A Free Pass

People always talk about how they miss their childhood and wish they were kids once again.

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While my childhood was relatively normal and I have no complaints other than the fact that my mom let me crimp my hair and dress up like “Blossom” on a daily basis, I wouldn’t want to go back to the elementary school days at all.

I like being able to make my own decisions, my own food, my own money and go anywhere without asking permission. Minus the whole “work and bills” thing, I think being an adult is much preferable to being a child.

But there are a couple things that I do miss—the lack of responsibility, the innocence of first experiences, and most importantly, the free stuff. Because when you’re a kid, people will give you things to make you happy and reward you for doing the very things you should be doing anyway.

For example, being a no-cavity kid was one of my greatest claims when I was little. I was—and still am—slightly obsessed with oral hygiene, and while I can’t be  sure what my motivation was at the time, I’m 98.2 percent certain that it had something to do with getting my Polaroid picture on their “No Cavity Kid” wall, picking a cheap plastic toy out of the toy chest and stocking up on free stickers and floss.

As an adult this distinction is no longer special. I don’t get my picture on a wall, but instead get the bill and a reminder to floss.  This follows an hour of poking and prodding in my mouth with sharp metal objects while asking me questions and making conversation, all the while knowing full well I am in no position to answer with their hands shoved in my mouth.

Sidenote: I still try, just to piss them off. Appointments can take an extra 20 minutes if only because I make them stop so I can tell them exactly what I have been up to since the last time I was in. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. 

The same goes for the doctor. Going in for a routine checkup used to result in fun things like pencils and stickers and Band-Aids shaped like Crayola crayons or covered in superheroes.

Now I’m forced to wait in the exam room for half an hour, which apparently turns me into a kleptomaniac.  My impatience/annoyance will cause me to start going through drawers to stock up on things I can fit into my purse—latex gloves, tongue depressors, a few of the stickers that are no longer offered to me.

Sidenote: If you ever want the doctor to hurry up and come into your exam room, start going through the drawers and taking latex gloves, tongue depressors and stickers. It’s a surefire way to guarantee they will walk in at that exact moment.

Holiday cards used to contain money that you didn’t need then but that you could most certainly use now, suckers and candy were handed out at banks and on the occasion of a classmate’s birthday and you could take as many samples at the store without security following you around like some type of criminal.

Score one for childhood.

But I still think being an adult is much preferable to being a child. After all, as a kid I could only write catty notes in a journal about people who ticked me off.

As an adult? I can blog.

Score one for maturity.

This post was in response to the RemembeRED prompt to use the image above for your inspiration. It’s probably not what they were looking for, but then again, they’re not giving out free stickers to those who participate, so I went my own way once again.

What do you miss about your childhood?

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37 responses to “A Free Pass

  1. I still ask for a finger puppet when I go for my weekly blood tests. They always laugh like I’m joking.

  2. Free stuff was absolutely awesome! Most of the time you didn’t even have to ‘do’ anything to get it. Just existing in your littleness was apparently reason enough for rewards! Granted they were sometimes weird things that grandmother found in a garage sale, but quite often it panned out well.

    And ditto on the appreciation of the adult perk of blogging. Score!

    Hopefully later today I will get to a post on the RembeRED prompt. I thought I would this morning, but I got too caught up in the changes in climate. (http://firstsiptonightcap.blogspot.com/2011/09/september-morn.html)

    Enjoy your Labor Day!

  3. I totally dressed like Blossom every day. Large flowered hat and all.

  4. I miss walking uptown with Mom and sis for orange-aids at the drugstore. And sleepovers at Nana’s house most every Friday night.
    I miss running around and playing softball with the boys in my apartment complex (severe occupational asthma has ended those days). And I miss the ability to eat whatever I wanted without thought.

  5. Loren Larry Hirt

    What do you miss about your childhood?

    I miss our daily whiffleball games in our backyard, which pissed off certain childless neighbors because our yard was unmistakably a ballpark more than a yard. I miss trying to get hitters to chase pitches out of the strike zone with sliders only feasible with a whiffleball. And I miss being handcuffed offensively by the rule to emulate the batting stances of entire lineups, announcing the entire play-by-play with my older brother serving as color commentator, and later formulating the post-game box score.

    • I love that this whole comment is about baseball and that I agree with it 100 percent, knowing I did all of those things myself (and can still tell you who is batting by simply seeing their stance.)

  6. I love your defiant little disclaimer to REMEMBERred. But I’m pretty sure this is the kind of rule-breaking they love! I also dig being an adult. (Incidentally, my dentist gives me a free toothbrush, floss & a little thingy of mouthwash. You might try to pimp your hygienist a little harder.)

    • I actually have a really great dentist that offers parafin (sp?) hand wax treatments while you’re getting your teeth cleaned, but I’m just bitter I don’t get my picture on the wall anymore ;)

  7. “The lack of responsibility” Yes, I miss that.
    Although I LOVE blogging as an adult, I’d rather be blogging as a child: saying stuff like, — “I’m going to crimp my hair and dress up like “Blossom”
    Priceless. :)

  8. I think “nap time” should be a National Law. Our employers would be forced to enforce it.
    It would greatly cut down on our medical bills. I bet.

    Plus? I just like naps.

