As I watched my toddler dangling a fork of spaghetti above his mouth as though he were a fire-eater, I imagined what it must be like to be a child (because I'm too old to actually remember). To never have to worry about things like money, health, responsibilities; to react on impulse to everything without fear of consequence; to live with your emotions out front instead of guarded and controlled.
It's such an amazing time, being a kid. We start out as these reckless beings, just figuring out how to exist in the world, and because we're young and innocent, we're forgiven many mistakes, because they're just a part of our education.
And then, somewhere along the way, we become more and more constrained as the rules of life push against us and restrict us further and further until we're these formal, anonymous people, avoiding each other's eye contact in a doctor's waiting room.
But imagine if, for just a day, you could behave like a kid again. What would you do?
I would go to one of those indoor playgrounds and throw myself in the ball pit. And maybe just roll around there for a bit. Or, better, find a bouncy castle and jump around for thirty minutes.
I'd scream if I stubbed my toe or caught my finger in a door, instead of holding my emotions in and pretending I was okay. And then, I'd feel sorry for myself for at least ten minutes afterward.
I'd go to the grocery store, and instead of shopping according to my list, I'd whiz around, flinging everything I really wanted into the cart: olives, cheese, donuts, candies, bottles of pop, magazines. Maybe cackling along the way too. And at the till, instead of engaging in small talk about the weather with the cashier, I'd shake my head petulantly and refuse to talk, because I didn't feel like talking about the weather.
I'd skip along the sidewalk, singing, instead of walking conservatively and trying not to make eye contact with strangers passing by.
I'd blurt out whatever was on my mind, the minute it occurred to me.
I'd drop everything in the middle of the day and declare I don't feel like doing this anymore, and go lie down on my bed with my blanket and a book.
I'd eat pudding with my hands. In fact, I'd eat everything with my hands.
Oh imagine the fun you could have if you were a child again... if only for a day.