Last week, my two sons and I found ourselves at the mall, not a place my kids really enjoy going. We were out shopping for curtains, but I decided to attempt to shop for some spring clothes for myself with a not-quite-three-year-old and a five year old. A dozen or so repeats of “Please don’t open the fitting room door until Mommy is dressed!” later, I realized it just was not happening and decided to make the most of the afternoon and have fun with the kids. We passed a photo booth, something I didn’t even know malls still had. Eager to share some “…when I was your age…” nostalgia, we all piled in. The novelty of a strip of instant photos? Completely and utterly lost on my children! The dialogue went something like this:

Me: Ok, it’s counting down…when you see the ‘3’ make a funny face! It takes four pictures!

Older Son: If we don’t like them can we erase them and do a new one?

Me: No, because it prints them.

Older Son: Can you text it to Grandma?

Me: Well, yes, but I’d have to take a picture of this photo strip with my phone…

Older Son: Why did you do this when you were kid? Why didn’t you just use a phone to take pictures with your friends so you could send it to people? You had to pay money for pictures? And now you have to take a picture of your pictures?! That’s…weird.

Me: Well, when I was young, we didn’t have cell phones. We had a phone at the house, and it didn’t have a camera…just number buttons to dial phone numbers. And it couldn’t leave the house…

Older Son: (silent puzzled stare)

"Dinosaurs used to photobomb us in here back in 1989."

“Dinosaurs used to photobomb us in here back in 1989, kids.”

Yep. And just like *that*, I’m no longer “young, hip mom”, I’m that crazy old lady who used to take pictures in a fort in the mall. This isn’t the first time that my kids have found my (ahem, not so distant) childhood stories unfathomable. Here is a smattering of other instances, as noted by my five year old son…

  • “Mom…I found a piece of plastic under my dresser from ancient times. It’s cracked and dusty…it must be from, like, 1990!”
  • “Wait…you didn’t have a computer when you were little? How did people, like, go on Amazon?!”
  • “If you didn’t have Netflix, how did people watch movies? Wait…you also didn’t have DVDs?!” (blank stare)
  • (upon learning that I didn’t get a car with a/c until just before he was born…) “Boy, you’re lucky birds never flew in your open windows on hot days…”
  • “How did you check your email before computers?”
  • “You also didn’t have a microwave? How did you heat up water?”
  • “Did they have outhouses still when you were little? No? Well, when Grammy was little then?”
  • (upon seeing a phone booth without a phone in it) “What the heck is that?!” (I explained.) “So, there were just random phones…around?”

Oh dear. I guess every generation of kids is pretty convinced their parents are from the stone age, my own included. I assume this is a conversation we will be continuing for many years! Wait until he hears about the time Grammy and Grampy dragged me to a midnight madness sale to buy our first VCR! 🙂

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