Kid Stuff

puddlesLast Saturday, I was riding my bike in the park.  Yes, the same guy that used to start out in the park, then take the bike trail to the beach and back (40 miles) now puts in 30-40 minutes with several loops inside the park.  The same guy is a lot older.  Anyway, the sprinklers run early in the morning, leaving fairly large but shallow puddles scattered along the trails.  The same guy likes to ride through the puddles.  When the same guy was a runner, he used to run through the puddles, splashing water on his running partner who probably thought the same guy was a bit crazy.   Paul Simon would probably say the same guy is Still Crazy After All These Years.  The same guy loves that song.

Anyway, as I was rolling through a particularly large puddle, I looked up to see two little girls on pink two-wheelers riding back and forth through the next puddle, laughing with delight as the water splashed up onto their little pink shoes and designer jeans.  Their Mom was standing nearby, not talking on the phone but laughing along with them.  Good Mom.  They reminded me that riding through puddles is Kid Stuff, and in remembering that, I enjoyed the rest of my ride … and puddles … all the more.   When I got back to my car, I set up the lunch I’d brought from the local market on my favorite picnic table but discovered I didn’t have a fork for spoon for the three bean salad.   So I did what came naturally … I ate it with my fingers.   Look, I know that the whole Inner Child thing has been so overused that it’s become a cliche and a punchline, but I definitely have one.   Mine got a big kick out of eating that salad with our hands.

I absolutely believe we all have an Inner Child that wants to drop all the Serious Stuff every once in a while and play.   And I believe we ignore that child at our own peril.  What that child wants is to be childlike.  What he becomes if he doesn’t get to do any Kid Stuff is childish.   We all know bratty adults. Maybe if they did some Kid Stuff they’d be less bitter and more fun.  Maybe the world would be better.  My next door neighbors have a ski boat and jet skis and motorcycles and they periodically go wherever boat-jetski-motorcycle people go to play.  My Serious Adult says, How old are you anyway?  I found a post on The Mary Sue by Becky Chambers titled I Am An Adult Who Likes Kid Stuff.  And That’s OK.  It is very nice article about playing a video game called Secret of Mana.   My Serious Adult really looks down on adults who play video games (as he whiles away the time playing Mole Word.  That’s a mental challenge, he says).  Becky talks about the importance of play for children and how playing games as an adult lets us play out our adult challenges on a smaller scale.  That’s grown-up talk.  But she also says playing the game helps her in remembering how I saw the world when I was younger.   I would take it a step farther … and out of the past tense.  Kid Stuff allows me to experience the world as my younger self.  But we each have to find our own particular Kid Stuff.

I’ve been particularly attuned to Kid Stuff this week, watching my life for examples.  Mine don’t require much equipment.

1. Collect stuff … shells, rocks, feathers, little shiny things
2. Feed the ducks
3. Whistle back to the birds in the park
4. Yes, ride through puddles
5. Make up silly songs
6. Watch things grown-ups miss … pollywogs in the pond, for instance
7. Scribble … my Serious Adult calls it doodling
8. Go barefoot in the grass
9. Skip rocks on the lake
10. Sing out loud

What is your favorite Kid Stuff?

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One Comment on “Kid Stuff”

  1. territerri Says:

    As much as I agree with you and would like to think I’m very in touch with my inner kid, when I really think about it, I don’t do much kid stuff. Yes, I collected rocks on the beach last weekend. But i don’t regularly do it. I’m barefoot whenever it’s socially acceptable… because I hate socks and shoes. Does that count? I think I need to make an effort to act more like a kid sometimes. I’m walking a fine line lately between contentment and bitterness.

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