I remember clearly the day I realised I had “lost” my imagination. We were playing Little House on the Prairie with our neighbours and I just couldn’t feel it. Suddenly days and weeks stretched ahead of me and I wondered how on earth you fill them when you no longer “play.” What did adults do all day? Or more importantly what did a 12 year girl do?
I started to cook. Every weekend I would make chocolate cake, pizza, lunch for everyone. It took a few months to enjoy it and not feel that my life was so empty all of a sudden.
It is interesting seeing my own children reach that stage. With Hannah she was able to dovetail her interests of writing and movie making nicely into the spaces left as she grew away from make believe. Her friends enjoyed movie making, they could still dress up, write, pretend, but in a practical way.
Still it can be a problem for her when with friends – what shall we do they ask?
Last weekend her friend Eliza was sat a the table and together they wrote a list of possible activities. They played music together, went for a bike ride, watched a movie, but mostly they baked!
It was funny – Hannah does not normally like cooking, whereas Eliza is a whizz in the kitchen. It brought back my own early teen feelings of – “what do we do?”
What a treat for me though! On Friday they made these gorgeous cupcakes, iced. I was celebrating spring with my first outdoor bath of the season, lying there under the stars and moon, the fire underneath glowing in the still night… When Hannah arrives with a cup of tea and a cupcake! Perfect magic moment!
Then the next day they made pastry and said they were making fruit/jam tarts. I said as the oven was on I wanted to make bread. We`ll do that they said! And they proceeded to make a loaf of bread, a tray of wedges for lunch and even whipped up some hummus I was going to do! Plus the tarts.
So I got to stay in the garden all morning and not go near the kitchen, they even did dishes!
This only reminds me how short a time childhood is and how important play is for younger children.
And how important a skill cooking is! I shall encourage it no end I think…..