When I revealed my summer plan to read the Little House on the Prairie series to my kids and then treat them to some Netflix episodes of the TV Show, I usually heard a collective, “Awww, I loved those books! What a great idea!”
I, too, loved reading those books as a kid, often pretending I was Laura Ingalls and imagining life in her shoes, or bare feet as she preferred. But re-reading them as a parent is a whole new experience, albeit, a very sarcastic one.
Here are 5 Reasons I Can No Longer Relate to Little House on the Prairie:
1. Caroline, mother of three little girls and wife to Charles, remains eerily, unbelievably calm under any circumstances. Family nearly drowns crossing a river! House surrounded by a pack of wolves! Runs out of sugar and the nearest store is two days away! Finally settles into a newly built log cabin only to have to pack up and leave the next day! She basically has 3 reactions and none end with an exclamation point:
“Whatever you say, Charles.”
“All’s well that ends well.”
Just once, I wanted to hear Caroline whine, complain, or give Charles a little attitude… “What do you mean start packing? We just finished building this house yesterday!” “Yeah right, like I’m gonna cross this rising river with my babies in a covered wagon…are you crazy?!”
2. Caroline works from sunup ’til sundown and in her free time she, wait, there is no such thing as free time on the prairie. Even during a blizzard she is making the beds and dusting on a daily basis, all while tending the fire round the clock. On bath day, she has to fill the tub with snow, melt it, and warm the water, then drain and repeat the process AFTER EACH PERSON’S BATH.
Really? I’d throw all 4 of my kids in one bath. I mean c’mon, Caroline, live a little! I’m sure Mom’s Night Out is hard to come by on the prairie, but leaving a sink full of dishes overnight every once in a blizzard isn’t going to hurt anybody.
3. Throughout the series, the kids strictly abide by the “Do not speak unless spoken to” and “Children should be seen and not heard” rules. And get this, they all go to bed immediately without a single fuss or request for water or another story.
Hmmm…could it be the corporal punishment that is barely mentioned? Or maybe they’re so gosh darn tired after doing chores all day? Who knows? While there are times I would appreciate these rules, I’m more of a “Children should be HEARD and NOT SEEN” kinda gal, because once you stop hearing them you know they are up to no good. And as far as bedtime, there’s a reason why I love the book Go the F**k to Sleep.
4. When Charles has to go into town to buy groceries and supplies, Caroline doesn’t see him for 4 or 5 days. She has an idea when he’ll return but any number of events could delay him: bear attack, broken wagon wheel, falls through frozen lake, just to name a few. So they just wait patiently, day in and day out until he arrives, hoping he doesn’t forget anything on the list, I’m sure.
I freak out if my husband doesn’t answer his cell phone on a trip to Costco. Nuff said.
5. Then there’s the time when Pa tells Ma he’s taking her to a dance and she’s all, “Oh, Charles! I’ll wear my delaine dress!”
First of all, in case you’re wondering, she’s referring to a dress she owned BEFORE she married and gave birth to 3 kids. And second of all, um. yeah. freaking. right! That’s like planning a date night with my husband and saying, “Shoot, what am I going to wear? I know! I’ll wear that one dress I still have hanging in the back of my closet, the one I wore before I married you and popped out 4 babies. I’m sure it’ll fit perfectly! Might even have to take it in a little at the waist!”
We’ve only made it about four books into the Little House on the Prairie series, but I can’t help imagining if my kids were to write about our road trip adventures little-house-on-the-prairie-style:
Adapted from our last road trip to Los Angeles
Pa was sitting in the driver’s seat, but Ma was really doing the driving. As we made our way up a steep hill, we suddenly stopped in a sea of traffic much like a herd of buffalo on the prairie. That’s when Pa noticed the empty gas warning light was on. He whispered something to Ma and gave her a serious look to which she replied, “Seriously? We’re about to run out of gas on a bumper to bumper L.A. freeway and you want to make a U-turn and go against oncoming, single-lane, onramp traffic, just so we make it to a gas station?! You’ve gotta be kidding me. I have four babies in the car! I can’t believe this! What, you think gas magically appears in the tank? Do you ever check the gauge before leaving? If we had horses you’d probably forget to hitch them, too!” Pa stared straight ahead. “Yes, Ma.” “Whatever you say, Ma.” As we made it over the hill and coasted to the next exit, it was a true miracle that we reached the gas station in time. “All’s well that ends well,” said Ma…never.