MUSINGS Feeding my inner child


Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

I CLICKED on a video online last week where one person from three generations of the same family were each asked what they enjoyed most about being a child.
The eldest, grandparents in their 80s, talked about picking blueberries, growing vegetables and going fishing. All nature-based activities.
Their children, now themselves parents, spoke about hide and seek, building forts and playing baseball were cited as the most fun activities. All pretty standard by my opinion.
The video takes a worrying turn when young children are asked about their favourite things to do for fun nowadays. The first child said ‘video games’. Another said, ‘I like to go on my phone, text, email’. A teen smiled with glee and announced that he once watched 23 episodes of a TV series in less than three days.
It got me thinking about my own childhood, which was spent outdoors (before I went through my ice-cream addiction … one tub of honeycomb a day … it wasn’t pretty).
My early days were full of mischief. You know, collecting frogs from the cattle grid at the holiday homes’ playground, stuff like that.
We loved building tree houses anywhere that was left idle. At one stage, myself and the neighbours seriously toyed with the idea of completely moving out of home and taking up residence in one of our constructions.
In one such huddle of trees, we even had a funeral for a dead cat. We didn’t know the cat or anything, he was dead on the road, but we thought he deserved a ‘dignified’ burial in the neighbour’s garden, where said tree house had been fashioned.
It got me thinking about all the fun stuff kids are missing out on these days while they swipe through their parents’ phones and play on their tablets.
I spend my time on these pages torturing my poor Pops about his technological woes, but now I’m thinking it’s only a matter of time before my nieces are making fun of me. The  female roomie was asked to ‘take a selfie’ recently, and I’ve been told my choice of music isn’t great.
While babysitting one of my nieces who was home from Dubai recently, I grew bored of Peppa and her exploits. I decided we should make a blanket fort. I hadn’t built one in years (I promise). I think I got more out of the exercise than my niece.
Once we’d made the fort, I was brought down to reality with a bang though. ‘No auntie Ciara, you’re not allowed in, you’re too big’. Imagine that! I wouldn’t mind, but I really have cut down on honeycomb ice-cream.  
My brother and sister-in-law rolled around laughing when they discovered their sitting room had been turned into a series of tunnels using kitchen chairs and blankets.
“Who’s minding who here?” my brother laughed, adding, “She sees you as her peer Ciara.” The joke’s on him now though: He has to stock up on blankets in a country that has a daily average temperature of 36 degrees.
Still, I think that instead of taking a mindfulness course or doing meditation, I may set aside time each week to build a blanket fort, or perhaps a tree house. Turns out rediscovering your inner child is more comforting than Ben & Jerry’s. Almost.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old trying to get used to living away from her parents.