I was watching my children play yesterday afternoon. My son decided that he and his sister would play with her doll, bought by their maternal grandmother. T and K bathed the doll in the paddling pool and T told us he was the mummy and K was the daddy. I asked who I was and he told me I was a ‘big boy’ so I let them play in peace and just watched.
T bathed the doll, made up a little high pitched squeaky voice it and the children played being parents, although with the roles of mummy and daddy switched. They fed the baby,bathed it and dried it. T also told me it did a wee in the paddling pool.
It was amazing to watch. Beautiful, simple but very creative. They made good parents actually, so we must be doing something right.
It got me thinking about what games I played when I was a youngling. Before football, cricket and the ZX Spectrum took over. Childhood games. Some adults still play some very childish ones, but which did I play when I was a puppy?
When my cousin and I were young, me maybe 7, him about 5, we used to play this game called “The Fantastic Journ-eny”, called such as he couldn’t say the word ‘journey’.
We used to stand in a emptied drawer, from a chest of drawers I had in my room. The drawer was placed on the floor of a big set of fitted wardrobes at the far end of my bedroom. We’d close the door, but not totally as we didn’t want to get stuck inside, and we’d pretend we were in a magic lift. We’d press some imaginary buttons, make some noises, and our magic lift would take us to somewhere fantastic. We’d end up on a boat, in space, in a forest or in space. On a desert island, in space, on a speeding train or stuck in an underground tunnel. We could go anywhere. The only limit was our imagination.
But quite often we’d end up in space.
We’d play all day. Pretending to be different heroes and completing ‘save the world’ missions. Some days we’d save the world 15 or 16 times, so the fact that the world is still here is actually down to us. Because we saved it. While in space.
At 4.30, after some tea, we’d leave the house and walk him to my aunt’s office so she could take him home. We’d say goodbye and I’d know that I’d see him again the next day. Ready to save the world again. From space, from down an abandoned mineshaft, from The Moon. From the drivers carriage of a runaway train or from a space station. In space.
I’d go home with my mum and my mum would sit and drink. I’d go to my room. I’d read on my bed. I’d play with Lego. I’d draw. I was rubbish at drawing. I’d read comics.
Sometimes, when I was really sad and when my mum was really drunk, I’d pull the drawer out and put it in the wardrobe. I’d press some imaginary button, make some noises and travel in the lift again. By myself.
This time the only place the lift took me was back to my bedroom.
What games did you play as a child? Did you have a sibling or friend to play with, go on Fantastic Journ-enys with? What games do your children play? And did anyone else have a magic lift in a wardrobe?
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