|Posted on July 10, 2012 at 11:35 AM|
I remember, as a fourth grader, looking forward to Library Day every week. The librarian would read McGruff the Crime Dog stories using a puppet and quiz us about it afterward. Every right answer earned you a marshmallow. I always paid very close attention because I freakin' loved those marshmallows. He kept them in a flat round tin (the kind that comes filled with awful sugar cookies or even awfuler peanut brittle and are given out during the Holidays) but, since it wasn't air tight, the 'mallows were just a bit stale. They were the perfect combination of chewy and soft. I swore to myself back then that, when I grew up, I would buy the biggest bags of marshmallows I could find and leave them open to go stale so that I could have some whenever I wanted without having to memorize lessons taught by an anthropomorphic hound first.
Hey kids, let me tell you a story about murderers, rapists, drug pushers, child molesters, kidnappers....
When you're a kid all you want to do is grow up. Adults will tell you that being a kid is imminently better, but these assholes have a have a history of telling you whatever it takes to get you to shut the hell up, so why would you believe them? I'm not going to get all poetic about how wonderful the mind of a child is, but I am impressed when I see the fantastically absurd imagination of my kids at work. My 7 year old and her BFF, a separated-at-birth neighbor girl, can do whatever they want simply by saying the magic word. In their case that word happens to be "pretend." "Pretend this cat is a bird now," one will say. "OK. And pretend this Lalaloopsy built a time machine so he could have this dinosaur instead of a car to ride around," the other responds. And just like that they're off and running until the next "pretend" happens and, like a drunk who missed his exit, they change directions again.
As an adult, my instinct is to correct the glaring mistakes they're making during playtime by saying, "No, no, no, that's all wrong. First of all, a mammoth isn't a dinosaur. Second of all, you're playing with the Strawberry Shortcake Splashin' Petal Pool playset, which tells me that you're in a warm climate, otherwise why would all your dolls be naked? That is far too warm for an animal like a mammoth to be hauling anyone around. Get it together, girls." But, I don't because she may very well be responsible for my care at some point so it's in my best interests to stay on her good side and because making shit up is the best part of being a kid.
My oldest daughter is at the awkward age where kid stuff just isn't all that much fun anymore. For her last few birthdays she's asked for jewelry instead of dolls. It's kind of a bummer watching her trade Littlest Pet Shop toys for earrings, but that's what happens when you start tweening. I want to tell her to stop growing up, but I know she won't listen. She's gonna have to learn for herself that being an adult is evolution's biggest practical joke – by the time you can afford your own toys you have kids of your own. Even though she bristles when I tell her to go play dollies with her sister, I know she'll miss it when she's older. I mean, if you think I wouldn't rather be sitting criss-cross-applesauce in my room right now staging a three-way war between my Battle Beasts, G.I. Joes, and Transformers, you have seriously misjudged who I am as a person.
To the Death!!!
Recently, my kids went on a five day "camping" trip with my folks. I put camping in quotes because they go in a giant RV that is to camping what ATVs are to quiet nature hikes. While they were gone I ate French Fries and nachos for dinner, slept in, and stayed up late watching Arrested Development on Netflix. I basically took the opportunity to act like I had no rules because my parents were gone. It felt good to act like a kid. But not as good as finding that someone has left the marshmallow bag open.