The other night I took my 4-year-old down to the grocery store in the ground floor of our building. Yeah, that's right; I live above a never ending flow of food. While most people need to put shoes on and back out of the garage to get cheese, I can rock slippers and be back on my couch slapping slices of Kraft singles into my mouth in about 7.5 minutes.
The kid likes the tiny grocery carts and I like intact Achilles heels, so I stay behind her while she leads the charge. She always heads straight for the frozen aisle because while she doesn't understand spelling, math or sarcasm, she knows inherently where the most high fat and high sugar items are stored behind frosty glass doors.
She immediately pointed and big-eye batted her lashes at a box of popular diet ice cream sandwiches. As I started to explain that they were made for People Who Hate Good Things, she immediately got into an embarrassing fit stance that could also double nicely as a new-age hokey pokey. Mouth screwed sideways, arms flailed out, feet splayed in, head thrown back, that's what it’s all about.
I bought the box of sadness and bit my tongue from saying, "You are young and can afford to eat SO MANY MORE CALORIES. Why am I buying THESE?"
Remember - at four you have so many mistakes that can be made and forgotten. Acres of healthy skin, gleaming ropes of untested intestines, no need for bras or tampons or even toothpaste. At four the world is your goddamn oyster.
I want to be four because this is what I would do:
Push my body to the limit
When you’re four, every body part is made out of rubber and crazy glue. Epic playground bails that would send an adult into traction barely slow down a 4-year-old. If I even think about a long run, I'm popping three Motrin down with a slug of wine and sitting still in Epson salts for an hour. Kids are unbreakable machines that skip, jump and flail all day. I would use that never-ending well of energy and poor judgement to enter every room with a Patrick Swayze-esque knee slide. With fresh nubile kneecaps I could easily handle all the carpet burns and linoleum wax scarring. It would be all dramatic entrances, all the time. Skidding into every conversation and discussion and popping to my feet, patting my hair back and being all "Hey guys, you were saying?"
Eat and drink everything
Coca-cola for breakfast. Doritos for dessert. A doughnut fried in bacon fat and drizzled with salted caramel sauce and that's just my appetizer. All the calories and fat and sugar and lard my tiny body could handle because in just one hour zipping around the playground it would immediately be negated by my hummingbird metabolism. Have you ever tried putting a whole angel food cake in your mouth? If you were four you could, without any shame or cellulite retribution. Just typing that sentence makes me weep. And hungry.
Never walk again
Hey ma, remember that stroller you paid a shit ton of money for? Let's get that old dust bucket back on the road. Ideally, at four, I should be able to safely lick the soles of my shoes. I have years and years and years of peasant trudging ahead of me. Now is the time to be pushed to all the places. Reclined, unabashed people watching, blankie in one hand and a fistful of Cheerios in the other – I dare you to tell me a better way to get around.
Sleep like I was being paid by the hour
An average day would look like so: Wake up, nap, breakfast, nap, lunch, nap, dinner, bubble bath where I float like a mermaid with no limbs touching the sides because I'm so deliciously small, then sleep for 12 uninterrupted hours and dream about the naps I will take the next day.
Youth is so wasted on the young. Let me live that life, even just for a day. Sure, I'd be giving up cool adult privileges like Facebook, wine and ill-advised Sephora purchases, but as a 4-year-old I wouldn’t have to deal with Facebook and hangovers and under-eye bags that even $75 creams can't erase.
Until that is possible, if you need me, I'll still be 37, hiding in the bathroom, and cramming this entire angel food cake in my mouth.