Monday, August 28, 2006

Strong Healthy Children

Of all revolting things, I have a stye. It feels anachronistic, belonging in the days of lice, boils on the back of the neck and impetigo. Not that I had all of those in the dark days, but it makes me feel like a scabbie-hedit wean, and I hear my mother's voice telling of these shameful things.

I did have impetigo when we first came to Australia, and remember standing in tears of shame as my father used the local remedy - hot starch on bits of clean rag, which dried on then pulled off the scabs. Medieval.

I feel a hot rush of protest now when I see frowsty hair on little children whose parents should know enough to brush it - and run a damp washcloth over face and hands while they are at it. This again from my mother, and I took it seriously. My children may have had lice (there was a time in London when they afflicted even the best schools) but their hair was always brushed.

Which returns to my theme of tides in these things. In 1969 I returned to London from working at the Manchester Boys and Girls Society with distinct itching under my chignon. Dear old Dr Levi exclaimed, "Het lice! I hav not seen zem for tventy years!"

The ruling form of neglect here and now is overfeeding. Slim parents with fat children buying them ice cream, and people who exist on baby-leaf salads stocking up on Fruit Loops for the kids. It seems to be accepted that children won't eat or enjoy adult food. While I'm at it, when did it become normal for toddlers to have placatory food always in their hands?

Felix is off at Burning Man this week, asked me yesterday what food to pack. I said with a ghost of a smile, take apples. All of them hold it forever against me that when they said they were hungry, I would tell them to eat an apple.

I stand by it!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scabie hedit wean - may need to be translated....

In Oz - a purple potion (name escapes me) was also used to dab on impetigo sores. Could be cool and trendy nowadays...

2:34 PM  

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