I’ve spent a lot of my life wishing I was older. As soon as I could speak, I became distressed whenever the grown-ups couldn’t understand my gobbledygook. Not long after hitting puberty, I wanted to be thought as a woman, not a girl and I’ve spent years not correcting people who assume I’m older than I actually am. However, now that I’m a bonafide adult (of sorts), I’ve realised how much I love children’s things. Cartoons, fancy dress and blowing bubbles – you name it, if it appeals to ten year olds, I probably love it.
It’s not that I am suddenly interested in being a big kid because I missed out as a child, however. In fact, despite always having had an old head on young shoulders, I’ve always enjoyed being silly and playing. Hours of fun were spent in make-shift duvet tents with teddy bear friends (can you guess I’m an only child?) and my parents spoilt me rotten with toys and days out. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood. My addiction to Pick ‘n’ Mix and soft spot for S Club 7 didn’t emerge from missing out yet they’re not a sign of me regressing either. My adult life’s pretty cushy too. I’m genuinely excited to enter the big bad ‘real world’ of work. I just want to be able to wind down after my hypothetical shifts with Bubble Witch Saga and a Dip Dab, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
What was once exclusively for children is now becoming more acceptable for adults, and I’m so grateful for the change. Colouring books have become mainstream, brightly coloured cereals have been reclaimed by cafes and every other high street store sells Minions merchandise in adult size. However, there are still some restrictions. Shade in therapeutic patterns on your commute and you’re on trend but fill in Hello Kitty with your felt tips and you’ll probably get strange looks. Equally, if you choose to eat your Fruit Loops alone and not in a hipster hangout, or dare to wear a t-shirt emblazoned with any children’s character other than Stuart, Bob or Kevin, you might be pushing social boundaries a little too far.
It’s so easy to accuse those who like children’s things as being immature but that’s simply not true. Childish behaviour in adults, like throwing tantrums, sulking or attention-seeking, is not admirable but there are many things we shouldn’t grow out of, and one of those is having fun. It’s ironic that many bemoan the fact children grow up too fast but simultaneously shame anyone over the age of 18 who just wants to enjoy themselves. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to skip around my garden with a bubble wand and laugh like Spongebob Squarepants.