    PS- I totally bought a “Blossom” hat. I loved it. Adored it. I was TOO cool.

  9. I continued to ask for happy gas from my dentist way beyond the age it was appropriate. He finally said it was dangerous to use it in the doses required to make it work on someone my age. I think he was lying to me, but was too afraid to tell me to man up.

    Thanks for mentioning Blossom. Now I’m going to be saying “Whoa” all day.

  10. I’m so phobic about needles that I cried during a tetanus shot. The nurse looked at me and said, “What? You want a lollipop?” I was 31 at the time.

  11. Ahhh good blog Abby (pointless statement, they always are!) I still ask for a sticker at the dentist, and the Mickey Mouse bandaid at the doctor. But they never have Mickey anymore. It’s always like Dora the Explorer or some bullcrap like that. I miss kid’s shows. They used to be good. Old Nickelodeon and Duck Tales and Tale Spin and Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers and Full House and yah, Blossom!

    I miss Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Kix. Wow I guess I’m craving cereal.

    • The kid’s shows were the best. I remember when TGIF meant Full House, Family Matters, etc. Plus, the cereals were the best–Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Krispies and Corn Pops were my favorite. Yes, they still exist, but I’m too smart now to pretend they’re actually a decent food ;)

  12. I don’t miss much…except the ineffable feeling that I was destined for greatness.

  13. You hit the nail on the head Abby. Between the free stuff, the lack of responsiblities, I don’t think I’d want to go back to being a kid. Well, maybe just a little while to be able to really PLAY without worrying about dirt under nails or if my bra is offering enough support for the gals.

    • Well, I still don’t have to worry about the bra thing and often play in the dirt, so I have that going for me. I would like the whole, “no bills and no work” thing though. And the metabolism of an 8-year-old.

  14. I love that you were honest about not wanting to go back to your childhood. I think people forget that it wasn’t as great as they’d like to remember.

    • I had a great childhood, but I think sometimes people forget that we can still enjoy what we have now without pining for the past ;) After all, we have a lot more freedom as adults, for better or for worse!

  15. I love your last line – “as an adult I can blog” – right on! You’re exactly right about the free stuff with kids – sometimes I want to say “stop giving my kids free junk” everyplace we go!

  16. Yes, who needs a catty journal when you can wield the power of a blog? Although my own diaries, I am loathe to admit, also contained pages and pages of what boys I “liked” and the tiny details of adolescent concern that make me realize why teaching middle schoolers was a bit of an exercise in futility!

  17. This is the third time I’ve read this I still haven’t been able to process the information past you dressing like Blossom ona daily basis.

    How many “very special” episodes did little Abby have?

    I’m amazed at how people give my kids, candy, toothbrushes, and other free crap just for being cute.

  18. I would pay to see a picture of you dressed up as Blossom. Hopefully there was a Joey in your life as well, whoa.

    I miss all the time I had as a kid. I remembered being so bored and wishing time would go faster. Now, it’s quite the opposite where I dont have enough time. I also remember going to get the mail and being bummed that I didnt get anything in the mail. My parents said I wasnt missing out on anything since it was all bills and I couldnt wait until the day where I had bills and would get stuff in the mail. Yeah, I really take back thinking that.

    PS-I do the same thing at the doctors office, soul sister.

  19. Ha! This made me laugh! I crimped my hair like Blossom too!
    I like how this post flowed :)

  20. Hee! I love your own way- always.

  21. Thanks so much for this. I didn’t post because it didn’t occur to me to not write the exact sentence “I miss my childhood because…”

    Hopefully, you have provide me inspiration for the next time.

  22. Oh my gosh, I am SO trying that “taking things out of the drawers at the doctor’s office to get them to come in the room” trick next time we are at the pediatrician! Thanks for the tip!! ;-P

  23. I miss being excited about the smallest things: like a trip to McDonald’s. Sleepover with a friend. An extra hour to play with the neighbor. Etc, etc. But truthfully, I like being an adult more. I love being independent and having freedom to do what I want.

  24. I actually feel this way about college,too. I got lucky and my dad paid for it – so it was a responsibility free party. The best mix between adulthood and childhood, in my opinion.

  25. I totaly cracked up about going through the docs stuff, I do that ALL the time!
    I think I got my first cavity at like 13, but do you remember those little red tablets that you chewed and they were supposed to tell you how well you brushed? Made me think of those!

  26. I’m a no cavity kid too! I’m always scared that this will be the year I’ll have one when I go to the dentist. I’m obsessed with my teeth. It’s annoying actually.
    I still dress like Blossom. Not on purpose…I just don’t have good style :(
    Help me.

  27. well fuck.

    i gotta say we part ways on this cus i hated the dentist now and hate him today. i used to throw out those post card reminders when they came in the mail before my mom saw them.

    But, shit, i did get a lotta stuff for free. my grandma used to bribe me with bags of candy to stand on the table and embarrass myself by singing a song in front of a whole room of dinner guests.

    Well i sure showed her, cus nothing embarrasses me. still doesn’t. I had a whole room full of free candy

  28. You always put things in such a good and fun light. As if you reach right into our brains and say what we really want to. I loved this and never thought of takingthings from my dr’s office until now…it just might make the time go by faster as they leave you in those chilly rooms with nothing but a smock on. ;)

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