If I’m spending time with your children I’ll want to talk to them about the stars and Carl Sagan. We’d build a space ship from discarded boxes and explore the solar system. We’d build a space suit out of boxes that would protect us from intense heat so that we could walk on the sun. We’d encounter extraterrestrial life and have to battle it out with lasers powered by moon rocks when diplomacy failed.
For lunch we’d cook with our hands, and undoubtedly leave a huge mess in the kitchen. We’d experiment with lemons and sugar, and I’d show them how to make sour cream. I’d explain that science extends into the kitchen, and that your taste buds are a universe you can explore without a space ship. Don’t be afraid to add salt, or pepper, or to mess up the dish you made. It’s okay, you can just throw the mess in the trash or wash it down the drain and start again. The process is what makes the end result so satisfying, you’ll get it eventually. Let’s just order some pizza.
After lunch I’d read them a book on the couch until they fell asleep for a nap; then I’d take a little snooze too. I earned it. We’d wake up twenty minutes later when we hear their dog barking at a squirrel running around outside. I’d ask them if they want to go to the park, they scream yes, and we hop in my car. Everyone will be required to wear their seat belts on this interstellar drive through the black hole void of this town.
I’d watch them run around on the playground and remember when I thought playgrounds were just the best thing ever. We’d stay there for an hour then get some ice cream. I’d ask them if they had any dreams while they napped, and ask them what they wish they would dream about. We’d talk about our worst dreams, and what they’re most afraid of. After that, tickle attack! The tickle monster is going to get you! Raar! They form a defensive strategy and beat me into submission with wrapping paper tubes.
Let me be clear, you won’t let me babysit your children. I wouldn’t treat them like mindless beings devoid of critical thinking skills. I’d talk to them like mini-people, constantly observing and trying to figure out the mystery of life they were involuntarily born into. I’d encourage independence and creativity. When their parents come home the house is a mess, but their kids are smiling from ear to ear. I wonder which one they’d notice.