April 30, 2004

I Regress

Two days ago on the train (bear with me, it's not another train story), there was a little girl travelling with her parents and younger brother into London. The family sat in two places on the train, since it was very full and the kids wanted to sit next to the windows. The little girl sat opposite me-about 3 years old, I have rarely seen a child so incredibly cute as this one. She and I played "Shyness-Peek-A-Boo", and then she got hungry. She stood on the chair, blond bob swaying.

"Daddy!" she hollered sweetly across the train. Perhaps being so attuned to the word "Daddy", no less than 12 men craned around in instinct, then calmed down knowing they were not the "Daddy" she sought. "Daddy, would you like a buiscuit?"

The entire train-including myself-laughed. And the women on the train-including myself-had a sudden rush of estrogen burst into our uterus due to the overwhelming cuteness of this child. And believe me-there are few drugs knwon to man that are stronger than estrogen.

The little girl then took out a packet of a junk food called Hula Hoops. These are little crunchy rings that one eats in a mindless state in front of the tv, while drunk, or on the train. But there seems to be only one way to eat them-you have to put them on the tips of your fingers like little corn crunchy rings and eat them off one by one.

Which she did.

And me-a virgin to Hula Hoops-wanted them so badly at that moment I could cry. So Mr. Y later bought me some and I then proceeded to eat them, one at a time, from each of my fingers.

They were fabulous.

It made me think. Sometimes I feel so old that I could just fall apart, but maybe there are still some parts of me that are childlike. Quirks from my childhood that never left, connections to a time of guileless youth. I'm not talking about my emotional response (it's no secret that something is not quite right there), but about things that make me happy.

There are things that still make me squeal in delight. I admit it. Memories that are still special to me-eating sticky popsicles in the summer, sitting on the curb in the hot sun and watching the ants dash around beneath, hoping to get a drop of that purple sweetness that I am munching on. Sitting in a crabapple tree and devouring books-and crabapples-in the summer months. Running through the sprinkler and getting blades of cut grass stuck annoyingly all over my ankles.

Lick 'Em Sticks (which I would never eat the sugar sticks from). Little hard candies that came in cute shapes and cute plastic boxes (a coffin plastic box would have vampire shaped candies that would taste not unlike Flintstone's Vitamins. I think they probably were. Fucking conspiracy). Twizzlers and Pixy Sticks. I still crave these things.

I am sometimes such a girl-I love wearing cute slippy pleated skirts and Mary Janes. And I confess-I love to skip, and I have to make sure I never do it in public. When I see swings, I want nothing more to sit on them and pump my legs, making them go higher and higher or, better yet, have someone behind me to push me. I think some moments in a relationship are best defined by the simple: "Do you like me? Check yes or no."

If you offer me an airplane-where you put your feet on my stomach and elevate me into the air-I'll be your best friend. I miss playing on a Slip 'N Slide, this big piece of yellow plastic that you had to spend forever to adjust the water hose on, and you'd always scrape the fuck out of your elbows on the staples at the end of the slide anyway. The Magic 8 Ball is a tool to be revered and trusted for important decisions, such as "Will I have a beer, or would I like some wone?" Shoes come off and feet clad in socks covered with cartoon animals get stuffed underneath me in cars couches, movie theatres.

I hope that part of me never stops in this. And I don't see any sign of it, either. After all, my dream career (other than being a writer) is to be the Quality Tester in a bubble wrap plastic factory.


Posted by Everydaystranger at April 30, 2004 10:22 AM | TrackBack

Best kid smells:
A new box of crayons.
Rubber gum erasers.
Big Chief writing tablets.
New textbooks.

Posted by: Donna at May 2, 2004 10:55 PM

Wow Terry, small world-I used to be in "The Promise"...

Posted by: Helen at May 1, 2004 08:17 AM

I could go for a little wone myself.

Posted by: Guinness at April 30, 2004 10:26 PM

Terry in Glen Rose, Texas

Posted by: notGeorge at April 30, 2004 10:09 PM

Bubble wrap rocks my world ;-)

I used to get SO excited when my parents got packages in the mail that had the BIG bubble wrap...the kind with HUGE bubbles. My dad and I would have so much fun popping those and annoying my mom.

Posted by: Brandy at April 30, 2004 09:56 PM

(can't believe I'm about to admit this)

I love love love kids stuff. I watch Nickelodeon. I buy stuffed toys. I am big into Bonne Bell Lip Smackers.

