Play-Doh ponderings

Luke and I entertained ourselves with Play-Doh the other day while Matthew was at his swim lesson.   And oh, there is no smell more evocative than the Play-Doh smell.  You pry the lid off that plastic jar, and you’re suddenly catapulted back in time to your own childhood.  I was trying to think of adjectives to describe the smell of the stuff, but I literally couldn’t;  it’s so utterly unique.  One little whiff, and just like that, I’m a kid again.

It’s the same with the actual feel of the Play-Doh.  I break off a chunk, spin it rapidly between the palms of my hands, and make it as close to a perfect sphere as I can.  At other times, I pull it in two directions and it stretches and then breaks apart suddenly in the center, leaving mealy edges, just as it used to all those years ago.  I press it flat with the heel of my hand, and see the criscrossing lines of my skin, probably the same pattern that was left on the Play-Doh of my childhood.   There’s something comforting in knowing that even though the colors become more fluorescent and the accessories become more sophisticated, the Play-Doh experience doesn’t really change all that much over the years.

What is different this time?  This time, I’m working alongside a small boy, who gravely pulls the soft clay out of the jar little bit by little bit.   He packs it together into a mold shaped like a dump truck.  He takes the penguin cutout I’ve made and has it drive the truck, a big smile on his face.  He doesn’t care if the colors get all mixed up.  To be honest, neither do I.

Because there is something intensely therapeutic about doing something you loved as a child when you are a tired old adult.  And it’s even better when there’s a little builder next to you, intent on his own creative discoveries, building his own set of memories.

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