Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another Brief for the Continued Existence of Childhood

The main things E seems to be learning at Farm Camp are Cat's Cradle and an arsenal of clapping games. She is delighted that I know Cat's Cradle and can teach her what to do with every configuration of string (though, alas, I seem to have forgotten the solo version where you end up with the witch's hat). And, in the absence of other children at home, S and I must spend hours every evening playing all varieties of clapping games with all varieties of rhymes (including the one about "I don't care" and "your stinky underwear," which she only whispered once, because it isn't nice).

This is folklore come to life, people, and it's happening unaided and unassisted amongst a random bunch of seven year olds, brought together only by Farm Camp. The girls do it, the boys do it, E does it in the backseat during carpool, with a slightly older boy and girl. Then I drop her off and within moments she's under a tree with her gang, you guessed it, playing Cat's Cradle or clapping games. Every day there's a new version or variation, and Disney has nothing to do with it (though the newly discovered Disney Radio is often playing in the background, at least during carpool).

As always, I do wonder if we are self-selecting for communities where children are children. Certainly sending your kids to Farm Camp is the province of an upper-middle-class progressive (white, as I mentioned before) echelon, but it's not just the ex-hippies (that would be us). There are also clearly lots of rich business types, as evidenced by the cars and clothes (fascinating disjunction between the moms in their tank tops and capris and floaty skirts--that would be me--and the moms in full-out country club gear--that would be the other ones--though S and I did decide on Family Night that probably 90% of the Farm Camp moms do yoga--that would be me and them--albeit for the diverse reasons that constitute yoga's current popularity amongst our echelon). At any rate, those rich business types? Take my word for it, because I know them: their houses are full of WIIs, and their cars full of DVD players, and their kids are overscheduled--and they still play Cat's Cradle and clapping games.

I tell you: childhood lives.

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