Not for Children Only

Posted by Mary Marvella | 3:26 AM | 3 comments »

Are there things you enjoyed as a child, things you don’t do now because they’re for children only?

My list of such things is short. I can’t physically do some, my body simply won’t let me. I no longer stand on my head, do summersaults or back-bends. I hate that my neck and back and knees won’t allow it. I’d certainly never give those up if I didn’t need a week to recuperate when I try. I was the champ until I passed forty.

I’d never give up playing in the sand or dirt, but I feel more comfortable when I have a child to teach about making frog houses and sand castles. Surely you haven’t forgotten frog houses. You may have called them something else. Remember? You sat on the ground and covered one foot with sand or clay or just plain dirt, your main building material. Once your foot was well covered with the material of your choice you could work said foot from the pile, leaving an entrance.

Some of the other builders were satisfied to leave as soon as a simple cave-like hut was done. Those of us with runaway imaginations used that simple structure to create mansions, castles, forts, or more. This activity was not for children only. Actually children often moved on far too soon, leaving at least one adult or teenager to use engineering and architectural skills to build. The opening must remain undamaged, no matter how much dirt was piled on the structure. Far too complicated for a mere child.

Digging moats, building walls, those activities were fine for the kids. Adding water to the moats or turning a simple wall to the Great Wall of China, wide enough for pedestrians or vehicles to use as roads, was fine for younger hands, unless they tired of the game or weren’t doing a good enough job for the boss.

I can remember working on my masterpieces in fading daylight or even by moonlight. I did that even as a child. Why stop as an adult? I know, some people frown at sandcastle-building adults. They’re probably jealous or they simply don’t understand how therapeutic sand or dirt feels on hands and feet, how using one’s imagination to create eases tension, or the sense of accomplishment of making each new mansion better than the last or the one next to yours, built by another adult.

These same people probably don’t teach their children to dunk cookies in milk or take each Oreo apart to eat it. They probably don’t read the funnies, comic strips to some of you, even with no child to listen. They probably don’t ride the waves in the ocean or stroll along the beach searching for shells. Bet they don’t even blow bubbles with their bubble gum, or enjoy suckers, or popsicles, or making snow angels, or splashing in puddles, or making mud pies.

Send ‘em to me. Let me teach ‘em to skip when they would walk. I’ll give ‘em pie or cake with no plate, or fork, or napkin and teach ‘em to lick their fingers clean. Some things mustn’t be for children only.


  1. Misc. Muse // March 17, 2008 at 6:35 PM  

    Well, I still play with dolls- they are all over my house. I have to go to the doll isle at the store. I love seeing the sand castle building contest they hold annually at some beaches. Now I want to go walk on the beach. Wish I could go to Bodega Bay where we used to fish for crabs off the rocks. (that is where Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds were filmed) We went there all time when I was a kid.

  2. Beth Trissel // March 18, 2008 at 2:08 PM  

    Chasing fireflies, wishing on the first star, or falling stars, blowing saop bubbles in the wind, seeking that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Here's a good one--putting a caterpillar in a glass jar, punch holes in the lid, keep it out of direct sunlight, and feed it the right sort of leaves for it's kind until it hatches into a butterfly. Eastern black swallowtail caterpillars like dill, parsley, Queen Ann's lace and carrot tops. The larvae can be found on these sorts of plants. Choose a big fat one that is near to forming a crysalis.

  3. Nightingale // March 19, 2008 at 9:42 AM  

    And may you stay Forever Young -- from a Joan Baez song or was it Rod Stewart. My photographic memory ran out of film again.

    You're perfectly right Mary and you're the teacher who could do it!