WELL I GUESS THIS IS GROWING UP

My friend was chatting to me, but I kept being distracted by the child who was blatantly staring at me. I could see her, out of the corner of my eye, watching me, unblinking, whilst she crammed cake into her mouth with both chunky fists. Just as I was beginning to wonder if I had a bogey or something on my nose, the cupcake with it’s sprinkles and glittery frosting was finished. “CAAAAAAKE!!!!! MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMM. ME CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE.” She screamed; throwing herself against the plush pink couch giving zero cares about the sticky mess she was leaving in her wake. Oh dear, that sofa looked expensive…

“God, sometimes I wish I was that size again.” I said to my friend. “No responsibilities and absolutely zero fucks given.” That baby was not caring about the mess she was making, because she wouldn’t be the one to clear it up, and she definitely didn’t know or care about the calorific content of that first cake, and now she was chomping her way through a second cake; a bribe from her mum in a bid to calm her down and restore the cafe to the quiet before the storm. I’d be so happy if every time I cried, someone fed me a cake! That baby was living the dream, and she didn’t even know it!

All my childhood, I couldn’t wait to be ‘big’. Rounding my age up to things like, ‘seven a half’, and here I was now, in my thirties trying to pass for late twenties. The reality is that being ‘big’ is actually not as fun as children imagine it to be. For starters, there’s no seven week summer holiday, not to mention that being an adult means having bills to pay. 

Here’s the top ten things I wish I could still get away with, that children do.

1. THROWING TANTRUMS.

Some days at work, or just in general life when things are not going my way, I would like nothing more than to scream and cry and then throw myself on the floor and scream some more. You know on those days, where everything has gone wrong all day, and so you decide to go home and eat that avocado that you just bought at the supermarket, only to slice the thing open exposing black rot everywhere. ARGHHHH. Doing this as a child is not really cool, but try doing this as an adult and the best outcome is that people will laugh at you and gossip about the scene you just caused. Worst case scenario, you get arrested for disturbing the peace.

2. BEING BLUNT.

When I picked up my friends child to give her a squishy hug, she started at me intently. “Why do you have a coco pop there?” She pointed to a mole on my neck. Wow. Now know how my grandmother felt, when at the ripe age of forty five, I said to her, “Gran, sure underneath that wrinkly skin you have, there is nice shiny new skin?”. Karma is indeed a bitch. 

My friend was taking her three year old son to nursery recently, and while they were sat on the bus, he pointed at a man and loudly demanded to know “Why is that man wearing a tea towel on his head, mummy?”. My friend was mortified, but excuse the pun, hats off to the child, sometimes I too would like to know the answer to some questions and just don’t have the balls to ask.

3. NOT CARING ABOUT NUTRITIONAL VALUES AND CALORIFIC CONTENT

I remember being in school and watching from the sidelines as two kids in my class had a competition over who could eat the most Cadbury Creme Eggs in one go. Now, for the non Brits who probably don’t know what a Creme Egg is, it’s basically one of the sickliest sweets around: an egg shaped chocolate wrapped in shiny foil and filled with creamy sickly fondant filling that is supposed to resemble a raw egg. Cheering on the girl against the boy, we heckled her on as we watched her eat eight Creme Eggs in a row, one after the other. Twenty minutes later, we comforted her from a distance as we watched her regurgitate them outside the girls toilets. Try and get me to eat one Creme Egg as an adult without feeling guilty about how much sugar and calories are contained in one, never mind eight!

4. DRESSING PRACTICALLY WITHOUT A CARE FOR FASHION

There was a little girl who used to live at the top of my street. While her mum looked as sophisticated as the women featured in magazines like OK! her little girl was a tom boy through and through. With a wardrobe filled with miniature fur coats and Laura Ashley floral dresses, all she could be forced into were the same dirty pair of red wellies, (which she wanted to wear with everything, day in and day out) much to her mothers frustration. She didn’t care about her tights having grass stains on them from scouring the garden for bugs which she collected in little glass jars, affectionately giving them names like ‘Wriggly’ and ‘Leggy’ (go figure). I often think about her lackadaisical attitude to fashion, and her practical approach to clothing particularly on those days where I feel despaired over what to wear. Would little miss tom boy care that her shoes were not the exact same shade as her top? No… I don’t think she would give a single fuck.

5. NOT KNOWING WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK IT IS

Do you remember when dates were irrelevant? There was once upon a time when we didn’t know what day of the week it was, nor how to tell the time, and it didn’t even matter one bit because there was always a responsible adult around to ensure you were at the places you needed to be, at the right time without you as a child having to illicit any effort whatsoever. Now, the only people who have another adult around to take responsibility for them being at the right place, at the right time, are the important ones who hire Personal Assistants. Nowadays, I ask myself and those around me, what day of the week it is, several times a day whilst I mentally tally up the never-ending to do list of crap that I need to do before the end of that week. These tasks are as exciting as a Magnolia painted wall, and often involve things like, ‘pay phone bill’ and ‘drop off dry cleaning’. Wow, I know how to have a good time.

