Tag Archives: parenthood

Adulteen Category

[Yet another old draft.]

Seems to me, there’s an age category that we could call “adulteen.” People who are technically both adults and teens. Ages 18 and 19. Not yet 20 but 18 and older. In many contexts (voting rights in most places I know), they are legally “of age” (what, in French, we call «majeurs»). Yet, the mere fact that the numbers “eighteen” and “nineteen” bear the “-teen” suffix, they are teenagers. If I got this right, this is the “barely legal” category some people seem to be talking about, especially in the adult industry.

Sexuality is certainly important in defining this category as sexual relationships with 18 year-olds is usually not considered paedophilia. In the U.S. especially, paedophilia tends to be rather high on the list of taboos. I have no idea what the numbers are but it seems to me that, within the larger category of rape victims, many people are women younger than 20 years of age.

In the U.S., adulteens are not yet allowed to drink alcohol. They can vote, bear arms, drive (since a much earlier age, actually) but they cannot consume alcohol outside of parental supervision. This, they share with 20 year-olds. But “20” seems to be more adult-sounding in many cases.

What’s striking, to me, is that 18 is already a bit old as defining adulthood. Not too long ago, people who had children at age 16 were quite common. Maybe I’m completely off but it seems to me that “it really wasn’t a big deal, back then.” Especially for young girls/women. Those women who had children at such a young age don’t seem particularly scarred from the experience, AFAICT. I don’t even think there were much of a social stigma about being a mother at age 16. And it seems to me that becoming a parent is as adult-like as can be.

Of course, people also entered the workforce at an earlier age, on average. These days, beginning a career at age 18 is somewhat uncommon. Much of this difference has to do with formal education. At least in North America and Europe, compulsory schooling tends to last until age 16 and it’s often very hard to find work leaving school before age 19. In Quebec, for instance, there are ways to do a professional degree at the end of high school but majority of people go to Cegep which brings them to age 19 or so.

At age 34 (and turning 35 in just a few days), I find it funny to think that, technically, I could have been a grand-father at this point in my life. That is, I technically could have had a child at age 16 who could have had her own child at age 16 so that I would have become a grand-father at age 32. I’m not even a father yet. And I’m not that far outside the norm, at least for academics.

Funny thing is, age does tend to matter to me. Not in terms of “feeling old,” really. More in terms of significance, symbolism, social roles.

There’s a whole thing I’ll need to blog about generation gaps. For now, I just want to let this entry stay as it is.

Advertisements

(Rant) Fold It! Fold It Riiight There!

Don’t get me wrong. I do love children. Children are the reason I feel optimistic about the future of humankind. And what I tend to call championship strollers do have a place. In parks, on bike paths, and in wide open spaces. It’s just that this place is not, I repeat not in subways, busses, and other means of public transportation. At least, not fully opened. During rush hour. In a crammed space. With parents oblivious to the fact that their presence is an annoyance to dozens of fellow passengers.

Hey you, the new parent! If you’re taking your stroller on the bus or in the subway at rush hour you are allowed to fold it up so that it takes as little space as possible. You could also do as if it were a bicycle and take it to the last car of the subway. No harm in that! Or you could wait for rush hour to be over. In fact, you can even be considerate to other people and make sure that your stroller isn’t too much in the way.
Should a baby really take more space than five adults in a public space?

Gah! Some parents are so self-obsessed! I mean, rugged individualism is one thing. But consideration for fellow human beings goes a long way to improve everyone‘s quality of life.

Again, you don’t necessarily need to use a smaller umbrella-style stroller to use in public transportation. And it’s quite understandable that you need the best possible carrying system so as to not strain your back carrying your baby. But there is such a thing as noticing that the world doesn’t revolve around your very own child. Yes, every child is a precious gift. But can you imagine what would happen if every single child were treated the same way as yours?

Of course, people will call me a kid-hater or some worse thing. But I’m not angry at all! Really! In fact, when I gave my seat so a father could sit with his baby and take less space than his wife and their championship stroller were taking, I was smiling. Not a smug smile, mind you. More of a “children are so cute” smile. But when this lovely couple left their “we take no prisoners” stroller unattended while they became extremely attentive to their very quiet and happy baby, I couldn’t help but think that such a natural thing as parenthood could become an excuse for ignoring the rest of the world. And there’s a point at which ignoring the rest of the world can lead to angst, frustration, and conflict.

Not to mention that there are much better ways to carry a baby in a crowd! Some of them are even stylish