Just a few weeks ago, I posted advice for newbie parents, giving my take on things from the perspective of someone who’s been doing this parenting thing for more than a decade.
A few days after that, a friend on Facebook asked for “mom advice” regarding pinkeye, and I was only too happy to oblige.
“Thank goodness,” she commented after me. “When I said, ‘mom advice,’ what I really meant was, ‘Eve, get in here and help!’”
I was wildly flattered. I love being a mom; it is at the very core of how I see myself and how I make all of my decisions, and the idea that people think I’m a good mom makes me very happy.
That said, I sometimes need advice myself, and that’s the case now.
The last time I took Ruby to Krewe du Vieux, she was 13 months old, and we’d just moved back to town. I wore her in a sling and laughed at the absurdity of kissing the top of her sweet baby head in the midst of so much obscene chaos. But when I saw older kids – who were still pretty young – in the crowd, I was a little bit judgy, the same way I was when someone brought their 4-year-old to a midnight showing of The Human Centipede.
Krewe du Vieux is one of my favorite parades. The Human Centipede was hilariously, shockingly, sickeningly entertaining. But they’re not for kids who are old enough to talk.
For many years, I’d send Ruby to my mom’s house or hire a babysitter while I went to Krewe du Vieux, and it never failed to infuriate her.
“Why can’t I go to a parade? I love parades! You don’t even really like parades, Mama – you say you only go because I want to go. So how come I can’t go to this one?”
“Well,” I explained every year, “this is a parade just for grown-ups. You’re too young to go. But one day you will be old enough to go, although you might not want to go with me at that point.”
“When can I go?” she’d demand, and apparently I answered, “When you’re a teenager.”
I don’t remember this, not exactly, but it seems like the kind of thing I’d say. After all, I went to Krewe du Vieux when I was a teenager, and if my parents didn’t give me permission, they also didn’t forbid me from going.
But I’m quite sure that I meant “when you’re a teenager” as a sort of abstract concept. As in, “maybe” or “someday” or “we’ll see.”
I definitely didn’t mean 13, did I?
But Ruby insists that all I ever said was “when you’re a teenager,” and she, she is quick to point out, has been an official teenager since December.
I’m not completely opposed to her going, not if she goes with me. She and I have a very open and honest relationship, and she’s asked me so many awkward questions about sex and bodies and human reproduction over the years that I’m not even squeamish or embarrassed at this point.
She’s a mature kid, and I think she’ll get most of the jokes and laugh at some of the political humor.
But I’m just not sure I’m ready to have a kid old enough to watch Krewe du Vieux as a fully sentient human.
And I’m definitely not taking her to see The Human Centipede, like, ever.
What do you think? At what age can a kid go to this hysterical, notoriously raunchy parade? Should one ever go with one’s parents, regardless of age?