A few weeks ago, our three-year-old spent a good 30 hours holed up on the couch, consuming copious quantities of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Sesame Street. A bad applesauce packet led to food poisoning, which led to complete exhaustion when every ounce of his insides seemed to spill out over the course of six hours. So he took it easy, drinking apple juice and watching way more television than I’d ever readily admit to in a public space.
As Cancan watched his favorite shows and played with his favorite toys – the pizza truck, Batman and his “electric” dog-shaped guitar, in that order – and read and reread his favorite books, I realized that his childhood is being created, one show and toy and book at a time.
And it reminded me of my own childhood.
It reminded me of the 80’s, of Care Bears and Lite-Brite and Barbie’s Dream House – you know, the three-story cardboard mansion with moveable plastic elevator. I thought about the scrunchies I wore in my hair and the jelly bracelets I wore on my wrists, and all the many books I consumed as an elementary school student.
I thought about the songs we sang: the Kookaburra song on Tuesdays in music class, and “As the Deer” on Sunday mornings in church (and lest one forgets, the ever-popular and theologically horrifying, “Oh, You Can’t Get to Heaven” at summer camp).
But let me not just tell you about these memories, let me show you them instead.
First, meet my second grade self:
My favorite stuffed animals lined my bed each day, including the girl who most influenced my wardrobe choices:
I wore scrunchies and banana clips in my hair, and once I learned how to read chapter books, filled my shelves with the likes of these four friends…
And these two girls…
And, like almost every red-blooded American girl in the late 80’s, I questioned my identity and tried to pinpoint which character I was most like from this set of books:
I too watched Sesame Street, even though I eventually graduated to Reading Rainbow, Square One and 3-2-1 Contact. Our family erred heavily on the side of PBS, but Gummi Bears and Muppet Babies still topped my Saturday morning cartoon choices.
And then, every Tuesday night, I was allowed to stay up half an hour late so I could watch my favorite night time show:
Until D.J. Tanner came into my life, I considered Samantha (played by Alyssa Milano) my television best friend, the celebrity I’d most likely be voted to look like in a school-wide poll.
While I wasn’t allowed to watch Dirty Dancing (but did eventually sneak a viewing at a middle school slumber party), I begged my parents to let me watch my favorite, Adventures in Babysitting, and simultaneously hoped that TBS would be showing another rerun of my favorite sea creature:
Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, I prayed, please make me a mermaid, just like Daryl Hannah in Splash. I’ll do anything, anything I tell you. I yearned to wake up in the bathtub, orange fin beautifully transforming the lower half of my body. To each prayer warrior her own, I suppose.
And finally, there was the food we ate: Pop Rocks and Cracker Jacks, absurd amounts of All Things Jello, after I’d saved my pennies, a package of the Awesome Original, “10 Feet Mega Roll Mega Gum,” Bubble Tape:
So, let’s just make a pact, you and me: Next time I’m holed up on the couch, sick as a dog, will you mail me a care package including but not limited to any or all of the above items?
I’d appreciate it. Really, I would.
And just remember:
So, what’s in your stash of childhood memories? What was your favorite book and show, toy you cradled to your chest and food you couldn’t stop consuming? I’d love to hear! Otherwise, today’s post was inspired by the folks over at Man Crates, who ship a crate of pretty awesome stuff (and a crowbar!) to the man in your life. Be sure to check out the Old School Crate, which includes some of the food listed above.