When I first arrived in Maryland, I fell on some hard times. From the small things like an apartment that didn’t have cable or internet, to larger issues like keeping a steady job, to even getting my goddamn car repossessed and having to learn Baltimore’s bus transit system. But the one thing that kept me sane (or close to it) was having Abby come over every other weekend. Come Hell AND high water, in my case, that kid made the flame-retardant/arm floatie-equipped suit bearable on the East coast. But trying to keep a 5 year old entertained was a different challenge altogether.
Back then I had to get resourceful when a 5 year old stimuli-hungry and literally hungry child came over. We would play pretend. We would draw and color. We’re talking endless rounds of Kids Monopoly…which is still the Chinese Water Torture of board games. But after it dawned on me that all the previously mentioned activities had taken place and only 4 minutes had passed, I knew it was time to move on to a more sustainable (and my favorite) source of fun…movies.
Bus #77 would take Abby and me to the Goodwill on Route 40 in Catonsville every weekend when she was over. At this age she never complained. Unlike now, where trying to get her to a Goodwill is like trying to bathe a feral cat…it’s not pretty. We would go to Goodwill because it was one of the last places on earth to find VHS tapes. Here you could find everything from The Goonies to old Disney films in white clamshell cases that had become discolored and yellowed with age. We would walk out of there with 5 to 8 tapes per visit.
The movies we watched were hit or miss. It was easy to forget she was 5 and didn’t want to watch everything I recommended. But by far, the most successful purchases were always anything with good old Scooby-Doo. She would want to watch the most ridiculous episodes repeatedly. Have you ever watched Scooby-Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters with your kiddo? Do it! I think it’s just awful but you should definitely show it to your kid! They will (assuming they are under 5) LOVE it!
One time we found the live action version of Scooby-Doo that was released back in 2004. It was fucking terrible. But to a 5 year old without much experience watching quality film, it was life changing. She instantly loved it. We watch Scooby-Doo more times than I care to remember. Unrelated, they made a sequel which I was convinced couldn’t be worse than the first, but I was very wrong!
The years come and go quickly as do a lot of the memories. You may remember something you thought was huge at the time when your kid was X. Then 10 years later you ask them if they remember and get a blank look from them. But bring up some crappy tapes from Goodwill when they were 5 and they’ll tell you what day it was, what they were wearing and everything they watched.
Last week Katie told me that Abby rented Scooby-Doo through iTunes and watched it again. This kid remembers way more than I give her credit for.