As I watch my kids laugh, fight, play and learn, I’m often struck by how honestly and in-the-moment their lives are lived. I have a laminated poster at my desk that says ‘live in the moment, the future will take care of itself’. Nice sentiment, but it’s been there so long it’s like wallpaper to me and I no longer notice it at all. Ruby and Leah, however, and all kids of their age, live that to the full. It set me to wondering what it would be like to live like they do …
I got given a very nice bottle of wine the other day for doing a good job. I was pleased but kinda embarrassed and so I tucked it away out of sight and carried on quietly doing a good job.
But if I morphed into a toddler/kid … not only would I not have been impressed with a bottle of wine (too fizzy on my tongue), I would have been far happier with a sticker … or, total excitement … one on EACH hand!! Then I would have run round the office whooping it up, jumping up and down in front of everyone, shoving my hands in front of their face, forcing them to admire my prize, nodding proudly, grinning like a lunatic, shouting “look what I got, YES, I done good job!!” and then gone back to my desk, feverish to do more ‘good job’ and looking up every now and then to make sure my boss was watching – possibly yelling at her to “watch me!!” if she happened to look away …
Most people will have, at some point, forced their way through a meal out of sheer manners. Gulped it down and politely finished what really wasn’t finishable. Or worse, eaten and paid for a very sub-standard meal and been too timid to complain. But we’ve all seen the ‘bugger everyone’s feelings’ attitude towards food displayed by our littlies. So next time I go out for dinner and don’t like the food, maybe I’ll take a leaf out of their books … make gagging noises, open my mouth and push the food out with my tongue, letting it land where it may. Wipe my tongue on my sleeve and announce “ooh yukky. Don’t like that. Not eat it.” Then I’ll look at my neighbour’s plate, sidle over to sit on their lap and intercept their forkload of much better looking food. Or, while they’re looking away to have polite conversation, I’ll finger through their dinner and pick out the bits I like, spitting the bits I don’t like back onto their plate … and when they look back in horrified surprise, I’ll grin cheerfully at them. With their dinner smeared across my cheeks and all over my hands.
My daughters, like most kids at some point, have been the source of great embarrassment when they won’t display the good manners I’m trying to teach them. Etiquette around the issue of visiting and being visited, in particular, is a tricky one. Wonder what will happen if next time a friend comes to visit me and I walk out of the room to go do something else. Just cos I don’t feel like their company. Perhaps I should just say ‘don’t want to talk to you any more. Go home.’ Conversely, when a lovely friend comes to visit, we have a great time but then she has to go … I’ll use kid tactics! I’ll stand in front of the door and not let her out. I’ll refuse to say ‘goodbye’ and instead yell ‘No! You stay! Play wiv me!’ I’ll hide her shoes and tell her she has to find them before she can go. Yup – should work a treat!
Imagine making small talk at a party when you realize you’ve quite simply had enough of this person. In our world, we carry on making small talk until we can find a polite excuse to move on. But in kid world you simply say ‘don’t want talk to you’ and turn your head away. Or you cover your eyes so they can’t see you. Very effective.
Yes indeedy … a bit more living in the moment, a bit less PC … at least we’ll all know where we stand!!