Fe Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an English Man. I will crush his bones to make my bread. Fe Fi Fo Fum.
Was it just me or did your Dad play this hide and seek game with you when you were young too? As politically incorrect as it sounds these days, this rhyme my dad used to recite as we playing hide and seek in the small house we lived in, brings back such fond memories.
I would squeal as I ran and hid and my Dad would pretend to be the big scary giant who was trying to find me. He would start by saying Fe fi Fo Fum and begin to stiff loudly as if he could detect the smell of a human close by. I could hear his voice getting louder and louder and closer and closer to my hiding spot which was usually under my bed or behind a bedroom door. I distinctly remember the sense of anticipation I felt as he got closer and closer to finding me. It was like effervescent bubbles in my tummy, tickling me from the inside.
He was an incredibly busy Man during those years of my life. Trying to establish his own business as well as working for someone else meant we didn’t see him much. During Fe Fi Fo Fum though, I had his undivided attention.
He was only focused on me. His little girl. I can still recall the smell of the aftershave he used to wear back then. It always lingered on my clothes long after the game was over. A warm, tender reminder that he had spent time with me and cuddled me close when he found me.
In many modern day families, both parents are working and time to connect is limited. This coupled with increased pressure on kids to be involved in numerous extracurricular activities and be on target with school work to stay ahead of the competition, not to mention wrestling with tech time, leaves little room for playfulness and fun. We seem to be just barely keeping our heads above water.
For those of us who’s natural state is more organised, structured and leans toward a work before play mentality, injecting a little light heartedness and spontaneity puts even more pressure on a system that’s already nearly going under.
I know for our family It’s not necessarily the bigger activities we do maybe once a month that make the biggest difference to the buoyancy in our life but rather the smaller more frequent ones. It’s playing our favourite music while we’re getting ready in the morning, it’s saying yes to a family night swim on a school night, it’s me burning the dinner and being OK with vegemite on toast instead.
Life can get really bloody beige if we let it.
So why not go for that evening walk after dinner, grab an ice-cream even if it’s not treat day, turn the music up loud in the car with the windows down, have cereal for dinner, bake a chocolate cake like we used to without chia seeds and almond meal, go to the movies alone, play a board game during dinner, take your kids out of school for a day out because you can.
Our kids will remember the little things that create effervescence in their bellies and leave a lingering smell of connection, spontaneity and fun.