A few days ago my 16 month old nephew peered into the fridge and pointed at some leftover birthday cake as his choice for breakfast. My little sister reflected back and remembered that our mom used to let us eat cake for breakfast, so she decided to carry on that decision. It caused me to think back on some of the things my siblings and I used to do when we were kids. Some things were harmless pleasures like cake for breakfast, or seeing who could spit the cherry pits the farthest across the kitchen. (My mom was pretty indulgent of our childish antics!) Other things would no longer be considered safe, or even legal. It made me wonder how so many of us who grew up in the age before seat belts and bike helmets made it through childhood unscathed, or at least mostly intact!
One thing I remember doing on several occasions with 2 of my brothers was taking turns "riding" in the dryer. One of us would climb inside while the others closed the door, and turned it on. Round and round we would tumble. At the time we thought we were so cool, now I'm amazed we didn't end up on the evening news. (Pretty sure mom didn't know we were doing this!) We also enjoyed mounting a plastic sled and riding it down the stairs, with the wall at the end of the hallway to stop us. And who could forget tying a tube or old slip-and-slide onto the back of the car and sliding around the neighborhood on a cold, winter night?
How about riding around while lying in the back window of the car? I remember riding through Canada that way (though the memory is a little fuzzy as I may have had a concussion at the time...but that's another story...remind me to tell you about jumping on the tent someday!)
We also had some stellar babysitters that provided the highest level of care. I remember my teenage aunt babysitting us one night, and literally sitting on us, because she said that's what she'd been hired to do. Another sitter dared my brother to eat a worm. He fried it up, slathered it in ketchup, and consumed the worm. Yet another sitter (funny, they didn't seem to come back more than once...) kept us amused by launching us off of his feet through the air and into the mattress he'd propped up against the wall. You'd be surprised how high a six year old will go.
Sometimes I worry my kids are missing out. They've never ridden in a car without being properly strapped into their seat, never felt the exhilaration of their face hitting the wall at the end of the stairway, and never slid around behind a car at 40mph with the snow blowing through their hair. They have however, had cake for breakfast!