6. FINDING THE OPPOSITE SEX GROSS

I remember when as children, girls were disgusted by boys, and vice versa. I recall being six years old and having to hold hands with a boy in my class while we walked to along the school hallway in two by twos to the school assembly. His hands were sweaty, and he chewed his nails so short that his fingers were practically all skin. Little bitch me cried because I didn’t want to hold a boys hand and especially not his hand; I had seen him pick his nose and EAT IT – D I S G U S T I N G. Nowadays, I am consoling my friends over those grown up asshole boys who held my friends hands and then never texted them back. Would life just be so much simpler if we could act like we did when we were six? I bet there’s a few of them who still pick their nose and eat it… 

7. REIGNING IN AGGRESSION

As a child, I was a biter, as in, I liked to bite people. To this day, I don’t really recall why I had this anamalistic tendency, but whenever someone was really pissing me off, I just used to bite them – a bit like our feral rescue cat apparently. Thankfully, I grew out of this – although some people were unfortunate victims of that phase. While I don’t bite anyone who pisses me off these days, I sometimes do wish I could just hiss at them or bare my teeth or something, but just like throwing tantrums, it’s not quite socially acceptable, and so unfortunately us adults just have to suppress these feelings. 

8. BEING PROUD OF EMBARRASSING BODILY FUNCTIONS

In a bid to stay awake during a nightshift, the topic of conversation took an interesting turn. “I knew I was going to marry my wife the moment I told her straight up, ‘look, in my job, I get really gassy and I have to let it out. Are you cool with farting in front of each other?’ and she farted loudly and said, yes.” My colleague wasn’t lying; there’s a lot of wind on a jet and I’m not talking about the clouds. I thought of my little nephew who just farts really loudly and looks up, beaming, proud of that noise he just emitted; and also of my niece, who loves to entertain guests by burping them the alphabet. That kind of behaviour doesn’t generally go down well in a professional, romantic, or public environment, despite everyone indulging. 

 9. FALLING ASLEEP ON THE SOFA AND MIRACULOUSLY WAKING UP IN BED

“Go to bed, Pam.” My mum said to me. My head had been doing that thing where it’d drop and then jerk back up as I drifted in and out of a series of micro naps. Eugh… I wanted to go to bed, but I still had to remove my make up, and it was cold in the bathroom and that would wake me up. But then… chin spots. Why couldn’t I just teleport to bed and have someone magically wash off my make up for me!? And then there was the cat. He was lying on me fast asleep. We were both cosy. “In a minute…” I murmered. “You said that twenty minutes ago, Pam.” I could feel my eyelids closing as she spoke. I would have given my right arm if she could have just carried me up to my room the way she used to when I was little, back in the days when it didn’t matter if you hadn’t washed your face yet because you weren’t wearing a layer of foundation on it anyway. “You’ll hurt your neck sitting like that, Pam.” Eughhhh. Being a five foot seven grown adult was hard. 

10. LICKING THE PLATES CLEAN

Do you remember when you got your favourite ever food? And then usually, you felt like you’d hit the food lottery jackpot, because you’d been playing outside on your bike and skates all day and were naturally starving. It’d be so tasty, that you wanted to lick the plate ensuring not a scrap of sauce was wasted, and rather than get in trouble for it, everyone would just laugh, roll their eyes and exclaim, ‘someone was hungry!’. Well, as a grown adult, my stomach is bigger and it’s always hungry, however, it’s really not socially acceptable to lick the bowl of my peanut butter açai bowl, nor any other amazing dish for that matter. Everyone exclaims, “That was SO good!!!” but politely declines the last tiny leftover piece bickering back and forth like, ‘you have it!’ ‘-no, you!’ whilst internally wishing to cram it in their mouths then lick the plate clean. Instead, we all agree that we are too full, and then move on to the fight over who ‘wants’ to do the dishes. Newsflash; no-one EVER wants to do the dishes, but unlike children, its not acceptable for us to abandon the table and ‘go play’ anymore.

The list could go on and on. I mean, instead of being excited for Santa, we get excited for getting paid early so that we can afford to BE Santa. Instead of being excited to receive Chocolate Eggs at Easter, we secretly hope we don’t get any because otherwise we’ll just eat them and look like a fat lamb ready for the slaughterhouse. And instead of begging to stay up late, we are craving an early night.

Just know, that in all the aforementioned scenarios, my repressed inner child is silently sulking while thinking, ‘being grown up isn’t that fun at all’ (except for that one time on holiday when I ate ice cream for dinner and my parents couldn’t stop me! That was pretty fun!!!).

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