It seems that a lot of us are trying to recapture our childhoods lately.
I think I get it. It’s not just a longing to return to a time of no responsibility, fun and friends. It’s also about returning to a more innocent time, a time when things weren’t quite as complicated for either kids or adults.
What exactly that means depends largely on one’s generational membership. The definition of “a simpler time” is bound to be vastly different for millennials than it is for baby boomers. And when it comes to my octogenarian parents, it seems we are talking about something else altogether.
My mother cites A Christmas Story and The Book Thief as movies that accurately depict the way kids were treated in the 1930s and 1940s. Elementary school teachers were the schoolmarms of folklore who grabbed you by the collar and yelled in your face and who regularly meted out the punishment of mandating that miscreants write the same sentence over and over again on the blackboard. I have difficulty understanding why anyone would want to return to such treatment, but I do realize that it is a matter of perspective.
Even as a child of the sixties, my understanding of the age of innocence bears no resemblance to my 18 year old niece’s concept thereof. Just tonight, on American Idol, Ryan Seacrest announced a return to the days when “the hashtag was just called pound.”
Oy, you’re making me feel old, Ryan. When I was growing up, before the age of the touch tone telephone keypad, it was called “the number sign.” And when I was really young, my elementary school compadres and I simply referred to the symbol as “the tic-tac-toe board.”
I suppose it was inevitable that smart entrepreneurs would cash in on the desire to explore our inner child or go back in time to the halcyon days of our youth. Still, I found it a bit jarring when I read an article in The New York Times today about how coloring books for adults are a hot commodity. Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford has released “Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest,” the first two in a series of adult coloring books. Her publisher, Laurence King, hasn’t been able to keep them in stock; ample press runs keep getting sold out.
No one would have guessed the popularity of adult coloring books, which may be explained at least partially by the calming influence that they are supposed to exert upon holders of the magic crayon. Hence, Chiquita Publishing has come out with a series of Zen-themed adult coloring books that promise “easy meditation through coloring.”
I wonder if I should buy stock in Crayola.
Adult coloring books are nothing, though. Wait til you hear about… adult pre-school!
We refer to the pre-school that my two year old grandniece attends as “day care.” So I’m glad that I (barely) avoided the gaffe of referring to adult pre-school as “adult day care,” which apparently is something else entirely.
So if you have money to burn, live in New York City and wish to relive the days of finger paint, show and tell, dress-up and nap time on a hard cot, you can be four years old again in Brooklyn, thanks to Preschool Mastermind, the creation of Michelle Joni Lapidos and her teaching assistant, Miss CanCan (Candice Kilpatrick).
It’s too bad that free, universal preschool pretty much runs out its statute of limitations around the age of five. For those of us who exceed that age by a few decades or more, preschool will run you $333 to $999, and that doesn’t even include the cost of such essentials as arts and crafts supplies, snacks and field trips.
Apparently, indulging in a second childhood isn’t as cheap as it used to be.