It is very likely you have been in a similar scene to this. Your partner, a grownup from your family or a friend is speaking softly to one of their kids, who has just been hurt. The child cries and the adult hugs him or her and says comforting words. Later on, you tell that same person about something that has made you sad or angry and they say, “Get over it” (or for men, even “Take it like a man”).
Or maybe you watched one of your kids horsing around and decided to join in the fun, but when you returned to the grownup circle, you were faced with frowns all around and the usual “At your age, how can you be acting like a child? It’s ridiculous”.
Well, there may be people out there who can be calculated, composed and in control all the time, but I know I am not one of them. Sometimes, I want to let go and run around or scream or laugh out loud or roll down a grassy hill or ignore everything and enjoy the sun on my face. Sometimes, I also need to get attention and encouragement and to be cuddled.
Don’t get me wrong, it is OK to be grown up most of the time. It is OK to work, to clean up, to look after the kids and to be nice to my wife. But all this being-an-adult business requires energy and very often self-denial of good things and sometimes, I simply run out of resources.
In fact, I have a sneaky suspicion that most of the people around me are like that too.
Most times we can recharge our energies from the positive feedback from the people around us, through success, achievements or exciting events. Other time, it is not so easy and we need to take some action to restore our energy.
Luckily for us, we have kids! After all, who can you be a child with if not … another child? Who will accept you so readily when you do silly things or when you express your emotions? In fact, there is a good chance your kids will like you better for it.
Look at spending time with your kids like going on vacation. Stop what you are doing, grab a kid (figuratively speaking) and sit down for a while to read a kids’ book together, take a stroll around the neighborhood or build something together. But the key to getting the most out of this time is to go through it like a kid. Sit on the floor, get messy, work up a sweat and make some noise.
I have moments like this with my kids, not surprisingly just before they go to bed. Noff used to hide from us when we came to tuck her in. Being the little one, she could hide well pretty much anywhere she wanted. Ronit and I would pretend to be looking hard, until we found her and she would burst out laughing.
After a while, Eden and Tsoof wanted to join the fun, so they started “consulting” Noff and offering her better places to hide. As they were showing her those places, they started to simply stay in them and wait for us to find them too.
When it took us too long to find Noff, she would call out “You don’t know where I am” from her hiding place, just to make sure we do not leave her there forever. Eventually, this became a nightly ritual, with the kids “hiding” in plain sight and calling out “You don’t know where I am” when they were ready for bed. This already sets the mood for some fun and usually ends in tickles and lots of rolling laughter.
So when I need to be a kid for a while, what could be better than going upstairs with the kids and “hiding” too? I stand behind the curtains with my feet sticking out or lie in one of their beds with the blanket covering my head and the rest of me showing and call out “Ronit, you don’t know where I am”. Hidden in their own places, the kids giggle quietly, so as “not to be discovered”, and then Ronit comes into the room, raises the blanket or moves the curtain and calls out with a happy face “Here you are” and she hugs me and tickles me too.
If feels so good. Try it sometimes.