Congratulations, your wish for your kid to stay this age has been granted!

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

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The end of the school year has brought about the unavoidable “my kids are growing up too fast,” reflections from parents around the world.

I can see what these parents are thinking—I get the notion behind having your little angel stay a little angel forever. It’s cute that they mispronounce words, that they still fall asleep in your arms when you stay out late at a wedding and that they need your parental guidance in so many things every day. Young kids are cute and they have the imagination of a dog that wears buffalo wings and rides the Polar Express to the Northern Lights every night. So yes, I get it when people say they want their child to be a child forever, especially at major moments like finishing up school years.

Conversely, both Daddy Files and Dad and Buried have taken the “I kind of like my kids growing up,” approach to this time of year. I pretty much sit right there with them so I don’t think there’s any need for me to further explore the emotion behind kids growing up. We know what happens when our kids get older. They come home from their Grade Six graduation and look and act like they’re 23. Then they end up going to high school or dropping out of high school, then going to college or not going to college and then they become adults and they have kids or not and they start writing blogs.

I want to speculate about the changes that would happen in our world if all those Facebook statuses came true. What if Johnny really did “stop growing so (you) could picture him like a 5-year-old forever.”?

What would life look like?

The slow (then really fast) decline of Big and Tall stores worldwide

There are a number of industries would cease to exist, and few of them would be as impacted as the Big and Tall stores that dot strip malls all across North America. At best, these stores would turn themselves into museums to showcase the clothing styles of what will eventually become known as giants. At worst, they’ll cut their clothes into thirds and try to market them as trendsetting children’s styles. They may exist in that fashion for a year or two, but within 10 years they’ll all be gone.

What will become of the Big and tall store mannequins?

You’d have to put on boots in the morning every day for thousands and thousands of days

See, being a parent is filled with heartwarming moments. It’s also filled with moments that make you want to pull your hair out and use it to build a fort in which you can hide from your kids. Never do I want to hide more than first thing in the morning when we’re getting ready to leave the house. I sometimes dream about the day my kids will put on their own shoes and get themselves into the car. That would never, ever happen.

There will be no Google and we’ll forget campfire stories

This is a game-changer. There will also be no Apple, mo Microsoft, now Hasbro or Lego or beer making companies. There might be enough adults to keep one, two max, of these mass corporations we rely on every day running for a few years (my money is on Lego) but eventually we’re going to lose them all.

In theory this sounds pretty nice. There will be nothing keeping us from spending time with the young child we’ve created. We’ll read books and make campfires and cook steaks over wood-fed fires in our backyards. But while you’re telling campfire tales and eating your steaks, you’ll forget exactly how the story ends and instinctively reach into your pocket to take out your phone and Google the ending.

Remember, there is no Google. That campfire story is lost forever. You’ll try and patch together parts you remember but over time your once frightening campfire story will become a knock-knock joke, and then a kids version of a knock-knock joke. Within 20 years of that campfire moment your story will be:

“There was a door.”

There’s a greater chance the plot behind the Peanut Butter solution becomes reality

The Peanut Butter Solution was one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen and it only happened because of youthful exploration. Kids, for all their wonderful traits, can also cause all kinds of hell because they don’t spend enough time thinking about consequences. If kids stay kids forever, they’re going to put together potions to grow hair. They’ll also likely continue to float away in Chocolate Factories or whatever other “family movie” from the 70s or 80s you choose to fear.

We try to protect our kids from everything that is harmful to them—peanut butter potions included. I debated even including this, but what about Nightmare on Elm Street? Kids fall asleep all the time. Shudder.

Increased odds that you’re going to get a 4-year-old’s Common Core Math problem incorrect

I’m Canadian so I don’t even know what that statement means but I’ve seen enough Common Core Math problems to know if I had to go through 100 years of Grade One level problems, I’d definitely get one wrong. I’m still used to 1+1=2 and not the 14-line long equation it appears is needed to solve the problem in this day and age.

Math implications part 2, the calculator watch

Somewhat attached to this is that we’ll likely never see the progression of the calculator watch, the hot trend of the 1980s. I still wear one today but I think most people more commonly have phones with calculators and time telling capabilities. Would a super-powered version of the calculator watch be the next logical step? Will I miss that because of our desire to keep the engineers of tomorrow kids?

Caillou, the next President of the World and dinners won’t get eaten

For the first few years following the switch from kids growing up to kids staying the same age, the world would continue to operate somewhat similarly to the way it goes now. But, and this is just me speaking frankly, the adults will die off and we’ll be overwhelmed by the majority of earth’s inhabitants—elementary school children who are completely convinced Caillou is their leader because he whines so much and gets rewarded for it. We’ll all be around for the Caillou overthrow, I can guarantee you that.

I predict it will all culminate at the dinner table. We’ll run out of pasteurized foods and your kids will want some cheese. You’ll tell them you only have cheese-flavoured fishy crackers but that won’t be enough. They’ll tell you that Caillou told you that if you don’t want to eat fishy crackers, you don’t have to. You’ll try and reason with them but the debate will become so bad that this time you’ll be the one who ends up locked in a bedroom.

Most importantly, you’d never see them grow

It’s daunting but exiting to think about all the things my kids will do if they follow the normal pattern of growing older. Maybe they’ll hit a game-winning homerun in their high school varsity baseball championship game. Maybe they’ll win their Grade 6 science fair proving once and for all that kids are doomed to fail in areas their parents did. Maybe they’ll meet someone they love and will dance a slow dance with me as a cry at their wedding. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Right now we’re filled with maybe’s and I can’t wait to see what they turn their maybe’s into.

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