Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Age of Innocence


This week’s listography at Kate Takes Five is Five Things I Love About Kids. I wasn’t going to participate. Come Saturday afternoons I’m more minded to list two dozen things that exasperate me about kids. But the challenge set me thinking and the thinking prompted appreciative realisations about my bickering pair and consequently, by this evening, my weekend temper had sweetened immeasurably and I’d promised them crumpets for tea. I am, therefore, grateful to Kate.

Here are the five things I love about children:

Glee
Everything is a treat: that tea of buttered crumpets, a scour in the car wash, finding a worm, a turn with the Hoover, rainbows of petrol shimmering in puddles and watching the ball-cock rise and fall when lid of the lavatory cistern is removed. Actually, all of those things are still a treat for me, bar the Hoover, but whereas in children it’s an engaging enthusiasm, in adults it suggests an undeveloped mind!

Imagination
The plastic laundry basket is a doomed cruise liner, a lion’s cage and a racing car. A square of loo roll tubes is conjured into Hogwarts castle and a shoe box and string is a rock star’s guitar. This is the childish quality I admire the most and envy so wistfully. The dolls house that once absorbed me stands dust-caked in a corner because I’ve forgotten how to bring it alive and my heart plummets when I’m required to be the Fairy Godmother/Albus Dumbledore/Miss Trunchball in games of make-believe for, while my playmates live and breathe a fantasy world, I remain impotently a middle-aged mother with a bathroom to clean.

Trust
Young children share their most intimate thoughts, fears and body parts. They’ll fall back, confident of waiting arms, when pretending to faint at their auntie’s beauty and sleep serenely, untroubled by forboding or regret, knowing that a kiss and buttered toast will launch a new adventure next morning.

Anticipation
This is an off-shoot of glee that irradiates the future. When I peer ahead I see dark clouds: a soaring mortgage, Iranian warheads, motorway pile-ups and a widow’s hump. My children see their next birthday party, a weekend with grandma, the glamour of secondary school and their first Ferrari.

Elimination of ironing
Because what on earth is the point when a newly laundered garment is going to be worn for an hour only before an anointing of ketchup/grass juice/body fluids? And when surviving clothes are balled up in overflowing drawers come bedtime? And it would be monstrous to iron the adult wardrobe while the children are unleashed crumpled. So the only rational, moral thing to do is to abandon the practice entirely. 

What do you love about kids?

26 comments:

  1. Just too brilliant. *trying not to hate you*

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    1. After a comment like that I have no trouble loving you!

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  2. Got to agree with all of them, great list! I'm especially with you on the imagination point, and it made my list too. The way they can turn the most mundane of household objects into something much more magical....
    Loving the anticipation one! :-)

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    1. It's funny though how one day a cereal box is a working iPad and the next it's just a cereal box again. So much craft proudly borne home from school then recycled because the magic had faded.

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  3. Ahh yes taking turns with the hoover. My children LOVE to do that, watching them so happy as the air blasts in their giggly faces is a sight : )

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    1. Of course, as soon as they can manipulate a nozzle usefully, the allure fades!

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  4. Great list! All very true. And I totally agree on the last one :)

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    1. Hurrah! We should spread the word. Hours of lives being wasted ironing underpants!

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  5. You've got me all wistful now for those summer days when we were young, sweet childish days that were as long as 20 days are now. (with thanks to W. Wordsworth).

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    1. Yes, writing this I became quite crippled with nostalgia!

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  6. Love this list, and brilliantly written. I'm glad about no.5, but that's also aided in our house by the fact my OH's a farmer and wears overalls and jeans 7 days a week - no ironing ever needed (apart from weddings & funerals!)

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    1. Marvellously vicars wear clerical shirts made from some divine material that emerges creaselessly from the washing machine. Ditto polyester school uniforms.

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  7. You've summed it up perfectly. In fact, I don't know if I'll bother doing my own post now because you've pretty much said EVERYTHING I would have written!

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  8. Perfect. As I had suspected. As punishment I think you should be made read it every morning so that you become a perfect mother without even realising. Best buy in more crumpets.

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    1. I have bought more. And polished them off myself.

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  9. So very true about the ironing!

    (The rest is pretty good, too).

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  10. Move to America. Nobody irons here. They think we Brits are lunatic. I agree with them, actually.

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    1. Is that a fact? I'd have thought they'd have been rather particular about a smooth finish.

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    2. True fact. I suppose there are some people who iron, but... I choose not to focus on them for the purposes of my ironing survey.

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    3. True fact. I suppose there are some people who iron, but... I choose not to focus on them for the purposes of my ironing survey.

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  11. Imagination and ironing are things that resonate with me. Hang drying carefully can be a godsend, and allow you those few precious minutes to play Fairy Godmother. Hell, if we all actually let go a bit and lived in their world we might actually learn something!

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    1. I always hang dry, but fear I spend the extra time on myself!

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