Kyle Eller: Blowing bubbles reveals kid in every heart
Guys have kids so they can play with toys without having the neighbors look at them funny. Guys have kids so they can have an excuse to roughhouse on the floor and get dirty outside and giggle at fart noises. Guys have kids so they can go trick-o...
Guys have kids so they can play with toys without having the neighbors look at them funny. Guys have kids so they can have an excuse to roughhouse on the floor and get dirty outside and giggle at fart noises. Guys have kids so they can go trick-or-treating again and have somebody to play catch with.
Those aren't the only reasons, of course, but they are good ones.
Truth be told, one giggle from my daughter makes up for every late-night cry and every diaper and even the accidental call to 911 when she was playing with a telephone without the babysitter's knowledge.
But play time is a big plus.
I can only imagine what my neighbors make of me when the rain occasionally stops here in monsoon season, and I'm found standing on the front porch blowing soap bubbles. With luck, they notice my daughter sitting in the lawn chair, entranced. (All right, I confess. On a couple of occasions she hasn't been there, and I just snuck out for a few of my own.)
Children are amazing creatures in the way they absorb knowledge, for sure. My impish little child prodigy (no bias here) is already a whiz at name-that-tune and last night recited a stanza of poetry just for fun. She can pronounce "Pope Benedict" almost flawlessly. (One does wonder where the quick-learner status goes when it comes to not chasing the dog.)
But children are more amazing in the way they appreciate the simple, in their capacity for wonder. One is tempted to think of it as immaturity. The toddler hasn't learned to appreciate the multimedia universe of a thousand complex pleasures. (We basically don't let her watch TV.) She wouldn't appreciate a no-hitter or a brilliant checkmate.
Even her appreciation of the complex pleasures is simple. If she likes poetry, it's not for Robert Louis Stevenson's dactyls in "The Swing;" it's for the giddy sound of the words. If she digs Bach, it's not based on her analysis of counterpoint; it's for the sound.
But that's not immaturity. In fact, there's something deeply mature and deeply right about such a view, and as anyone who (ahem) writes a lot about the arts can tell you, it is easily lost amid the nuts and bolts.
Immature? The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Such a view is itself heavenly.
Take the soap bubble, one of the simplest things in the world, just soap, water and air. To describe it is to distort it. What can you say? "A wet, filmy sphere of stretched detergent." Blech.
How would a child describe it? Mine said, "Bubbles, everywhere." Then, on the next gush of them, "Bubbles, everywhere." (You see, there's this book ... oh, never mind. Her discourse does get a little more sophisticated. The other morning, she woke up and heard crows outside cawing. "Crows," she said. "Very upset.")
But soap bubbles are magical. A sphere that pure is captivating and almost unsettling. Its surface is an utter mystery, seemingly transparent but, when you look closely, a mesmerizing display of spinning colors in the light.
It looks like air but is wet to the touch, and while it looks passive, it pops with a satisfying and surprising display of latent energy. Except, that is, for the ones that mysteriously disappear, as if transporting to another dimension.
A flock of them can catch a draft and float across two yards, high above trees, I've learned. Or they may fall straight to the floor with a big wet kiss, especially the large ones.
Betsy wouldn't describe any of these characteristics that way. She doesn't need to. She just enjoys them and swats at them. The word "funny" probably comes to her mind.
Me? I'd just forgotten.
Kyle Eller is features editor of the Budgeteer News. He may be reached at 723-1207 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .