Dreams where you can fly and naptime aren’t the only things that melt into memories when you reach adulthood.
While you can’t get away with throwing fists-on-the-floor temper tantrums or a sea of stuffed animals on your bed, (unless you’re cool with being creepy) there are some things I feel we have every right to bring back from our youth.
1. Forts. When did it stop being cool to read underneath a blanket hooked from couch to coffee table? What could be more cozy than creating a blatant hiding spot in your own home?
2. Tiny boxes of cereal, especially the naughty kind. I’ve never stopped thinking Apple Jacks are amazing. It’s time to ditch the Kashi and go full-on Fruit Loops! (The tiny boxes will make you feel less guilty anyway.)
3. Trampolines. I know, I know, we’re all over the weight limit. We’ll bend the springs and break bones, but bouncing didn’t stop being a blast just because it comes with some jiggle now.
4. Slip N’ Slides. Avoid the jiggle of bouncing and just slide your way to full-blown embarrassment. You’re going to end up in the grass, but really, why is getting dirty such a big hairy deal now?
5. Fluffernutters. One simple mention of this gooey deliciousness had my brothers, mother and myself determined to buy a big jar of Fluff during the next trip to the grocery store. Feel guilty about ALL that sugar? It has a shelf life of like three million years, so just dip into it every once and awhile and know you’ll be set for the apocalypse.
6. Dress-up. On Halloween, the vast majority of adult women dress like whores. I imagine part of the reason why is because they’ve been storing up the innate desire to play dress-up for decades and all they have left is the desperate desire to look hott. Why can’t we don a tutu in the middle of a week when we’re feeling girlie or a cape when we feel ambitious?
7. Exploring. I have been battling an urge to pull on my tall boots and go traipsing in the woods behind my house for a year now. There are coyotes and deer and rattlesnakes and rabbits and I WANT TO FIND THEM. (Okay, maybe not the rattlesnakes)
8. Painting. I suck at painting, but when you sit me down next to my 4 year old and we’re going head-to-head, I’m the frickin’ Vermeer of watercolor.
9. Passing notes. Can you imagine how thrilled you’d be if someone at work had something hilariously naughty to say and chose to write it in a little note, folded up like a little origami, slipped sneakily onto your desk? If they included the check, “yes”, “no” or “maybe” they would instantly become the coolest co-worker ever.
10. Roller skating. Google Computer Love by Zapp & Roger. Now, turn it up. Now, picture the disco ball, the sound of those skates on the wood and then feel the rumble of the tile as you head to get a soda and some churros. Tell me, you don’t want to be able to pull this off still.
I was born in the 80’s. I grew up in the 90’s. So, what the heck do you call the now’s?
Here’s a quick comparison of the quintessential 80’s toys I remember and what the kids are playing with these days.
1) Popples. Pointless, partially pink, nebulous creatures that you can whip into ball-shaped pink, nebulous creatures.
Today’s version: The Furby. Owl rapes hamster and gives birth to a creature that speaks a made up language so your child will learn absolutely nothing.
2) Tabletop Donkey Kong. Donkeys mysteriously find an endless stockpile of barrels in a jungle in order to thwart attacks by crocodiles.
Today’s version: Angry Birds. Use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs. Because that makes so much sense.
3) Cabbage Patch Dolls: Creepy, cuddly dolls that resemble the girl from Poltergeist and have hard heads that make them perfect weapons when battling big brothers.
Today’s version: Monster High Dolls: Slutty, zombie chicks that look like futuristic strippers. Won’t hurt brothers. Scare adults.
4) The Rubik’s Cube: Spend hours being frustrated so your parents can have some peace.
Today’s version: Leap Pad. Little battery-operated mind suck.
5) Roller Racer: Awkward death trap on wheels.
Today’s version: A Mercedes… for kids. Whose bright idea was this? I know, let’s give reckless, uncoordinated people who are 10 years from getting a license a much smaller, plastic car and let them hit the road.
6) Lite Brite: Most obvious choking and fire hazard ever marketed to children.
Today’s version: Anything made in China that could contain lead, which is everything made in China.
7) Barbie: Inhuman body type, white blonde hair and a permanently surprised look.
Today’s version: Inhuman body type, now available with pink hair and tattoos.
There should be a guide to surviving children’s television shows. I know I couldn’t write it. I get so sick of the characters asking me questions.
When we were children, Bugs Bunny didn’t grill us. “What’s up doc?” was rhetorical. Asking questions to your invisible audience doesn’t work, at least not on my kidlets. They both stare stone-faced when Mickey asks them a question. It could be, “What’s your name?” and I swear I can see drool drip from daughter’s chin during the 10 seconds of silence that follows.
In order to get by, my husband and I have employed a technique that’s sure to bite us in the ass someday when our kids overhear and start repeating it. We intentionally mishear song lyrics and catch phrases.
If you watch Super Why, you know they are constantly shouting enthusiastically, “To the book club!” Now, watch again and see if it actually sounds more like, “To the butt plug!”
On one episode of Tinga Tinga, there’s a Jamaican sounding turtle that says, almost clear as day, “Gimme that f&*ing gun!” Yeah, I know that’s not what he says but we can’t actually figure out what he’s really saying … so we just go with it.
You can also try to spot and/or point out the enormous failures of your kid’s favorite shows. My husband noted that Handy Manny only has four fingers on each hand. Not very handy.
Why are all of the animals on The Octonauts animals, except for Turnip. Why the hell is there a talking turnip on that submarine?
I’ll never understand Blue’s Clues. No matter how many times they change the host, he always seems like a serial killer.
The kids on Barney are terrifying. They’re like Stepford kids, all plastic and cheerful. Let’s not get started on the bad lip syncing on that show.
Even Sesame Street isn’t the same. I miss Barkley. I want more Grover. And Elmo is an annoying little shit. Even my daughter can’t determine if he’s a boy or a girl. She assumes girl, what with that heinous high-pitched voice.
But, the show that makes me want to turn to drink is Barbie. My daughter discovered “Barbie Shorts” on Netflix and it’s the most mind-sucking, brain-polluting garbage you’ve ever seen. Ken is clearly gay, which means we could be tight, but he’s definitely not feeling Barbie. Barbie manages to pull off complicated parties despite being a vacuous moron. And they decided to give Barbie an arch nemesis who is a slutty looking brunette who probably works nights at Mons Venus. (Because brunettes are obviously inferior and trashy in Barbie world)
Here’s the rub: Once your children graduate to movies where they can finally sit still and you’re super excited to watch incredible effects in Wall-E or get sucked into the storyline in Rango, you get to the end, feeling satisfied … until your toddler says, “LET’S WATCH IT AGAIN!”