbed toes."

The local public swimming pool was a good distance away. I'm not sure of the exact mileage, but it probably took us 20-30 minutes on our bikes to get there. There was usually a group of 4 or 5 of us, and we would pack up our suits, towels, and money for admission to the pool - plus some change to spend on penny candy and pop at the drug store afterwards. No adults accompanied us on these excursions, and nobody ever bothered us. When I think back on those years, I feel lucky to have grown up when it was still possible to enjoy such activities, and a little sad for Ben, because the way the world is now, I would never allow him to ride a half hour to get anywhere - even with a group of friends.

When I was about 7 months pregnant, a representative from the Sheriff's office stopped by with a flyer to inform us that a "level 2 registered sex offender," a pedophile, had moved into our neighborhood.
"But it doesn't look like you'll have anything to worry about for a while." He said.
I looked down at the flyer and read that this individual targeted 6 and 7 year olds. I suppose his comment was meant to reassure me. It didn't.

I'm not sure if Ben realizes that we are a little freakish about our "don't talk to strangers, don't go with anyone you don't know, even if (ESPECIALLY if) they offer you candy, stay close to the house, don't go down to the street without Mom or Dad..." speeches. I'm trying to deliver this information without giving him a complex, or developing unreasonable fear in him. I want him to understand about being cautious. I want him to develop a good sense of judgement, and confidence. I really wish I could let him roam the neighborhood on his bike in the summer. I wish I could give him the kind of summers I had. But it's not all bad, there will be camping and hiking and picnics and other memories made. Ben will probably grow up thinking how lucky he was to have lived in such a time.


Alpha DogMa said...

I love clothes hanging out to dry. My town has outlawed (YES, you read that right) clothes lines, but permits clothes umbrellas - so I've one just like you.

Clam diggers? What? Oh you mean a pair of man-pris! Capris for men! I bet those would work well - he'll hate you in a decade for dressing him funny, but whatever works!

I, too, loved going barefoot in the summer. By the third week of July the soles of my feet were like leather.

theflyingmum said...

I prefer the "line," but ever since our barn collapsed, there isn't anywhere to string one up. I googled "pattens for clam diggers" and look what came up - COOL!

mamalang said...

OMG, I think I wore some of the clothes from those Bare feet is the ONE thing my son got from me. I'm not exaggerating, he is his father's clone, except he loves to be barefooted. My husband has baby feet and is freakish about wearing socks and shoes.

I've been dealing with that internal debate of bike riding for this summer too. Not sure how I'm handling it yet.

And I hate clothes dried on the line...I like my clothes soft as can be. My hubby on the other hand loves them dried outside...stiff as a board.

theflyingmum said...

I'm pretty sure I wore some of those "sunsuits" - as for line drying, towels take some getting used to, but I kind of like them rough and scratchy. The rest of the clothes are fairly soft, and I like the way dish towels and napkins are smooth, not wrinkled as from the dryer. Line-dried clothes: you either love'em or hate 'em.

Anonymous said...

When I was about eight, I had one of the sunsuits in a grass green fabric with frogs on it. I loved the bloomers.

It's funny, my mom let us go barefoot, but she was martinetish about washing our feet before we came in - the rugs! the rugs!

My neighbor is very energy conservative and dries everything on the line. I have shuddered at the stiff towels for the last ten years, but suddenly last week I thought, "Hmm. A bracing scrub at the end of the shower might feel good." I'll try it.

NotSoSage said...

Hmm...I wrote a comment at bubandpie's earlier today about the feeling of your soft winter feet emerging onto the hot, poky gravel. It seems that summer is in the air!

It's strange, isn't it, how times change and supervision increases? I wonder how we will handle it. A young girl from our neighbourhood was abducted and murdered a few years ago and I think that has scarred this community for life. I'm just glad that, for the next few years, there's a park, community centre and skating rink directly across the street from our house so we can give Mme L the sense of being independent while watching her like a hawk from our porch.

Misty said...

Distrust is like a cancer and I am riddled with it. I fear letting Mike go ANYWHERE out of my sight. I freak out when he is in the backyard and never let him spend the night out. I am hoping I get over it before I make him a hermit with no friends.

Mad Hatter said...

I love this post, FM. I love the way it moves from Ben's own desire to smother himself in clothing to reflect on all our desires as mothers to not smother our children with caution and, yet, our real knowledge of potential dangers. Very well written.

theflyingmum said...

Mad: that is so true! I want Ben to run around in shorts and sandals, yet i worry he'll get a sunburn. I want him to zoom around the neighborhood on his bike, but I worry about potentially dangerous neighbors. UGH!
Misty: it's hard not to want to tie them to our apron strings, especially when they are so little, and we know their sense of judgement is not yet well developed.
Sage: I would imagine that the incident with the girl in your neighborhood would help to make it a safer place, as folks are (probably) now ultra alert to anything out of the ordinary.
Sober Briquette: towels are best dried on a windy day, then they aren't (as) stiff, but probably still waaaaay stiffer than you're used to. Here's hoping you like it!

vintagechica said...

We are having similar issues here adjusting to the warmer weather. And to further confuse things, we have to wear pants when we go out walking in the pasture. So half of the time Im telling them to wear shorts, they'll be cooler. And then the other half telling them to put some pants on so the chiggers dont get them. Ugh!

theflyingmum said...

Hey, Vintage Chica! Welcome to my blog! Looks like blogger is still recognizing your old account, but at least I can look back at some of your previous projects.
Oh, chiggers! My husband grew up in central Illinois and has told tales of them. Here in the Maritime Pacific Northwest we don't have them, but it looks like it coud be a bad year for ticks. You said it: Ugh!