I am frequently asked, by people of a certain age, people to whom I have given birth, why there isn’t a “children’s day?” After all, they say, there is a special day for mothers and fathers, even grandparents. My usual response is that practically every other day of the year is already given over in service of children. We feed them, we clothe them, we play Sorry and Candyland with distressing regularity. We rescue their legos from the canine death maw. What more could they possibly want?
But maybe the small ones in my life are on to something. I think a day to honor childhood is in order. At our house, there will probably be a lot of pancakes served (white flour only, please). Possibly a small tent will be erected in the living room. I’m quite sure that glue and glitter will make an appearance. Candles will be lit. Kids will not have to set or clear the table, scoop the kitty litter or clean the guinea pig cage. They will be able to hold a Scooby-Doo/High School Musical movie marathon. And, the crowning jewel of any kid celebration: karaoke, Hannah Montana-style.
We’re thinking about March, or August, both months with a dearth of real holidays. (Yes, I know, St. Patrick’s Day. That doesn’t count.) Neil Gaiman has suggested that not enough book-giving holidays are celebrated, and I heartily agree. So, we will give books on Children’s Day. If that seems a while to wait, you could do as Gaiman suggests and give a scary book on Halloween. For the 8-12 year-old set, a good place to start is Gaiman’s own The Graveyard Book, or, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. Both will scare the pants off the average 10-year-old, if read in a properly hushed voice, in the dark.
My loyal readers, both of them, already know that my birthday is coming up on Halloween. I like scary books, too, in case you were wondering.