How To Turn an Adult Into a Child

Care nothing about getting food all over your clothes, what are washing machines for? Sit on the grass anyway, a damp and dirty bum isn’t so bad when you are up and moving. Mud on your knees, so what? Take a big drink of water and swish it all around the inside of your mouth then open the sluice gates of the few teeth you have and let it all roll down your chin and neck and laugh and laugh and laugh. Touch everything: stones and grass and soil and leaves and twigs and thorns and benches and ropes and flowers and bushes and bicycles. Put things in your mouth that don’t belong there but make sure to spit them out, eventually. Find some wriggly worms and let them wiggle all over your hands. Do the same with snails, poke their horns. Take your shoes off and blacken the soles of your feet. Get dirt in your toenails. Slide down a wet slide and scream for help when you get stuck halfway because the rain has put the brakes on its slidiness. Chase a seagull. Hide behind a bed of pampas grass, then run and ambush him and wonder why he keeps getting away. Wish you too could fly. When you find something that amuses you – like throwing stones in the air – do it over and over and over again. Stare at people; examine them as closely as you want, then get bored with them and shamelessly move onto the next person or thing that takes your fancy. Find a noise you like making and make it, watch how it makes people laugh, how it turns the adult into a child as they join in with blubbery lip sounds. Tear at the leaves of the dying strawberry plant, rail against seasonality and desperately want some of those delicious red squishy things that used to grow there. Shove the strawberry into your mouth when mum smuggles one into the plant for you to find. Rub avocado into your hair. Rouge your cheeks with sweet potato. Put tins of beans in the washing machine. Pull all the shoes off the rack at the back door and discover they think it’s funny if you try on dad’s and fall over after one step. Perfect the bum shuffle when you are tired and then work out that it actually uses up more energy than walking. Push anyone away who tries to clean your nose, it’s your snot. Placate them by playing peekaboo even though you’re not quite sure who’s laughing at who. Limbo dance your way out of the pushchair before the safety bar has been pulled up then scream when you get your head stuck. Avoid the camera like you’re a Hollywood starlet and they’re the annoying paparazzi. Show them your shaky hip dancing. Bite any finger that tries to check out your new molar, none of their business. Share your croissant, nobody’s going to take you up on it as it has been in and out of your mouth along with the woodchip from the playpark. Hold on tight to the handles of the scooter, let Dad do all the pushing and steering while you perfect your, “I know, right” look to the other kids whose parents tell them they’re not old enough yet to have one. Tripping does not embarrass you, nor does a face plant. Have no worries whatsoever. What pandemic? What election? What climate crisis? Life is extraordinary. Never cry, except when they leave, that way they’ll be sure to come back.

2 thoughts on “How To Turn an Adult Into a Child

  1. A life deeply connected to young ones, you notice and appreciate. I bet they love to see you coming. An adult who is tuning in and maybe up for playing? Lucky kids!

    Liked by 1 person

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