Friday, July 20, 2012

Childhood Lessons

Kids are resilient creatures.

A couple weeks ago I was visiting two of my awesome little cousins and one of them tripped over a stair and completely face planted on the tile. Ker-splat. He looked up at us with this surprised expression. Then he just started laughing, got back up and continued running after his brother.

My aunt laughed and said, “If it was one of us, we’d be calling everyone in the house to help us get up and then laying down the rest of the day.”

This is probably fairly accurate. As a kid, I fell down many a time and just got back up and went back to playing. Now, if I fall, it's almost as if it didn't really happen unless I tell everyone I know about it. 

Right there! I point to the spot on the ground dramatically. That's where misfortune befell me. The completely flat ground upon which I caught my foot on my own ankle and descended to the ground in a writhing, mewling state of confusion. Let us all now stand together in awe of my survival.

When I was a kid, I loved the Slip ‘N Slide. Now, I can’t think of anything that would compel me to doing a running belly flop on to the hard ground. I don’t care what’s in the pool at the end of the thin, wet plastic. 

I also can’t think of too many situations were I’d be willing to go down the stairs hands first anymore. But, back then, the fact that the first time I tried ended in me taking a header down the steps and sporting a sore noggin and some rug burn on my face for the rest of the day didn’t dissuade me from trying again. And I did awesomely that second time.

When I mentioned to Roomie that I’m surprised kids survive as much as they do, she stated that these were all great learning experiences. For instance, the first time she and her friends went down the stairs on a mattress, they front loaded it. Result: They all went flying off and kicked each other in the faces. Second time, they back loaded it. Result: They had a magical ride of wonderment.

It’s hard to argue with that logic.

And while I’m done with Slip ‘N Slides and I’m probably not super likely to go down the stairs in nontraditional ways anymore, there are still things I did as a kid that I’d like to do again. During that visit with my little cousins, I got to watch them pretend to be Spiderman a number of times. And I remembered how I used to love to climb up door frames back in the day. This is a skill that I sadly no longer have, but I have every intention of getting it back. I will not rest until I can Spiderman my way up the doorframe once again!

I’ve already tried a few times and I look like a complete goon. Also, the attempts are kind of painful on the wrists and ankles. And I may, or may not, have lost my balance and taken a face dive into the carpet. But, whatever. I want to be able to do this again. I guess I still have some of that little kid resiliency in me. Which is a comfort.

Thinking of all these ridiculous things that kids do, I decided to pose the question to some friends of what would they do again and what wouldn’t they. Here’s what they had to say:


Would still do today: “Jumping off of shed roofs into pools is awesome."  

Would not do today: “Rock fights. We had teams and we had rocks. Those ended when someone hit a truck with a rock and we all ran away because he stopped. Some of us grabbed our bikes and ran, but others left their bikes behind and the truck driver took them. So, they had to go talk to him and he drove them home and they had to explain to their parents that they’d been in a rock fight. I wasn’t a moron though, and I grabbed my bike….Rock fights weren’t my finest moment.”

The Laconic Lady

Would still do today: “Drive from one side of the country to the other in four weeks.” 

Would not do today: “Dance. I used to dance all the time with my father. Then one time we were dancing in the kitchen and I jumped up. When I came back down I broke my foot. I started middle school on crutches. No more dancing.”

The Woman in Black:

Would still do today: “You know that part in Newsies where Christian Bale says something like ‘Remind me to thank him for this some day’ after they’ve used the printing presses to make their own paper? Well I loved that line. So much that I manipulated an entire afternoon of imaginary play so I could say it. Everything else changed. We weren’t newsboys, but worked making clothes. And it wasn’t Pulitzer, but a mean clothes lady. But at the end of the day we won and I got to say, ‘Remind me to thank her for this some day.’ I would do that again." 

Would not do today: “I would not jump on a kiddie trampoline when my sister had her head under it. She wanted to see what it looked like when someone jumped on the trampoline. I said no. She asked and asked and promised she wouldn’t tell mom. So, I did it. She told mom. She had to go to the emergency room. I don't want to say the tooth went through her lip.....I mean….I jumped on her face!”

How about the rest of you?

I’ll be practicing my doorframe climbing as I await your answers.

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