Apr 15, 2011
Back when Freud was talking about the id, the ego and the superego I wonder if he ever imagined the voices that would hang out in the head of a conflicted Mormon mother like myself — the “mormon” and the “supermormon” still in there whispering commands and threatening consequences at me long after my rational mind told them to get lost.
I had a “supermormon” moment just yesterday. The kids and I made a visit to my favorite local Goodwill store. While there the two-year-old found a package of temporary tattoos — Dora tattoos. I have mentioned before the important role that Dora the Explorer plays in our house, once those tattoos found their way into his little hands, there was no getting them back out without a huge fight. And I wasn’t about to engage battle over a matter of 25 cents. Rational decision. And that is when good old “supermormon” reared her immaculately groomed head. (Sorry – but “immaculately groomed head” reminded me of a day, early in my marriage, when I returned home with a new haircut and my sweet, clueless husband told me I looked like “a Mormon mother”. He meant it as a compliment. My sister (who at the time sported a hairdo one primary girl said, breathlessly, looked “just like a mermaid’s” — in that it was streaked in turquoise and rose pink) was quick to assure me that he did not know what he was talking about and that I was not, after all, sporting a Molly-do — back to the post).
“Supermormon” was worried about the tattoo-edness of the Doras. Could I allow my child to have a tattoo? Even if it was temporary? Even if it was Dora? Where would such a thing lead? Would he, one day, come home with a full-color dragon gorgeously arrayed across his upper arm like his once-rebellious uncle? Would his sister follow suit: Would Dora on her arm lead inexorably toward a flowery tramp-stamp? What would President Hinkley think? (Sorry again, I’ve got a wandering brain today — My niece once, at the tender age of three, blamed President Hinkley for the mess in her room — her father had walked into the room and asked “Who made this mess?” To which she answered, “My baby made it.” When her father didn’t accept that answer, she passed the buck to the next person she could think of: President Hinkley, whose picture hung right above her bed. — ok, back again).
The strange thing about all these worries is that I am not particularly worried about my children coming home with tattoos. I may not have one but I know many excellent people who do, or wish they did. But even if I were worried about their future tattoo-clanations, I do not believe that an innocent temporary tattoo leads down the path to future dissolution.
Of course, there are many who would disagree with me. This very week a mini-media-firestorm was set off when J. Crew sent out an email with pictures of creative director, Jenna Lyons and her son, wearing, gasp, pink nail polish. A clip from The Daily Show with John Stewart summarizes the story well.
But it isn’t just conservatives who fear the influences of childhood toys. Liberal moms I know would never allow their child to touch a play gun or sword, let alone own such a thing. Not that you shouldn’t try to influence your children for good . . . but these things that we endow with such power as talismans of the future are nothing of the sort . . . and “supermormon” me can go bake a pie. I’m busy sticking tattoos on my two-year-old.