Frankly, it's the one part of my life that I don't give a rat's hairy ass how anyone judges. My childhood was bizarre and hard at best; my adulthood's not much better in most places. Regressing to those few happy places - including flippy skirts (I'm wearing one!!) and Mary Janes (three pair, thankyouverymuch) is the least I can do.

And you too, sweetie.

Posted by: Kaetchen at April 30, 2004 09:27 PM

Oooh boy do I remember getting beat up on the Slip n Slide....and loving every minute of it.

I'm right there with you on the socks...hate shoes and the second I can, I take them off. I also have a Magic 8 ball sitting on my desk right now and yes, it's a toy but every time I have asked it a question, it has been right.

I'm also known to get up on Saturday mornings, get a big bowl of sugar laced cereal, crawl back into bed and watch cartoons while eating my Cap n' Crunch or Lucky Charms or whatever. And yes, I get them for the toys. I also buy kid's meals for the toys.

A lot of people shun their "childhood" delights away for pure adulthood but I have never lost those small moments of pure pleasure...and I am not in the least bit ashamed to say it.

Not a thing wrong with embracing the joys of the simple pleasures of life like we did when we were kids...completely enveloped in bliss and retaining a bit of innocence.

If someone looks at me weird because of how I eat a candy bar....that's their problem. I'm gonna enjoy it with complete indifference to what someone else might think.

Don't ever lose this part of you Helen. I like people who can retain this piece of themselves.

I'll go on the swings with you any day.

Posted by: Serenity at April 30, 2004 08:32 PM

A lot of your find memories of childhood are also mine. I still love those soury-supersweet powered candies, too!

Posted by: the girl at April 30, 2004 05:02 PM

A bit of "how's your Father" on bubble wrap? hmm, would that be with or without the body lotion? hehe

Summers filled with riding my bicycle everywhere, calling mom to come pick me up. Building giant underground forts in the vacant lot behind our house, or digging a hole in the ground, filling it with water and putting back just enough dirt to make the perfect mud bath. Water fights that included mom hauling the hose right in the front door after us (no where was safe during a water fight). Most of all sleeping all night without a ache, a pain or a care in the world, and waking with the energy to go out and make a new world of fun the next day. Whew, I think I need a nap!

Great post Helen =)

Posted by: Dane at April 30, 2004 04:39 PM

Softball games and sunflower seeds....sweaty summer evenings playing 'Flashlight' with the neighbors....Pierre my stuffed bunny...being allowed to go permanently barefoot when the temperature outside was 70 degrees 3 days in a row. The Good Humor truck traveling down our suburban road. Thanks Helen for the Happy Thoughts today!

Posted by: Marie at April 30, 2004 04:28 PM

teehee, this post made me giggle. all that childlike stuff? yeah, it should never leave us. keeps us sweet i think. half my socks are covered in cartoons. i love it. here's to walking barefoot, picking buttercups, and eating creamsicles while playing tv tag.

Posted by: kat at April 30, 2004 03:12 PM

I had a quick look to see where the phrase "how's your father" originated and the best I could come up with was this.

Unfortunately that's probably not true.

Posted by: Gareth at April 30, 2004 02:49 PM

Given the fact that I have enough fillings in my mouth to make a full place setting of silverware you can tell I loved candy as a kid. And not brushing much. Anyway.

Some of my favorites: Pop Rocks, Bottle Caps, Gold Rush gum, Marathon bars (12 inches of love - ahem), Bubble Yum in grade school was as coveted a commodity as smokes in prison.

It wasn't eating the candy that is so memorable for me as much as the ritual of going to get it. To this day seeing certain candy in the racks my kids are clammoring for brings me right back to when I was my daughter's age.

Every summer I spent a few weeks visiting my grandparents in Indiana. It seemed just like Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show and I loved everything about it. Riding my bike to the Ben Franklins "dime store" on the corner of the town square by the court house with $10 burning a hole in my pocket. The sound of the bell as I opened the door, the creaky floor boards as I paced up and down the toy aisle seeing if they had anything new. Heaven.

Posted by: Paul at April 30, 2004 02:23 PM

An airplane, eh? What if your dad comes in. I can give him one too, i guess.

Posted by: Tommy at April 30, 2004 02:07 PM

Hey there -- you've figured out the dichotomy of growing up! Who says you can never go back?

And as for bubble wrap, I have but one thing to say - which I've said for years:

"Therapy is expensive, Bubble Wrap is cheap - you decide ..."

Posted by: Kylan at April 30, 2004 01:36 PM

Music is my time machine. I hear "Heat Of The Moment" by Asia, and suddenly I'm back in the summer before my sophomore year in high school. Or "On The Turning Away" by Pink Floyd, and I'm getting ready to graduate college.

