So where I work, a small barbers in a smaller Welsh town, I have to pretend to like a ridiculous amount of very excitable children; apparently parents will wait for over an hour to get their little darlings a haircut, lolly and sticker. the whole concept really baffles me. I am not a natural child speaker; I lack the ability to gain their attention and seem to scare the living day lights out of many, even with the simple “would you like a glass of squash, darling?” Apparently this is a fear inducing question. Maybe it’s my hair.
Yet today, in what I will henceforth refer to as “Bernard’s Barbers” in, let’s call it, Aberllew town, I asked what I believed to be a foolproof, fearproof question: “so what have you asked Santa for this year?”
Now I was fairly sure I could have predicted the answer; a jigsaw, a bike, maybe even a serious request of the elves for a puppy. But do you know what I was met with?
“I want an iPad.”
AN IPAD. this child was under 10. An iPad. What has happened to childhood? I cannot believe times have changed at such an Olympic speed; I was only 4 when we welcomed in the millennium and even I feel like I am lost in time, lamenting the good old days. I write this to plead, quite frankly, and not to complain about the unfair amount of haircuts everyone in Aberllew seems to need all at once. (Honestly, I love making painful amounts of tea/coffee/squash/glasses of water and sweeping, while singing Some Day My Prince Will Come in my head, pretending to be Cinderella, but that is neither here nor there). My point is that children need to stay children. We don’t get to stay innocent and naive for long enough; before we know it, exams and school work and gossip and breaking hearts and bank balances that you simply cannot believe start to take over, drowning us in a sea of our own thoughts and conflicting feelings (and, let’s face it, comfort foods to eat our way out of feeling like an overweight failure which is such a vicious but delicious circle). Basically, buy you children a bike and take them outside to enjoy the precious time they have to graze knees, get dressed up in mud and make memories. Buy them dolls to play with, and not Barbies that were pretty much designed to give us all some form of appearance complex, but real rag dolls to be drEssex up and dragged around the garden. Buy them finger paints to inspire their creativity and real, tangible fun. Soppy, I know, but if I see one more child ignore the play box in Bernard’s, this breaking heart might fully crack.