kids

"Why I'll treasure the simple moments": Kids remind us of the little things.

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Early last year, my two kids and I came down with the worst stomach bug at the worst possible time. We had planned a holiday interstate, but ended up having to cancel it. Instead, we spent a week housebound.

One afternoon, at the end of the week, I was filling up some water balloons when my son said, “Mum, we must be the luckiest kids in the world.”

“Why?” I asked, surprised.

“Because you fill up water balloons for us whenever we want.”

Then it hit me. I was the only one who was really upset about missing out on the holiday. My son, at that moment, was perfectly happy, because I was making him up a huge stockpile of water balloons that he could throw at his sister and me.

And at that moment, I started to really enjoy the water balloon fight too.

"I started to really enjoy the water balloon fight too." Image: iStock.

We all know it, deep down, but sometimes we forget. Kids don’t need expensive toys or trips to exotic locations to be happy. When they’re young, more than anything else, they just want their parents to spend time with them, doing the fun things that they want to do.

These simple moments are when we really connect with our kids. These are the moments that remind us why we wanted to be parents.

Last Christmas, after putting up the tree and decorating it, I went to put the empty Christmas tree box back up on its high shelf. Both my kids begged me to leave it down.

“It’s my coffin!” declared my daughter, lying down in it.

“No, I’m going to make it into a time machine!” insisted my son, trying to tip her out.

My son needed a bit of help converting the box into a time machine, so together we made a control panel, and he was all set to go. Sure, there was a little bit of disappointment when he realised the machine couldn’t actually transport him back to the era of the dinosaurs, but he spent ages playing in it. He’d ask me to join him on his trips through time, and I’d cling to the edge of the box, trying not to fall into the whirling vortex below.

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We have some great playgrounds near where we live, but mostly we hang out in our own backyard. My kids enjoy “mining”, which involves us digging random holes in the lawn (my husband has come to refer to them as “dad traps”).

My son stops every few minutes to pull out a stone or a stick, and declare it a “dinosaur bone”.

“How much do you think the museum will pay me for this?” he always wants to know.

“Well, if it’s a real dinosaur bone…” I begin.

“Oh, it is.”

“…then probably a million dollars.”

“Yes!”

"My daughter loves rubbing butter into flour." Image: iStock.

We also bake a bit. (To give you an idea of our standards, when I see those “Pinterest fails”, I often think they look quite good.)

My son will carefully measure out the flour or sugar or milk in a cup, then somehow manage to spill half the cup outside the bowl. It still always turns out to be “the best cake ever”, in his unbiased opinion.

My daughter loves rubbing butter into flour, so we make recipes where she gets to do that (a lot of jam drops). Her other favourite thing is to experiment with bottles of food colouring, making icing in lurid shades of purple and orange, then slathering cakes and biscuits with it.

Throwing water balloons, making time machines out of boxes, digging holes, baking cakes and biscuits… nothing complicated, nothing expensive, just us having fun together.

This is the kind of stuff that childhood memories are made of, for them and for me.

What are the best memories you have with your family?

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