Tonight Chris was playing with all three children on the bed. We were doing the piggy dance when Everett said:
“Ok Dada let’s make this good! Big bananadingdoos – really high! And then a ginormous flomp at the end!”
Of course Gwen and Teddy saw this and immediately took an interest. Teddy walked over to get some bounces, and Gwen started saying “My turn!”
After a while Chris said breathlessly “You…guys…are…wearing…me…out!”
Without missing a beat Everett said “That’s the point of us!”

The New York Times recently published an article called The Only Baby Book You’ll Ever Need. This was a review of “The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings,” by David F. Lancy. Coincidentally, Professor Lancy is in our new home state at Utah State University. According to the book, one of the key differences in the way that different cultures raise children can be boiled down to one concept: pick when green or pick when ripe. We are clearly a “pick when green” society. According to the article, Professor Lancy calls the American style of childrearing a “neontocracy” in which adults provide services to relatively few children who are considered priceless, even though they’re useless. The harsh sounding part of this sentence is the last word, though no one we know seems to argue with the concept of a neontocracy. Along these lines, when Chris was growing up he sometimes visited houses that had two staircases. Invariably one was the “front” staircase while the other was the “servant” staircase. The latter was probably an anachronism, but reflected that it’s purpose was to allow the house staff to efficiently go about their work without being seen. In our new house we have two staircases. One ends at the front door landing, while the other leads to the master bedroom. Hmm. Perhaps we should move into one of the children’s rooms?

One alternate view of the neontocracy which isn’t mentioned in this article is the idea that the “pick when ripe” cultures miss out on a lot of the joy and fun of having children. However, it is virtually impossible to infer this without learning more about those cultures, and so on our next family vacation we are going to visit a country with a parentocracy. That is, as soon as we can find one.

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