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Things Latino Parents Did That Might Get Us Arrested Nowadays

Photograph by Twenty20

Back in the day, it seems like Latino parents could do things that today would be considered crazy or bordering on child abuse like it was no big thang. I'm not sure if we should envy them or just be grateful that we survived our childhoods.

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Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Just wait in the car.

Everyone did this, right? Leaving kids in the car was standard so that mom could go run errands. Of course, that was before car seats were the norm, so we weren't strapped in and could jump around all over the place and mom was kind enough to crack the window.

Kiss EVERYONE, even if you don't know them.

Ay, saying goodbye when you were at any kind of reunion left you with a sore pucker from having to give everyone an adiós beso. Even that crusty old man that was almost falling out of his chair — and no one knew who the heck he was — got a kiss.

Go warm up the car.

Children who seemed barely old enough to walk were handed car keys and instructed to go "warm up" the car every morning. I may or may not have crashed one of our cars into our closed garage door one morning when I was calentado el carro.

Light my cigarette.

Ah, smoking was so chic back then and when parents couldn't find a lighter, they would send us to the kitchen to light their cigarette on the stove. We'd have to get up close and take a puff to properly light the thing. Remember the intoxicating smell of burnt hair?

Of course you can have some beer.

Kids drinking beer was TOTES normal. Not like a whole beer, but parents seemed to think that letting you sip from their beer somehow inoculated you against becoming a drunk later in life.

Babysit your brother.

So what if you were 7 years old and only 10 months older that your younger sibling? You were still expected to be the babysitter — and that included cooking on the stove with an open flame.

Order me a Cuba libre.

I'm not joking that my mother would make me order her alcoholic drinks at places. Most of the time it was because the server didn't speak Spanish and she didn't want them acting like they couldn't understand her accent, but as far as I can tell "Cuba libre" sounds the same in English as it does in Spanish so not sure why she made me order this for her.

Oh, just use a little Vicks and you'll be fine.

Doctors appointments are expensive. Vicks VapoRub is much more affordable, so why not try that first?

You are going to school!

So what if you had a fever or didn't feel well or thought your arm was broken? That was no reason to stay home from school.

Sweaters, sweaters, sweaters!

It could be hot enough to fry an egg outside and you still weren't allowed to leave the house without a damn sweater.

Staying out all day and into the night.

We had no cellphones back then, but our parents still kicked us out of the house sent us out to play and we weren't expected to come back until it was dark. How did they think we were feeding ourselves?

Using a chancla, belt or cuchara de palo as a disciplinary implement.

Latino children everywhere know that chanclas, belts and wooden spoons are to be feared.

What did your parents do that might be deemed a jail-worthy offense today?

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