Jack and I and our immediate families are non-smokers. My dad smoked from about 8 years old until his late 30’s then quit cold turkey, and his family is full of nicotine addicted beings. My mother smoked once when I had an ear infection so she could blow smoke in my ear and make it better, but never before or since. She too hails from a long line of smokers. My friends aren’t regular smokers, although some have been known to have a cigarette here and there during times of drink and/or stress. No one smokes around me and I tend to avoid smoke filled places as I’m allergic and all. Jack and I are very open with the girls that if smoking doesn’t give you lung cancer, it will most certainly give it to your husband and/or your children. We tell them that smokers aren’t bad people, but that the habit is. (We also call people who ride bikes – motorized or other – without helmets organ donors.) We do not want them to smoke. I want to make that clear before I continue.
When I was about 5 or 6 my parents belonged to a bowling league. Sometimes they would find a babysitter for me, but more often than not I was taken to the alley with them where I would color and not be allowed to go into the game room. But what I was allowed to do was “smoke.” (Well, it was a bowling alley and it was the early 70s waaaaay before cigarettes and 2nd hand smoke killed you, but that’s not what I’m talking about.)
The candy machine had cigarette shaped and colored candy so we kids could play pretend and I LOVED them, and for some inexplicable reason my parents would buy me a pack every time they took me to the alley. If you knew my mother you’d totally think I was lying. But I’m not. She’d give me money and let me buy pretend cigarettes, and there I’d sit coloring and occassionaly taking a “puff” of my cig and a sip of my sprite with a cherry in it. Cigarettes and cocktails at 5 or 6.
Eventually the candy makers stopped marketing their sugar sticks as cigarettes and eventually my parents grew uncomfortable with the looks they got when their kindergartener asked them for money for smokes, and eventually they stopped bowling and my sugar habit had to end. But I have never forgotten how much I LOVED that candy. Which leads to the point of this post.
While browsing the web I came across these:
Rather than be appalled that our children are being taught that it’s okay to smoke (which I’m totally against), I thought, “The girls would love that. Especially Amelia (who’s just a touch edgier than her sister).” I even tried to justify it by pointing out that the packaging was clearly telling them that smoking would kill them. In the end I didn’t order them, but I wanted to, people. I wanted to.
Sometimes it’s tough being the responsible parent.