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:
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!
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.
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.
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?