Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Inner June

“I suffocated my inner June”. I laughed when I read this post on a friend’s Face Book thread.  The thread was of course talking about disgusting fridge veggie drawers and June Cleaver. For me my “Inner June” is a really good thing. But my inner June is not June Cleaver, it is June Michalak. It is how I know how to do all kinds of things. Sometimes I feel like I am channeling my mommy at the most important times.
Our generation and those previous learned how to do most everything by watching and working alongside our moms. Some mothers are patient enough to let their kids do everything with them, cook and clean, fold laundry and so on. Mommy made everything into a game and story. While she washed the kitchen floor, she put me on the kitchen table and told me stories about the mother cat and her kitten that were on the linen calendar in the kitchen. I never had to cook often since mommy or my sister always did the cooking, but I learned from watching. I just knew how to do things. Maybe with less technology we spent more time with our parents and observed and participated more. Some things I know Mommy taught me. Some things I learned just by watching.
 I made sailor collars for the Little Dogs for the 4th of July. (Yes, I dress my little dogs). When I was turning the little tie right side out and pressing it, it occurred to me that Mommy must have taught me how to do that and if it wasn’t for her how would I know how to do all the things I know how to do? She was a master entertainer. If you left our house hungry it was your own fault. Part she learned from her mother who was an amazing cook and baker. And part she learned from watching the chefs at her father-in-law’s restaurant in the Bristol Hotel in Warsaw. The canapés and salads she made were decorated with sliced olives mayonnaise piped out of a baggy or paper cone she fashioned.  Sometimes I got to help, sometimes I just watched. She wasn’t as patient with sewing. While she sewed her things she gave me fabric, scissors and a needle and thread. She taught me how to use the sewing machine and let me go to town. Certain things she did teach me, like how to put a zipper in and turn something right side out. She learned how to sew and embroider by watching her mother and aunts sew.
"Real Polish Canapes"
I am not always a patient mom and preferred that Big Daddy entertained the kids while I did what needed to be done. It was easier and quicker for me. Not that I am one of those anal control freaks that thinks no one else can do things “RIGHT” but me. The kids have some cleaning chores. It might not be perfect but the bathroom is clean and the dust sheep are sucked up.
Big Daddy is trying to get The Prince interested in car maintenance and home repair so he will know how to do all the things his dad taught him. The Prince is not into this idea. “WHYYYYYY do I HAVE to help?” Well, everyone needs to help because we all live in this house and you need to learn these life skills. At our house we do a lot of things ourselves because we are too cheap and or can’t afford to hire someone else do it. For the record I would have a cleaning lady in a snap!  I thought I would do all kinds of crafts and teach them how to sew. I was too tired and didn’t have enough patience. This is one of my regrets. Princessa has no interest in sewing or crafting. The Prince is my creative one.  She does clean well and maybe she will learn how to maintain her Jeep.
These days people have things done for them because time is money. We take our cars to have the oil changed, we employ landscapers and cleaning ladies (not that there is anything wrong with that, I would in a minute if I could), we go to places to buy already chopped up food that we just have to cook according to the recipe. All the time saving measures we take are taking teachable moments away from our kids.  Princessa asked me how to do something simple in the kitchen. I don’t remember what it was exactly but I do remember that I was just shocked that she had no idea how to do it. It was something that she has witnessed a bazillion times! These children just are NOT paying attention! They sit there and text or stare at the TV and ignore everything.  I have two and four years to teach these kids some life skills. I hope one day they will be doing something and remember that it was THEIR mommy who showed them how to do it.
The Pups in their Sailor finery.