Sports camp has been fantastic at keeping my munchkins occupied and active this summer. By the time we reach home, they are not fit for much more than vegging on their Lazyboys and watching TV. My 3 were regulars at camp from day 1 and had become friendly with a lot of the other kids. DS2, in particular, had found his social feet and was happily playing with kids in his own age group and above. Whilst we all look forward to a break from the heat and going home for the summer holidays, I always have a niggling concern about sending the kids back to sports camp after the summer hiatus. Will there be any familiar faces there? Will the same coaches be there? Will there be as many kids as earlier in the summer? I know they will have each other, but still, it can’t be easy walking into a sports hall each day to what could potentially be a room of new faces.
Well…..it turns out the I induced extra grey hairs for no reason. What it does seem however, is that I completely underestimated the power of the Trashies, Moshis and football trading cards (not matter which season!), and of course, iPad’s Minecraft hold over 5-9 year olds!
On the first day back after the summer hols, DS2 gravitated towards a much bigger and older boy who was shuffling football trading cards like an experienced croupier. Within seconds he struck up a conversation about how many cards he had. I was gobsmacked and chuffed at the same time! My baby has come such a long way……
But my trip down memory lane is irrelevant here. This is about kids’ cash; their currency of middle ground (and, where necesseary, trading). Trashies, Moshis, football cards….all are tradeable goods. This is all new to me. When being begged (on a daily basis) by my lot to buy these animated blobs of plastic and printed (and often outdated) card, I understood them to be collectors’ items; ‘collect all 100 in the series types of thingys’.
But now I see it all differently. These little fiddly things (each of which by the way has a name which is only privvy to those of of us between 5-9 years – just ‘cos us oldies cannot remember more than 3 names at any one time!), are an introduction to a conversation with an unfamiliar face. If ever there was a perfect ice breaker, it’s these thingymabobs. Kids babble on to each other about the unquantifiable number of facts which can be attributed to Moshis or Trashies, without even knowing if they speak the truth.
‘I have 5,000 football cards’, I heard one child boast.
DS2 upped the ante.
Really? Have I paid for more? Have I paid more than AED700 (Euros140, GBP116)????…..’Really?????’ I ask quietly in my head, furious that something so shortlived could have eaten into my wallet so much!!!
Like the Beatles’ groupies, the kids hover around the most interesting offerings. Like magpies pecking at silver topped milk bottles (am so showing my age now!), their itchy little fingers twitch, as the wheels of their ‘antiques roadshow’ brains do the maths to decide what to offer in return for a ‘rare’, ‘common’ or a ‘Torres when he played for Liverpool’ card.
Boundaries are crossed. Enmities are forgotten. All are friends. All are equal. Beautiful.
We adults could learn a thing or two.