Some of you will be going or will have been away for the Easter Holidays. And will no doubt be trying this interesting but informative experiment?
“Hey honey we’re going away at the weekend why don’t you try packing your case with all the things you think you’ll need……like a big boy.” No, I’m not talking to my husband I’m talking to my 8-year-old son getting ready for just his second overnighter away from the family.
The next part is to just leave them to pack their own suitcase (the son, not the husband…..I’m not mad) and you’ll find interesting things will happen. None of which will in any way contribute to you being able to leave the house any time soon.
A little depiction of Louis on his way to rugby tour this Easter. complete with beloved Blue Bear!
In that intervening twenty minutes or so when they emerge with a fully – fit to burst – suitcase asking ‘I’ve done it can I watch TV now.’ That suitcase can provide a rare and unique insight into your child’s personality at that particular moment.
What will be contained in said case might just be something like this.
1. Favourite cuddly toy
2. More cuddly toys to keep the other toys company or because you don’t want them to feel left out.
3. Favourite books – not current ones but older you used to read when they were younger
4. Assorted ornaments or bric-a-brac like that slightly grubby second-hand toy you bought from the charity shop about six months just to keep them quiet.
5. A picture, possibly framed from their bedroom wall. Mini experiment; offer them a picture of mummy and daddy or the dog and…. well, you already know don’t you.
It can be a lovely infuriating moment before those grown-up practicalities of food, shelter and warmth and the i-phone kick in.
I was thinking about this during a long, protracted, and emotional, discussion about why 7 cuddly toys were just too many for two nights when it struck me that kids at that age are packing emotionally rather than practically. They’ve yet to see the label, or the price, or the practicalities of anything, only that bizarre sometimes random set of objects that mean something to them. That reminds them most of that safe and special place they call home. For you, it’s two nights away (ooh and possibly a meal and a conversation with your significant other) but for them, it’s desert island discs time, not quite forever, but a long long time.
This might be a bit of a tenuous link but that’s one of the challenges, the mystery and the brilliance about designing things for kids. Their decisions are so pure so unencumbered by anything else.
That’s the challenge how to make something that along with cuddly toys and the odd bit of bric-a-brac that might just make it into that small overnight – suitcase….. what a five-star review that would be.
Have a great Easter everyone.
N.B. I was talking another parent about this and they told me how their son had said he wanted to pack mummy and daddy in a suitcase and take them with him. For about 2 minutes this sounded quite cute until I found out the son was 23!