When I think of my sons' childhood, it is largely populated with plastic toys marked "Fisher Price", a fine company and the source of many hours of enjoyment. I've already told you about the pirate ships and castles which will outlive all of us and may, someday, make it out of my attic and into homes of their own. But I wonder if they missed out on something. Most kids today are proficient at computers and video games, and can program an iPod, an iPad, and the Space Shuttle from the age of three on, but given a long summer afternoon with an electrical outage I wonder what they would do. The pace of "Sesame Street" and life in general has produced a generation that is not very good at doing nothing. Or at doing something simple and non-electronic. There were the occasional "forts" made out of kitchen chairs and bed sheets (mostly when Auntie Lynnie babysat), but not a lot of going into the back yard (or "back of the 'ard" as Son Number One called it rather endearingly) to just "hang out". I'm rather sorry about that. Oh, they read like fiends and even wrote their own books but I don't remember a single over-sized cardboard box in their entire life that wasn't dutifully taken apart and recycled on trash day.
One of my favorite pictures of Son Number Two has him lying on his back in the middle of a field, legs casually crossed, arms under his head, and just staring at the sky watching the kites. He wasn't worried about dirt, bugs, or dog poop. He was enjoying the tickle of the grass and the colors darting across the ridiculously blue sky. I don't know about you, but I think that sounds like a brilliant idea. And I think I know where to find a kite!