Whatever happened to the outdoor childhood?
My children are outdoorsy. I’m such a meanie that they’re only allowed a specific amount of iPad time on 3 specific days of the week.
This may lead to them going to the opposite end of the spectrum as soon as they’re old enough to be free of my eagle eye, but I’m hoping that the fact we spend time encouraging creativity and pursuing hikes, swims, picnics, dog-walking and nature-based adventure, will pay off long-term. I’ve always felt this way, but since reading research that suggests that particular links are never formed in the brains of infants these days who are brought up by screens as opposed to parental attention, I’ve at least felt scientifically – as well as common-sensically – justified.
I look back to my own 80’s childhood, filled with dirt and grazes and mischief, and I simply can’t stand the idea of my kids being raised in front of a screen. Only yesterday I was discussing this with friends. When I was a kid, from the age of 5 – 8, I lived in Denmead, a rural area. My grandad owned a pub called The Fox and Hounds and my parents and I lived in the flat above it. I spent my days there playing in fields, ditches, going over the handlebars of my BMX on homemade ramps, and strolling to the village shops. Given that we moved when I was 8, that’s not bad going.
However, these days, which of us would allow our kids to roam like this, at such an age? Not me. Partly because we live in a city, partly because we live in different times. Subsequently, my husband and I have encouraged dirt, garden mud kitchens, and as much of the great outdoors as we possibly can. We holiday on The Lizard in Cornwall, our kids do roam the farmland where we stay with the children who live there, and they spend their days knee-deep in rock pools, covered in sea weed, and with not a television or telephone in sight. It seems the best we can do in the 21st century. But somehow, it still never feels quite good enough.
We live in different times – but not necessarily better ones.
And whilst on the subject of 80s’ childhoods, who remembers these beauties… ?!
I spend a fair amount of my life repeating the mantra, ‘it could only happen to me’.
Get locked into the garden and have to scale an 8-foot wall to drop over the other side, hitching up one’s top and exposing a mound of mummy-belly to passing school children? Tick.
Have a handbag stolen in Nice that contains all car keys and payment methods, then spend an enforced month travelling around Europe whilst waiting for the mess to get sorted out? Tick.
Waddle around Tesco, 8 months massively pregnant, in maternity shorts, only to return to the car and discover that one entire pocket covering one entire bottom cheek has ripped away? Tick
Receive a round-robin text from youngest child’s school informing parents that a rabbit has been rescued by them from underneath a car and that they are keeping it safe until it is claimed. Oops.
Return home at 4.30pm and ask eldest daughter to release the bunnies, laughingly suggesting that she check they’re there, and then presume she’s winding you up when she chirrups back that nope, one is missing.
Experience dawning horror that said escapee is either safe and nesting in youngest’s school, or, this is a hideous coincidence and we have a bunny missing in action.
Grab rabbit-receptacle and run, in flip flops, with offspring, to the school, and have it confirmed that Lana Del Rey, the Lush family rabbit, was discovered under Amelie’s teacher’s car (!) in the road (!) at 8am that morning. Four staff members plus a broom had to coax her out, and she spent the day in a state of blissed out pamperment once the shock had subsided.
Subsequently, this is huge thank you to the higher powers of utter coincidence, and also to the marvelous Rabbit Rescue staff at my daughter’s school. So, to Ms Banister the Broom Wielder, to Mrs Boiling the car owner (that did not squash my rabbit), to Mrs Campbell, Mrs Anderson and Mrs Lathem, thank you! Lana is now safe in her hutch and run, and the perimeters are being checked on an hourly basis.
Football Violence: hurting fellow human beings for a lump of inflated leather on grass?
I know little about football. This has nothing to do with my having ovaries and being of the female persuasion, and everything to do with my finding it as much fun as the times when I had to unclog the upstairs loo during my youngest’s faze of ‘flush an entire toilet roll’ when she was two.
I do, however, deign to watch football (my kindness knows no bounds, Mr Lush), and have subsequently picked up on the violence at Euro 2016.
Unless these halfwits simply use football as an excuse for violence, then I simply don’t get it. Inflicting violence is anathema to me, but doing so because of a lump of inflated leather on grass seems beyond baffling.