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RAISING KIDS THE BABY BOOMER WAY

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An article posted by salon.com, an article from 2001 titled The Curse Of The Hippie Parents, reflects on a then thirty five year old woman’s memories from childhood.

If she’s forty eight now, she’s almost in late boomer territory. Which means her parents were early boomers, the group who made it all possible by their reaction to moms, dads, and too much free time in college.

If she had kids, she probably didn’t give them the same upbringing she had, but isn’t there always a little overlap?

A boomer man, a member of boomerpdx, gave his take on raising kids with a hippie, though a latter day version.

“My wife waves her hippie card, but she graduated from high school in the mid-seventies. When I explain the timeline, that the hippie dream peaked at a free concert in Golden Gate Park in 1967 and everything after is a repeat of a familiar theme, she takes offense.

“Honey, I say, wearing old clothes and spraying patchouli oil around does not a hippie make. It’s more than weed and nature and neurosis.

“We got married outside in hippie fashion and while we didn’t talk about kids, she heard enough from me, (why would anyone get married if they didn’t want kids? Get a dog, not a wife or husband if companionship is the goal) that kids were part of our life together.

“Did I know she was a home birth fan? Not exactly. Did I try and talk her out of it? Sort of, but since she was the one in the driver’s seat, birthing chair, what can you say? She said she was pregnant, not sick, so why go to a hospital?

“Did I know she was an adamant breast feeder? That’s not something that came up ahead of time, but once we had kids she was doing it all over the place. In a nice, discreet way, but not hiding out either.

“After home births and breast feeding sunk in, the next hurdle was daycare. Daycare for my brothers and I meant a sweet old lady named Violet who lived near our grade school. During an interview with my Mom, Violet said she wouldn’t look after us if she wasn’t allowed to whip us.

“She had a bad hip and a big yard so I figured we could stay ahead of her if she thought we needed whipping. My Mom liked her attitude.

“Since my wife had the hippie-cred, she found the right daycare for out kids, or found a few. One was an enlightened group of sensitive young people. I came in one afternoon to pick up and didn’t see my kid. A young man and young woman were inside discussing life while looking into each other’s eyes about two inches apart.

“They looked at me like I was intruding. Maybe I was? I headed into the playground. No kid. I looked for hiding places. The top of the slide was covered. I climbed up to find an older kid choking my four year old. Not very harmonious.

“The next stop was a single woman. Nice lady with a nice house. I stopped to pick up one day and walked into a chemical haze. She was an artist dedicated to making collages of her favorite dead rock stars. She’d cut out pictures, glue them to foam core, then spray them with a sealer. My first breath inside the house felt like a brain killer and there was my kid in a daze.

“We finally went from private to institutional daycare, a pre-school set up where you were charged ten dollars a minute if you were late to pick up. One day my kid wasn’t listening and I counted him to three. The staff lady looked at another staffer and said, “I wonder what happens at home after he counts to three.” They had me pegged? “I count to three, then do it again, just like this.” And I counted to three again.

“Raised by hippies is one thing. Raised by boomers is another. Sometimes the two cross paths. That’s when the fun starts.”

The lasting message from the Salon piece and the boomer dad is working together to find a way. Do it for the kids. Will they grow up and make the same mistakes you made? Probably, with new ones every day.

Has anyone else raised their kids the hippie way? The boomer way?

The best daycare experience is still Violet and the whip threat and the idea of her galloping around the yard.

About David Gillaspie
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