Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I once heard families described as cults: each family has its own norms (in terms of schedule, rules, humor, tabboo and language).  It makes great sense to me.

When I visit my own parents, I know the cult and slide back into to my long-ago spot, like a lego piece in exactly the right place.  I know that shoes must be cleaned outside the front door (with the old vaccuum attachment left on the steps for that purpose).  Then the clean shoes must be removed and one must enter in socks or in bare feet.  The cats will always eat first, wherever they like.  Reading the newspaper is sacrosanct and can take hours.  Never defile the paper by doing the crossword.  Don't cook with garlic.  Refold the hand towel after use.  Keep all sinks dry.  Expect to watch the news at 8 and then again at 10.  Pappa showers in the morning, therefore I shower at night. etc etc.

Fast forward to the present and to me as adult:
In the brave new world of BF and my children "blending" in our parts of the weekly custody schedule, there are some glitches as his immediate family cult and my immediate family cult (established over years, with former spouses) rub against each other.

Shoes, for instance.  My cult won the battle for cleaner floors (shoes get removed at the door . . . urhm, yes.  That will be the legacy of my father bleeding into the present now, won't it?) but BF's cult's fondness for running in after being barefoot in muddy fields kind of defeats (de-feets?) my purpose.

BFs cult preserves their bedtime routines, as does mine . . . making for an apartment (apart-ment) literally split into two halves (but this is quite functional  and good as the split means the one bathroom gets used at slightly staggered intervals).

Both cults have compromised on communal mealtimes, which happen at an overcrowded table (intended to seat four, accommodating six) and during which we all, mostly, eat the same meal rather than an individually tailored one.

Language is interesting:

In my cult: "slot" is a piece of chocolate (not to be confused with "slop" which is the accepted unit measurement for poop).  "TVTime" is any screen time. 

In BF's cult: "bite" is the unit measurement for any small piece of food, there is no unit measurement for poop (as far as I know) and "Watch" is the verb for any screentime (no noun required), eg "Can we Watch now?"

Children in both cults influence each other's vocabulary so a new vocabulary unique to the shared cult is developing.

For instance "I farted" is the height of rhetorical and comedic pleasure for all children involved, perhaps because it sometimes means "I farted," but it often means "I am thinking about farts! haha!" and sometimes even just "Hey!  I have something to say!" or "I'm funny, right??"

No comments:

Post a Comment