Wall: Turn back time and be a kid again

Maeve Wall

It’s Saturday night, the first weekend back on campus, and the possibilities are endless. How do I want to spend my evening?

a. Attempting to beat my meager 10-second keg stand record at a frat house

b. Embarking on a jello-shot journey, searching for “danger reds” among a sea of modified green gelatin

c. Immersing myself in basement party culture, squeezing past clusters of nearly-naked girls clinging to Solo cups as the music drowns out my words before they finish leaving my mouth

d. None of the above

This Saturday I picked answer d. Turning down offers of cheap vodka and potentially expensive regrets, I decided to earn some money babysitting for a friend. I ignored the pangs of FOMO (fear of missing out) streaming through me as my floormates straightened their hair and fastened their heels, packed up my backpack and headed to Winnetka to spend the evening with three children aged 5, 3 and 15 months.

I couldn’t have made a better choice. In the bizarre world of college where anyone whose age varies from yours by more than four years is conspicuously absent, one can almost forget about the existence of children. As I watched Devin* sprint around the kitchen in a set of monarch butterfly wings he made in kindergarten and listened to K.K. pretend to be a grown-up sitting at the counter (her response to my inquiries about what she did at work: “work”), I realized how amazing kids are.

Someone once said, “The world is as many times new as there are children in our lives.” (Someone else once said, “A child is a curly dimpled lunatic.”)

In all seriousness, children have a remarkable ability to see the wonders of the world that age and habit teach us to ignore. They live, laugh and love freely. My challenge this week is for you to think a little more like a kid and even hang out with some if you get the chance.

Here’s my list of things I’m grateful for this week to get you started:

1. Laser tag. A laser tag complex is like a time machinein which all persons become 12 year olds.

2. TinyDog Cupcake!. Cupcakes cater to the child in all of us and Tiny Dog has really stepped up this year when it comes to their relationship with Northwestern. They now offer deals for student groups, free Wi-Fi and coffee. Try a vegan option or a unique flavor like Blueberry – you really can’t go wrong there.

3. The Jumpstart Program for Young Children. This amazing volunteer and work-study opportunity is a national non-profit providing pre-literacy programs for children in underprivileged pre-schools. I worked there last year, spending about 15 hours a week with 3-5 year olds, and I think I learned about as much as I did in any of my classes.

4. Project Pumpkin. As Halloween approaches, I’m thankful for Project Pumpkin at Norris University Center, an indoor trick-or-treating event for kids bizarrely robbed of their rights to trick or treat in Evanston. Look for information from Northwestern Community Development Corps in the coming month.

5. K.I.D.S., Mac Miller’s debut album. As he reminds us in “Good Evening,” one of Mac’s early releases, “if you ain’t heard of the kid then you’re out of the loop.” The “Kid,” Mac Miller, is a YouTube-bred rapper gaining popularity by the minute. His new stuff is a lot more like mainstream hip-hop, but this first album has catchy hooks with optimistic, youth-praising lyrics.

*Note: names have been changed to avoid potential child-celebrity status

Maeve Wall is a Weinberg junior. She can be reached at [email protected]