Coffee with Gumba

The Mother’s Encylopedia¬† covers a great deal of topics, so let’s start in the A’s. Ah, yes, here’s a good topic and one we’re all familiar with…

Awkward Age

It’s recommended that “youngsters should be warned, perhaps, of the awkward age before it arrives.”

Basic things such as how “too much eating of sweets when a child is in the fifth and sixth grades, predispose to the acne that goes through high school with him” are common knowledge, but were you aware of the nervous habts of this age as well? Such things as “head-jerking, eye-blinking, knuckle-cracking, and body-twitching are not uncommon.” You know, I can honestly say I don’t remember a whole lot of body-twitching going on in Junior High. I think I’d remember if a bunch of pubescent kids were walking around jerking and twitching and excessively blinking their eyes…

Parents are also warned to be “as unyielding as Vermont granite” when it comes to sleep habits as your teens should be getting 9 to 10 hours of rest a night.

Don’t forget glasses either, which can be terribly trying for a young girl. If your daughter should get glasses, “hair styling becomes especially important… anything that softens the features, frames the face, and tends to balance the glasses, will improve the effect.” If you’re a young boy with glasses… well, there’s no advice for you. You’ll just have to make do with your bad luck.

Let’s not forget good posture either. “It is futile to accuse the child of clumsiness. this simply makes him hopelessly self-conscious.” Who knew? Instead you should encourage your child to join in “rhythmic exercises such as dancing, figure skating, swimming or fencing… The stocky boy should be encouraged to go in for such sports as wrestling, boxing, and ju-jitsu. The girl of this type needs corrective exercises and games, too. Often she is embarrassed by her enlarging breasts, and hunches her shoulders forward in an attempt to conceal them… Get her a well-fitted girdle and brassieres.” We wouldn’t want to forget our girdles, now would we? Nothing will give a young girl more confidence than a girdle.

As for that overtall girl, well, “you cannot make her any smaller, but you can dress her to minimize her height.” Also, if she feels awkward, “take her to a model school and let her watch how the glamorous fashion models are taught to walk. She will discover that her slimness is a trait that she can capitalize.” Hmmm…

For more information, feel free to find your own copy of The Mother’s Encyclopedia. Our printing¬†is the 1952 version, but the first printing was in 1933 in 4 volumes, rather than 6 of the latter editions.