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January 20, 2008

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Oh, how I wish that any of those lessons were working in this house right now. I keep remembering that children are like violins and have to be re-tuned every day (was that Haim Ginott who said that? I think it was) but uff da, hold the tone for more than 24 seconds, please!

I have been wondering for AGES how Ma and Pa taught the rules. In the books, they've already been internalized -- you MUST be quiet, you MUST start sewing small patches at the age of THREE, you must do this that and the other thing, and even Carrie understands that she must not cry. But HOW did those rules get internalized? The threat of corporal punishment obviously kept Laura (and Mary, to a degree -- she was such an obnoxious goody-two-shoes, she didn't need other incentives) in line, but how did they teach 2 year olds not to cry? I'm baffled.

I have been meaning to write on my blog for ages about the political undertones to Laura's work. Her daughter was a key figure in the libertarian party, and the books were begun during the great depression, and they are clearly shaped as a rebuke to the government-dependent poor people of the 1930s. There is a large element of "look at how much harder we worked, look at how much better behaved we were, look at how much better the country was" running through the subtext. I don't know if Laura wrote that herself, or if it was part of Rose's editorial involvement, but it intersects with the general tendency toward nostalgia and creates all sorts of elisions in the text.

See, this is what happens when you read These Happy Golden Years six times in less than 12 months -- I've started referring to it as a text, just to keep myself awake....

Wow. I can so identify with this post. I use the exact phrase: Are you bleeding?
and the frustration about interruption during prayer. *sigh*

Found you thru Bearing Blog and happily so!

Oh! How cute!! Way to teach with patience, Mom! :)

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