"Growing Old is Mandatory; Growing Up is Optional"...This phrase caught my eye on a man's t-shirt today. I'd never seen it before. Have you?
I thought it was funny, because Claire can wear me out and make me feel ancient beyond my years sometimes. But she can also make me feel like a kid again too. In some ways, I seem to be enjoying childhood even more the second time around. I will even go so far as to say that there are times I like playing kid things more than Claire:
1) Playdough has similar soothing properties to a glass of wine or Prozac. Squish it through your fingers, let its shape slowly morph into a snake or a flower, braid it and wear it as a necklace or crown. See, I’m relaxed just thinking about the Zen of it.
2) Blocks are the opposite of Playdough. They satisfy my Type A impulses. Build the tallest tower, and beat your personal best. Experiment with the physics of where each block is placed. Watch the aerodynamics of how the tower falls. The world fades away, as I become completely absorbed in the task at hand. Claire gets bored and gives up before me every time.
3) Somewhere along the way, dancing stopped being a regular actvity in my life and was relegated to The Macerana a few times a year at the random, cheesy wedding. Enter The Hokey Pokey. It’s not quite the same as clubbing ‘til the wee hours of the morning, but my daily dose of Shake My Sillies Out does remind me of the days I used to shake it like a Polaroid picture. Plus, there are bonuses to The Hokey Pokey. It can be done in a nightgown without the need for showering or putting on makeup. When I do The Hokey Pokey, I don't have to deal with a hangover the next morning or the walk home in high heels either.
4) Reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie over and over again is sure to be the death of me. On the other hand, Mother Goose provides me with endless fascination. Of course, the rhythm and rhyme is fabulous, but the real sweet spot is contemplating how perverse the words are and, by extension, wondering what is up with those Brits anyway. The most priceless piece of political incorrectness: “I went to London to BUY me a wife”. Of course, when I read this one to Claire, this purportedly feminist mama changes “buy” to “find”, which is perhaps marginally better. But, seriously, “buy”? No matter, I continue to read… marveling about the fact that these tales were read to children in the first place, as well as the great mystery of why I’m sharing them with my daughter with such delight now.
5) I could wax on and on about the magic of those shakable, musical eggs. Whoever invented them deserves a medal for the giant step forward in children’s toy design. I love shaking those eggs. They are the perfect ergonomic shape to fit in your palm. The sound they make is the definition of satisfaction. The weird part is that they only work when you are the one shaking them. When other people shake them, they are just, plain loud.
So many good excuses not to act my age. I'll take any opportunity I can get to let go of adult preoccupations and responsibilities, and just be. I'm grateful that Claire is showing me that I can keep growing old without growing up.
How do you like to play with your kids? What makes you feel young again?
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