Monday, August 29, 2011

Childish Wanted

I remember reading certain books as a kid, like the Anne of Green Gables series (more particularly the later ones when Anne is a mother) and Little Men & Jo's Boys, and deciding I wanted to be like those characters when I grew up. I would have fun and play and see the joy in simple things. As a mother I would play with my kids, and listen to them, and come up with creative - and effective - ways of disciplining, and never make my kids feel like they are less important than other things and that they only ever get a fraction of my attention.

Fast forward several years and three kidlets of my own later, and I'm chagrined at how often I fall short of the type of grown up I wanted to be. I am now the mom my boys tease because she never gets her hair wet (my tomboy younger self shudders). I don't smile as often as I should and sometimes act downright boring. Yes, grown up responsibilities like paying bills and managing a household and working on a career can leave limited time to get in touch with my inner child, but I realized a while ago that I was becoming at times downright curmudgeony.

I needed a quick dose of childish, and I needed it STAT!

I'm not talking about the childish half that quarrels or whines or is selfish or procrastinates. (I seem to have little problem channeling that childish Jaime.) But have you noticed how often kids smile? How frequently they laugh? How they get so excited about something that they can't help but move because they can't keep it in? They use their imaginations (if video games haven't dumbed it out of them) all the time and can find the wonder in things around them. They haven't become so cynical that they immediately dismiss things as impossible - like I've caught myself doing. THOSE are the childish characteristics I need to work on, because they're atrophying under grown up crankiness.

In an effort to rejuvenate my childishness, the other day I took five minutes and sprawled in the grass under a tree and just stared at the sky. If there had been clouds I would have found shapes in them. (Next time.) And it was wonderful. Yesterday one of my kidlets was moving slower than molasses and had left his giant teddy bear in the living room. I checked my initial reaction to holler about him being responsible for his stuff, and instead made the teddy bear sneak up the stairs and pounce on my son, and in a goofy teddy bear voice I had the teddy bear shower him with hugs and kisses and tell him the things he needed to get busy doing. I have gotten more traction with him from that little bit of play than I ever imagined. He jumped up and got to work, and talked about it the rest of the day. He asked to have the teddy bear wake him up this morning.

So, if I can be more less grumpy old woman *and* have my home a happier place, you better believe I'm after a little more childishness. I love writing and reading children's & YA books, but I could love it even more if I peel back some of the adult layers. Today I think I might play hopscotch or basketball with the kidlets when they get home from school.


Yamile said...

Everything you say is so, so true. Yesterday I read one of my childhood favorite books (still a favorite): The Little Prince. I sound exactly like the ridiculous people the Little Prince meets on his travels, and nothing like the Little Prince himself. It made me sad to realize that too.

I need to work on spending time doing what's important instead of what's urgent. The two aren't synonyms.

I do need to catch up on the S&P's reading though. That's both important and urgent!

Thanks for this post. Besos!

Angie said...

I love that teddy bear story. Pat yourself on the back for that! I could use a good dose of childishness myself!

Shallee said...

I think we could all do with a dose of childishness every now and then. I find that putting on a twirly skirt and spinning in the grass helps with that. :)

Julie Daines said...

I'm always amazed in the end at how little effort it really takes to make a kid happy. I, too, get bogged down in the have tos and don't spend enough time on the shoulds. So thanks for reminding me that it's the little things that make the difference.