I’m Not in a Hurry for My Child to Grow out of Making Sandcastles
I went down to the beach this afternoon, on the request of a friend’s toddler, to see what my spawn and his friends were up to. (We’re in the Gilis, and they’d gone snorkelling, and I suppose some people might also have wanted to check they hadn’t been swept away, or whatever, though that would be overkill with three.)
Anywise, one of the three was snorkelling. The other two were, with impressively focused concentration and much animated discussion, digging and fortifying a hole in the sand. The plan, as I could see it, was to build a strong, well-defended hole, then allow it to fill with water from below – while shielding it from the incoming tide.
The tide kept coming in, as tides tend to. So the third abandoned snorkelling, and got to work, scraping a diversion channel out of the sand.
What’s fascinating about this? All three boys are fourteen years old.
Now, when I was fourteen, and growing up in London, I was smoking and drinking. I’d tried what purported, in 1980s Tooting, to be weed, but may well not have been. I was caught up in the teenage girl’s obsession with looks and clothes and was, most of the time, utterly miserable.
And here they were, completely unselfconscious, working on “engineering projects” on the beach.
Would I have envisaged fourteen-year-old boys making sandcastles? Hell, no. But – for all those years spent itching for every bloody milestone, as first-time parents do — I’m in no hurry for Zac to grow out of making sandcastles. None at all.
And, it seems to me, that here in Bali, there’s no pressure on him to grow up – or out, for what it’s worth.
Image credit: Eroded Sandcastle by Steve Hardy.