Yesterday afternoon, Michaela and I went with her Brownie troop to the Brown House Inn, a Victorian-era immersion program where you learn all about the social customs of Victorian times. It was really interesting, and the lady in charge was really funny and knowledgeable and played the part of a Victorian lady perfectly: she was part teacher, part actress, part nanny.
(I was excited for it to finally be the day we finally went to the Brown House Inn. Have you ever had something planned for so long that your kids are excited about and talk about incessantly and when the event finally comes, you're excited that the anticipation is over more than going to the actual event? Brown House, Brown House, Brown House... Michaela's been talking about it for weeks.)
We learned so much about the structure of social status, how to properly "call" on someone, good manners, and the expectations of a Victorian lady. We even got dressed up in Victorian dresses, made our own calling cards with real quills and ink, and enjoyed a proper tea, complete with a lady hostess, two guests, and a maid attending us (we each played a part in this tea). We drank real tea (ask for "one lump or two, not one lump or TEN," we were instructed) with finger sandwiches and scones with real whipped cream or jam on them. They were delicious. And the whole trip was worthwhile when I saw the look on one Brownie's face when she thought the finger sandwiches were going to be made with real FINGERS.
My other favorite part of the day when we were instructed how to sit and stand like a lady: chin up, shoulders back, sitting on the front 6 inches of the chair (otherwise your hoops go flying up), knees bent to the side (only hussies cross their legs or ankles), and hands clasped together, elbows out with your clasped hands in front of your bosoms. "Do you know what BOSOMS are, Mom? They're your BOOBS!", Michaela told me, and demonstrates BOOBS by cupping her hands in front of her, sixth-grade-boy-style. And she giggles.
'Cause BOOBS are funny, no matter what century.