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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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More from the MamaDeb book club

Rereading Little Men.

And frankly, I'm horrified at a couple of things.

At one point, the professor is trying to teach Nat, who is more or less the viewpoint character, not to lie. He tells a story about how his grandmother stopped him from lying. What did she do? Took her scissors and cut the tip of his tongue until it bled.

And he said she loved him.

(His own solution was something else again. The boy lied, the professor himself would be punished. Very effective since the boy loved him. And it was being hit by a ruler - a ruler wielded by a sickly twelve year old boy.)

The other part? Pattypans. I love that chapter. I'm sure many of you love that chapter. I even said that to myself when it came up on my Palm - "I love this chapter."

For those who don't know the story, at this point in the book there is exactly one little girl at a tiny school for boys. She's there because her aunt runs the school and her twin brother also attends. But she's bored. And she likes making "messes" in the kitchen, but that depends on the cook's humor.

So her aunt and her wealthy uncle buy her a minature but fully functional cookstove and set her up with her own tiny kitchen. Which is adorable. Except this is no EZBake oven. This is a cast-iron stove with a real fire inside that has to be fed and tended and made to be hot or cool. And that gets very very hot. And she cooks steak over hot coals, too.

She's "'mos ten." Which means she's nine.

And while she's carefully supervised the very first time she uses it, she's left alone to cook up a batch of flapjacks for herself and her brother at dinner time. At best, Aunt Jo pops by between hanging curtains, and leaves them for the school supper.

It's still a cute chapter and I know that nine year old girls did actual family cooking at that point on full-sized ranges, but my 21st C instincts kept shouting at me about fire and nine year olds. And knives and no supervision.

Comments

ugh. i cooked dinner for the family when i was 5. that was only 20ish years ago. my brother started cookign for himself (he is a picky eater so my mom told him if he can't eat what they are having he has to make it himself) at 7. that was only 6 years ago. whilei was in russia, he is in west hartford.

it depends on the kids, and how their parents raised them!

Where'd you download the Palm version of Little Men? I love LMA. :)

The Gutenberg Project..

Download, unzip, reformat to html and use iSilo to send to your palm.

They have some palm-reader stuff too - all of Jane Austen, for example.

Thank you! I haven't been there in yonks. They didn't have much when I was there last so had no idea they've expanded.

Oooh. I just spent an hour or so merrily downloading books and books. They have so many more books thyan the last time I looked at them - thanks! :)

My 21st century 10-year-old can make pancakes completely on her own. True, electric stove, but still the same issues - if they're taught to properly respect the danger and treat the tools properly, 10 years old is well old enough to safely use most household equipment. The only reason supervision is useful with knives is if the child either a) doesn't know that knives are dangerous or how to handle them correctly, or b) is going to be playing around. Supervision can fix both of these issues. Supervision doesn't help stop *accidents*, and a scream will get an adult there just as fast from the next room as it would if they were right there.

If I'd have been standing right next to Josiah when his finger was nearly chopped off by being slammed in the door, it wouldn't have stopped a single thing. I *was* right next to Christian when he gashed his chin simply getting off a chair, when he slipped and hit it on the bar. Supervision is only needed if lack of knowledge or irresponsibility are an issue. You can't prevent anything beyond that.

I'm with you.
When I was 8 or so, I was making cookies and eggs and pancakes and such all by my lonesome.

My 12 cooks dinner Sunday-Thursday.
Except for the nights her 9 year old brother does. (he offers about once a month) Dad watches, sis helps with the recipe, and he's quite capable of making macaroni & cheese plus veggies. They can both do pancakes.

And my 6 year old has been making scrambled eggs since he was 3. I have the melted tupperware to prove it.

For some unknown reason, I was given Little Men *before* Little Women. I love LW, but LM remains just a wee bit closer to my heart.

Hmmmm....

Who'da thought LMAlcott was into BDSM?
wow...

Took her scissors and cut the tip of his tongue until it bled.

Wasn't it revealed later on that this was just a made-up story? (It's been a while since I read this book.)

I was cooking some things on my own by the age of 10. Friends have an 8-year-old who makes pizza on his own, including slicing toppings to put on it. It depends on the kid and the quality of the education the kid gets.

Mind, if I'm in charge of a kitchen I won't let a kid help until I hear directly from a parent's mouth that it's ok. But that's because (1) it's not my kid so I don't know all the background and (2) why invite a "you let my child do WHAT?" fit if I guess wrong?