Ever see the movie Freaky Friday where a mother and her daughter swap lives and each gets a taste of what the other one goes through? I used to enjoy this movie, but as the mom of a preteen daughter, the thought of going back to that age frightens me. Too much angst, to many mini-dramas, and way too many hormones. However, sometimes I look over at my 8-year-old son and think that it would be fascinating to get inside his brain for a little while. From my observations, these are some of the lessons I believe I would learn if I was playing by his rulebook.
When life has got you down, climb a tree and your perspective will change. Life on the ground hands you lemons – a sister picking on you, homework, and chores. When you are up in the highest branches, the wind is in your hair, you are the king of the playground, and you can barely hear your mother begging you to climb down carefully. It is a great vantage point.
There are few problems that cannot be made better with ice cream, cookies, and/or cuddles.
When in doubt, act out. Wouldn’t it be easier if all of the world’s problems could be solved by calling someone a poopy head and then moving on with your day? What if stomping around the house and moping for 5 or 10 minutes could balance the checkbook? There is far less rumination and holding grudges when you are a kid.
You need not agonize about preparing a nutritious meal or trying a new recipe. Does the meal involve bread, cheese, or something in nugget format? If yes, then we are all set.
Bathroom humor is the best thing ever.
Fear is not an issue. When you are a grown up, you have enough common sense to fear certain things – a huge roller coaster, a plane flight, diving into the deep end of a swimming pool. At the age of 8, you do not let fear get in the way of anything. My kid will scale to the top of a rock wall, go on a death-defying roller coaster, or sled down a steep hill and not give it a second thought. I do not even like to go to my basement at night.
If you do not like the rules in the game of life, change them. I cannot tell you how many times I am confused because I thought I had one of his quirks figured out, only to be told that it is no longer the case. You can like every part of the pizza except the crust one day and like everything except the cheese the next day. Bedtimes are flexible if you need one more sip of water or one more hug. Everything is subject to change and everyone else just has to come around to your idea.
Unfortunately, there is no time machine to take me back to third grade. However, there are some things I can incorporate into my day-to-day life. Maybe I can be a little more carefree and fearless. Maybe I can stop agonizing over certain decisions. Though I will not be physically climbing a tree any time soon, a fresh perspective is a good thing and something we can all benefit from.