This is certainly far from being an epiphany, or even a vaguely original thought, but recently I’ve been living somewhat vicariously through Frida and it’s struck me that being 3 1/2 must be a hell of a lot of fun.
The excitement that she feels for what I consider to be the most mundane of activities shoots across the space between us and seeps into my jaded, old skin. She jumps up and down and gushes and squeals – and she gets Elsie all excited, too. Their two little voices saying “Ouuuiiiiii!” as they clap their hands and then Frida starts jumping and chanting:
“Post office! Post office! Post office!”
Yes – that’s right. All of this excitement for a routine errand.
The post office outing was great. We parked a little further away so we could “walk” there – on the SIDEWALK! and Frida got to LICK STAMPS! oh – and there was this crazy yellow box outside the post office, and guess what was in it? SALT!!!!! Yeah, we got to look in that box on the way in AND on the way back out.
It was worth the double car-seat battle with Elsie (whose superpower is to turn into a 2 x 6 when it’s time to be strapped in) to be witness to all that unbridled kid joy.
Other things that have resulted in Unbridled Kid Joy (UKJ) recently:
- Crossing the street to visit a friend
- Making waffles (ok, unbridled adult joy, too)
- Getting on any kind of bus (this one never fails)
- the purple yoga mat on the living room floor
- Taking a shower instead of a bath
I’m sure there will be more. In fact, I’ve taken to testing the UKJ by suggesting banal activities in an excited tone of voice to see how intense the reaction will be. “Frida- wanna help me do the DISHES???”
It makes me think of all those clichés about seeing things through the eyes of a child and all that crap. But I guess I should shut my jaded mouth cause it’s TRUE. I really did love going to the post office and started dreaming up the next outing. Oh, I can’t tell you how excited she is about going to the dentist. We’ve got a countdown calendar bringing us to April 13. Less than a month now!
Recently, I’ve been listening to Radiolab podcasts while walking the dog (“OOOOOUUUIIIIII!!!!!”) by myself. (I have been getting pretty excited about this new activity, actually. But I try to keep my UKJ under wraps so that no one wants to come with me.) Anyway, the last episode I listened to featured a story about a guy who discovered that he could hack phone lines with his voice – they call it Phone Phreaking and apparently lots of people do it (UKJ?), but it’s illegal, so don’t. Anyway, this (blind from birth) dude at around 40 years of age decided, instead of being a jaded old cynical adult, to be 5 years old for the rest of his life, and host a call-in show for kids. He’d leave long messages on an answering machine that were stories, or just him talking, and also trying to boost kids up a bit, and you could leave messages for him or not. He legally changed his name to Joybubbles.
And I think Joybubbles was maybe on to something, along with Mister Rogers.
Being 5, or 3, or whatever age you need to be: wow! everything is so INTENSE. Can’t have the red cup with dinner? BAAAAWWWLLLLLL. Flop on floor like bacon. Shudder and wail. Snot. Peanut-shaped mouth. Want to go to the post office? ECSTASY. UKJ. Shin splints from jumping so much. (Sadly, some psychiatrists are now treating UKJ as “juvenile bipolar disorder” in toddlers and prescribing anti-psychotic drugs. Yes, toddlers. Those who toddle. Sometimes, this disorder is misdiagnosed as “normal toddler behaviour”.) But more than that, everything is new. Shiny. Untarnished by cynicism and the news and strikes and the conservative government and climate change. It’s salt in a yellow box, y’all! Rejoice! Let’s look at it again, Please??
Anyway – basically, I think what this boils down to is that I’m going to start going on a lot more errands with Frida (tomorrow I have to get a lightbulb for the kitchen!), and that we’re going to be making a lot more glue-gun projects with pinecones. And, one day, I’ll tell you how to make the BEST GRANOLA EVER – but you have to start a countdown calendar. You can put a “granola recipe” sticker on the calendar to show you when it will be. And unleash your own UKJ – it’s springtime!!!