"We Don't Let Dorothy Crack The Eggs Anymore" Chapter 16: "Loving Lecture"

Never mind those build-it-yourself, easy-to-do construction kits. Be the first on your blobk to own a built-in DE-struction kit. A kid.

You think she jests? Ha! Show me a toy they can't destroy and I will show you...say, take a look at that! How do you suppose the cute little tykes cut through that chain link fence?

Anyway, it has become a quaint custom in this household to paint pictures of vivid examples when I lecture. For instance, on my "Destroy-Destroy-Destroy" exposition, I draw from my childhood store of memories.

(I really got carried away, however, and now I'm finding it difficult to sustain a tale that the only toys I owned were a rag and a stone. THAT resourceful I wasn't. But it's so hard to find similes for being poor. After all, what do they know about life with no television sets, Show-n-Tell, Monster Magnet and Suzie Cute?

But a rag and a STONE?

When the five-year-old asked what game I played with them, I moaned, "I was too poor to play games." (A very dramatic ploy, I tell you!)

I took up the gospel of children-doing-chores-around-the-house as the next laugh-filled routine. What is it when I try to illustrate my past that it breaks up my moppets?

Tell 'em you were a Depression baby and they think it's one of those things the TV aspirin commercial can fix up. But if Mommy was one of those waif-like creatures they feature on CARE packages, how come she isn't skinny?

Back to the Hard Life sermon.

To hear me tell it, my household assignments made Cinderella look like a first-class goldbricker.

"...and so you see, dear children, the reason Mommy can't wear the new short hemlines is that her knees became ugly and calloused from all those years of scrubbing floors." (I'm sure they would buy this if it weren't for the thigh-slapping and raucous laughter produced by their grandparents.)

Usually I end this bit by sinking to my knees. At this level I can peer into their disbelieving eyes and implore, "So you won't help your poor old Mom by making your own beds, sweeping the floor, wiping the dishes, huh?"

Hark to this response!

"Say, don'cha know that Lincoln freed the slaves? How much you gonna pay?"

Two avenues of approach remain. Bribery. And mayhem.

Bribery is telling them you will do something nice for them. Like giving them clean clothes to wear tomorrow. Mayhem results when you suggest each child clean up his OWN mess.

Honestly now, wouldn't it be easier to tell which toy belongs to what kid and who left it in the middle of the floor if they only had a rag and a stone?