There's nothing like music to transport me back to my youth and make me feel young again.

Posted by: Solomon at April 30, 2004 01:25 PM

Oh yeah, Pop Rocks!

I remember deliberately eating them and swilling them down with Coke to see if my stomach would explode. Yet another example of me not thinking through the consequences.

Of course, it was an urban legend anyway.

And Easy-Yup, it means sex. Personally, I think it's a hilarious term, but you're right-I shudder to think of where it came from.

Posted by: Helen at April 30, 2004 01:10 PM

One of the reasons I am going back to school to become a teacher is I miss that period of my life. Not the grind of listening to boring teachers talking to us or the various click's I disliked in H.S. but the fact life seem so full of promise and hope.

I often wonder why people cant just take a step back and enjoy life again. To many of us see to be rushing towards some goal. When we get their we relize that our lives are spent and we missed out on so much.

Posted by: Drew at April 30, 2004 01:03 PM

-Twizzlers RULE! I always get a big bag at the movie theatre. Right now 7-11 has a promotion going where you get a big Twizzler to use as the straw for your slurpie. 2nd born and I each had one last Wed after Tball practice. Delicious.

-I have fallen prey to the "Daddy call". Same with a crying child. My head always swivels until I locate the child and verify that he/she is being attended to.

"...have a bit of how's your father..." -- Is this a euphemism for sex? If so, I'm not sure I want to hear how this expression came into being. If not, then just what does it mean?

Posted by: Easy at April 30, 2004 01:00 PM

Having children can allow you to rexperience many of these things through fresh eyes so that what might seem like a nostalgia trip becomes new again. Last weekend, I took my 3 year old daughter to a local dive where my dad used to take me when I was a child. It hadn't changed much -- same row of stools, same everything almost. I ordered a hot dog for her which she happily ate and, as we left, she said, "Daddy, that was a really good hotdog." And so the torch is passed.

I still like twizzlers, Helen!

Posted by: Random Penseur at April 30, 2004 12:41 PM

very well written post

Posted by: be at April 30, 2004 12:19 PM

What a sweet post. Isn't it just amazing to be able to hold onto your childhood? I still love to go feed the duckies, jump rope, play pick up sticks and jacks and i will always love them, please.

Slip-n-slide on the other hand... dangerous! I've never had more bumps and bruises than when I played on one when a couple of years ago. Some things need to stay in my childhood :)

Posted by: Heather at April 30, 2004 11:58 AM

have you had the mini hula hoops? they're just as fantastic in their own mini cute way.

Posted by: jade at April 30, 2004 11:52 AM

Pop Rocks, Pop Rocks RULE. I am so bad I gave some to my dog once. Made me laugh....

I have loads of memories like this and I hope I never have to stop. Slip and slide through the crocodiles mouth, hell yeah! I am a cartoon kid to this day. I turn 27 next month and I want a trampoline to BOUNCE people on in my garden! Yup its part of me to take part and parcel.

weeeeee want an airplane ride (gotta use the gymnastic girl quads from hell for something :)

Posted by: stinkerbell at April 30, 2004 11:39 AM

Racing swivel chairs across it-how fabulous! I would LOVE that!

Mr. Y and I roll it up and jump up and down on it.

I would like to get the enormous bubble ones, lay them down, and have a bit of how's your father on them.

I'm kinda' sick that way :)

Posted by: Helen at April 30, 2004 11:00 AM

Hula Hoops are fantastic, especially the Beef flavour ones.

And I so want your dream job right now!

I remember one summer job I had at uni working for a company that made connector cables for computers. They moved factories midway through the couple of months I spent there so we had to help pack everything in bubblewrap to be moved from the old building to the new one. There were giant rolls of the stuff everywhere and I can say with absolute certainty that nothing beats laying that stuff out on the floor and racing swivel chairs across it.

Posted by: Gareth at April 30, 2004 10:58 AM

I love hula hoops!!
Jade's mother-in-law sends her some occasionally. If she's feeling like an exceptionally loving daughter I might get a bag :)

Posted by: melanie at April 30, 2004 10:49 AM

"Lick 'Em Sticks (which I would never eat the sugar sticks from)."

Me either. Although I did experiment with using the stick as a normal piece of silverware. It basically sucks for all except its intended purpose. Although it could make a pudding cup last for a good half hour.

Slip-n-Slide rules! Ive got one scoped out to surprise the kids with this year. I'm putting it in the front yard - on the red clay where there's a 15 degree slope to the yard. Now THAT'S going to be fun!

Posted by: Jim at April 30, 2004 10:31 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?