Emily Writes has been considering how great it is to be a kid while staying up until midnight making a Halloween costume for her child who wants to be a “bubble”.
I’ve been reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my son, a chapter each night as he cuddles up in my lap. He thinks it’s just wonderful – the descriptions of Wonka’s factory delights him. It made me think about how much I’d like to re-read some of my favourite books as a child. To rediscover things and see them as children do would be awesome.
It also made me consider how great it is being a child. I decided to compile a list.
Imagine your whole life being set up around people helping you nap. Wouldn’t that be a dream? Your room is set up exactly so you can dream away: white noise if you need it, a snuggly blanket that’s not too hot or too cold. If you fall asleep in the car YOU GET CARRIED INTO BED! So that your nap isn’t disturbed! Does that sound like the dream? Because I’m pretty sure it is. If I was a billionaire I would give to charity of course, but I would also hire someone to just set up naps for me all the time and I could nap my life away.
Cheese for breakfast, lunch, and tea
As an adult you think you can grow up and eat whatever you want, and in theory you can. But at 32 I know if I just eat cheese all day I’m going to spend the next day shitting my life away. My son does not know this. So despite me telling him this, he eats cheese constantly. I could padlock the fridge but then I wouldn’t be able to get in there in a hurry when I’m on the rag and need to eat a family size chocolate slab/tub of ice cream but only the chocolate and vanilla bits not the pink shit. Even after the cheese has journeyed out he is just like “More CHEE”. His cheese dreams never end.
Teachers give you hugs
When you’re a kid, teachers are generally really nice to you and they hug you when you cry. When you cry at work your boss is just like “Is she past the 90-day rule or…?”
Buggys are kind of great
Imagine being tired while running errands. Then imagine your partner or friend saying “hey you look tired” and producing a massive buggy that you can just curl into and go to sleep. When you wake up, you’re wherever you need to be. I MEAN! You can lie down and be all covered up if it’s windy. If you get sore legs you don’t have to walk. Imagine 3am when you’re like “Fuck me, I hit the wines a tad too hard” and then you’re like – better get the buggy! And you just sleep while someone else takes you home. And then they carry you to bed.
I’ve had a swing as an adult (in a playground not in a club) and I mean it’s OK? But to my son it’s like the greatest thing in the world? So at some point we must change how we feel about swings. For kids, swings are the best and that is a free high for them that can go all day. When they’re adults, I guess they just have drugs for that.
People get their nose so out of joint when you get naked. Or at least when I do. Which probably says more about me than you. But how often have you been at a BBQ and thought ‘damn it is too hot’ and you’ve looked at the kids who suddenly pull all their clothes off and run under the sprinkler. They can do that. We can’t. And that’s unfair right? If a child sees a water feature they just get in it. Even if it’s wee water or pigeon poo water. I don’t know if I want to do that, but I want the option to do that.
Clothes = freedom
Kids can wear their PJs everywhere and nobody minds. In fact, so many clothes for children are actually designed to look like PJs. And here we are wearing “business clothes” that are as uncomfortable as shit like the chumps that we are.
You get them when you’re a kid. And you very rarely do as an adult – unless you buy them yourself, which isn’t fun. And if you lose a tooth as an adult there’s no Tooth Fairy, no exciting pay-out; it just shows you don’t have enough money for a dentist (I speak from experience here).
But it’s not all great. I do think there are some things where we have it a lot better than kids do. And that is definitely:
Those hats with flaps at the back
No adults wear these for a reason. They are, as the French say, heinous. But we still make kids wear them all the time. And zinc. Poor kids.
Having to have baths with your brother who isn’t toilet trained
Thank goodness sharing baths with our siblings is a thing we retire from as children. If you were a kid with a lot of siblings baths were bleak, unless you were the first one in. If you were the last, well, sometimes it was literally a shit show. I have wiped many tears after hearing screams from the bathroom “HE POOED IN THE TUB!” Cheers to never having to deal with that as an adult (hopefully).
I like to choose my bedtime. Even if I should be in bed at 7pm but I stay up till 12.30pm looking at videos of Dwayne The Rock Johnson doing workouts on Instagram.
I don’t think any of us want to shit ourselves and then walk around in our shit waiting for someone to change us.
Of course as adults we know how hard it is when we’re not listened to. We feel that hurt. It sucks. Feeling like you don’t have a voice is horrible. So though many adults feel this way, it must feel universal to young people. They are at the mercy of us their parents, who are tired, unsure, confused, weird and just sometimes generally useless (though trying very hard). They completely rely on us – we are the only people they feel they can trust. And adults outside of their parents can be either friends, or be indifferent, or be cruel. A child’s voice is heard through adults most of the time. And the translations can often be lacking.
My youngest has challenges with his speech and I’m amazed at how few people give him the space to talk. He tries – and they will often ignore him, speak over him, guess what he’s going to say before he can try to say it (they’re almost always wrong). They don’t wait for him to finish his words – it’s as if they’ve already decided he has nothing worthy to say. I see this a lot with kids.
When I witness these interactions all the naps and cheese in the world, and PJs to work with a buggy by my desk, couldn’t make me want to be a child again.
Imagine what it would feel like to go through your day not to be understood – or worse, to have nobody even try to understand you. To have people speak over you all day. Imagine wanting to explain something, really needing to, and you can’t. Imagine desperately needing something, and you can’t get it because you can’t say it.
And worse still, imagine being yelled at if you react in upset and anger that you can’t speak or you’re not being listened to.
Life is hard for kids. Sometimes it seems like they’ve got it easy, but they face some really tough stuff every day. Luckily they have nice adults who want to walk through life with them to make it all a little less scary. Maybe we’re the lucky ones. After all, we get to grow kids who can become adults who make life even better for the next generation.
Subscribe to The Bulletin to get all the day’s key news stories in five minutes – delivered every weekday at 7.30am.