I’m finally almost finished cleaning up the Christmas aftermath and working my way through the mountains of extra calories strewn around the house, and I feel the yearly burden of stuff. While I’m struggling to close overstuffed drawers and trying to think straight through my sugar coma, I have noticed that my two young kids run around the house with the same freedom and release that they always have. They don’t seem to be experiencing the January down-ness that I notice in many of my adult friends. While reading the same story for the millionth time with a child under each arm I looked down at their contented faces and realized that their secret is Simple.
They live simply and fully.
I watched them over several days and I think I have unravelled some tiny elements of their secret. Here’s some childhood wisdom that I had forgotten:
The box is best.
Every parent knows that kids love the boxes toys come in as much as the toys themselves, but I tried to play with the kids and their boxes to try to understand why the cardboard holds so much allure. In one day the box has been a car, a baby bed, a garbage truck and there is a rumour that later it will be a dog cage. “This is my box and I made it my toy,” says my son. He takes pride in a toy that wasn’t made for him, but that he invented. “I like box,” says my daughter. Admittedly less articulate, but still cute.
More of you. Less from you.
“Do you want to open your new Play-doh while I make dinner? Where’s your new truck? Did you play with the new doll clothes yet?” The response to each question was the same. “Can you play with us?” They don’t care what toys we use, as long as we use them together. They are too young to want to hide in their own world with private devices. In their world, books, toys, walks, even computers and television, all of them are for sharing. They just want to be together.
Eat just enough.
Neither child made a resolution to eat less or exercise more. They didn’t need to because their philosophy is the same whatever the season; when I’m hungry, I want to eat and when I’m full I stop eating. It’s simple and healthy, but so hard to hang on to as an adult.
Everyone is funny.
These kids don’t have hang-ups about people. Each interaction with someone is like its own event. When someone smiles, they smile. Their threshold for laughter is low and they will burst out in giggles with little effort on the other person’s behalf. The same jokes are funny every time, and anyone can make them laugh.
I probably won’t bother making a New Year’s Resolution, especially since January is almost over. Instead I think I will just try to pay more attention to what my kids are teaching me:
Throw away the extraneous.
Throw yourself into things completely.
And at the end of the day, throw yourself into bed and let it go.
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