Why I Don’t Want to Totally Commit to Adulthood
As a young aunt, somehow I started a phrase with my niece and nephew that became a huge irritation to my sister.
One day many years ago, the three of us were piled into a car with my sister behind the wheel on our way to Chuck E Cheese. My nephew was really jazzed about this excursion and the gargantuan amount of his parents’ money he was about to blow. As he began excitedly telling me a story, spit came catapulting out of his mouth, to which I replied (for some inexplicable reason, in a weird pirate voice) “Riley, thar’s no spittin’ in the carrr, arrrghhh.”
Well, this started something major. These hyper children (and their equally jacked up aunt) began repeating “there’s no spitting in the car” in a vast variety of different voices. My sister Elizabeth laughed right along.
Until there’s no spitting in the car continued throughout the week-long beach trip.
And then for months afterwards, every time the kids would see me, it would all get revved back up again. The kids beat the proverbial dead horse, buried it, exhumed it and began beating it some more, with my tireless abeting.
I remember Elizabeth declaring (in the car, natch) that “there’s only ONE more no-spitting-in-the-car, so make it the BEST ONE EVER.” Of course her exasperation with the whole thing made it that much funnier to her kids (and me) and encouraged them to keep it going, ad nauseum.
Maturity is SO overrated.
That all happened oh, about 12 years ago. And it STILL makes me grin. Sometimes I think that I haven’t grown up since that time.
The Age 40 Threshold
You would think that crossing over the age 40 threshold would be enough to firmly cement one into adulthood. Or becoming a mom. Not the case with me. I feel that I vacillate between childhood and adulthood on multiple occasions every day.
My 21-year-old stepson mentioned to one day this summer in casual conversation that he detests the term “dookie.” A big rookie mistake. I began to manage working it into all kinds of odd conversations, snickering all the while. I’ve even coached my 4-year-old twins on properly abusing him with dookie talk whenever he is home from college.
Also in the excrement arena, I’ve found that changing stories around to make the main character unexpectedly poop his pants really livens up story time for my little ones (provided I can get through it without giggling).
My lack of maturity is not, however, limited to defecation.
I secretly indulge in TV shows marketed towards teenaged girls when I have a spare minute (HA!). When my children burp in the middle of a sentence, I explode with laughter. I voice a character of my own creation named “Sniffy” who has a perpetual cold and always says “honk” when he blows his nose on his shirt.
But wait! I’m supposed to be The Parent. That’s serious business, right? How will they ever respect me if I act silly right along with them?
Benefits of Being Silly With Your Kids
Greg Hood, a freelance writer and youth development professional wrote an awesome article championing the Peter Pan-like parents of the world like me. He explains that parents are essentially “training” their children for adulthood and often mistakenly discourage silliness. If you’re a fuddy duddy stick-in-the-mud parent who puts a premium on maturity, it’s a must-read for you. http://www.parent.co/5-serious-benefits-of-being-silly-with-your-kids/
I agree wholeheartedly with this gentleman. A simple but thought-provoking idea stuck out to me:
Meet your children where they are.
In my mind, this represents the foundation of my relationship with my children. From this point, springs the other benefits that Mr. Hood mentions such as bonding, coping and comfort.
In no way do I believe that silly parenting is always the way to go. On many occasions, I have been known to morph into Queen Bossypants. At the first hint of my 4-year-old twins lallygagging when I’m trying to get us some place on time, Queen B can emerge. How on earth does this happen? I’m the Fun Mom – just a kid too!
Seriously though, I do believe that my kids would walk all over me if I was silly from sun up to sundown. There is an art to determining when it’s appropriate to be Fun Mom and when to be Queen B.
I have arthritis in my foot, hands that have oddly premature wrinkles and lovely bags under my eyes. Aging is not optional. But I still have the gift of being able to view life’s wonderment and challenges from the perspective of a child, so I understand my children.
I don’t want to grow up.