Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Child-Proofing for Amateurs

Mom lied to her kids.
Okay, yes, she had a good reason.
And no, it didn’t turn out well.
Maybe I should explain . . .
On the Stringam ranch, the ranch house and buildings were nestled snugly in the bend of the south fork of the Milk River.
A river that, at certain times of the year, turned into a rushing, deadly torrent.
A river to which my older sister was drawn like a baby to an IPhone.
After several hair-raising episodes in which my mom, my sister and wet, cold, muddy, slightly deadly and totally unsympathetic river water featured strongly, Mom decided to get more pro-active.
What better way to police than to make the kids want to police themselves?!
Genius!
And by the way, this is where the lying comes into play . . .
Using her not unspectacular story-telling abilities, Mom described the octopus that lived in the milky waters of the great Milk River and waited patiently for little kids – its favourite snack – to show up by themselves on the river bank.
Little kids that, without parental accompaniment, were fair game. The octopus would then be able to seize and drag them down to the ‘depths’.
Her dramatic portrayal lost nothing in the telling and she soon had my sister shivering with fear.
Or what Mom mistakenly thought was fear.
The next day, Mom, happily secure in the fact that her daughter would never, ever again go near the octopus-infested waters of the Milk River, turned her back for a moment.
Only to discover that her daughter had, once again, disappeared.
And taken her 18 month-old brother with her.
Sigh.
Mom sprinted, out of habit, to the river.
And there she found her two little ones.
Happily clambering about the slippery slopes, looking into the dark water for a glimpse of the octopus that lived there.
I think we all learn a lesson from this.
Don’t waste your most lurid story-telling skills on a child with more imagination than you.
Now picture it with a frown.
And a little more child unfriendly...

18 comments:

  1. She was probably going to see if it would eat little brother first...that would have been my reason little brothers can be such a pain! I'm wondering if you received my email about the small give away on my blog. If you read my post from Monday you'll understand but I hadn't heard back from you. You can email me at rm29303@gmail.com.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm . . . feeding little brothers to the octopus. Why didn't I think of that?!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Me, too. Mom wouldn't even have had to be specific. Just 'monster in the water' would have worked excellently well. Right up to the present day.

      Delete
  3. Your poor mother!! Sounds like she had her hands full!

    And I'm like Delores - it would've worked on me :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We three. We'll happily sit on the beach. Far from the octopus-infested waters . . .

      Delete
  4. This story was a good one for sure. Lesson learned for your Mom but not for the children involved. Smiling on this ending!
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. Sometimes it isn't the children that get the lseeon. Sigh.

      Delete
  5. I probably wouldn't have stayed away from the river either. Not for long anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You probably had real octopus in your water! And sharks.

      Delete
    2. We have the tiny and deadly blue-ringed octopus and box jellyfish which can also be fatal as well as the sharks. Mostly the first two are seasonal and there are warnings to prevent swimming when they are around.

      Delete
    3. Yikes. You'd never get me in the water!

      Delete
  6. I'm not fond of water when I can't see to the bottom. No way I would have gotten anywhere near that octopus home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. I even get spooked in our local pool. Sigh.

      Delete
  7. It is amazing that any kid gets through childhood. Or any parent!

    ReplyDelete
  8. A post I wrote recently got me thinking about the wonders of how kids ever survive their childhoods. Perhaps the real question is, how do their mothers!

    ReplyDelete

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