Saturday, September 11, 2010

Things My Two-Year-Old Taught Me: XXI

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Recently, we’ve had a visitor at our house.  He insists on sitting next to bug during meals.  He loves playing cars (but he doesn’t like the loud ones), he buckles his own seatbelt and loves to dance.  Although his arrival wasn’t planned, I don’t mind having him around.  Actually, he’s a very polite, if somewhat overly-quiet, guest.  I honestly wouldn’t even know he was around if not for bug - who always brings it to my attention.  His name is Pawster the Monster, Pawster for short, and he is - you guessed it - an imaginary monster.  He is green.  He is NOT furry.  He has a small mouth, a giant nose, two legs and one eye.  He can fly AND turn invisible.  He is a good singer and his favorite food is chocolate animal crackers (which we must now ALWAYS have on hand).
I believe I’ve passed on a genetic predisposition for make believe.  When I was about 4, I had a carload of imaginary friends.  They were about 3 inches tall and rode in the backseat with me on car trips to keep me company.  Their names - the ones I knew (because who can keep track of, like, a hundred names of 3 inch tall people who all look very similar?) - were Sarah, Geneva, Melody, Tobi, and Mushroom.  I don’t know who named him, but I always felt it was a little unfortunate.  And this was the very simplest form my imagination took.
My very first best friend and I would plan elaborate stories and play them out.  When I was 6, my favorite was the roller-skating carhop where we met our prince charmings and lived happily ever after.  When I was 7, my favorite was the secret underground hospital we set up in her garage in order to help the resistance by caring for their wounded and dying.  Inevitably we would meet handsome resistance fighters struggling for survival and fall madly in love, after which would ensue a very dramatic narrow escape scene through the alley and bushes, up over the shed roof and into the trees with all of our patients in tow.  We never lost one.  We were very good nurses.  When I was 8 my favorite was the two musicals we wrote, directed, acted, sang and produced (for an imaginary audience - although we always planned on inviting the neighborhood) while her family watched from the windows, snickering.  I was a dress designer, a teacher, a writer, a concert pianist, an oscar award winning actor and a detective all before I was 12.  When I was asked to do chores, I would pretend I was caught in a Cinderella-type tale, which was why - I patiently explained to my mom - I ALWAYS had to wear the handkerchief just so in my hair, every time.  Sometimes, in the car, I imagined I was being whisked away from the life I knew in a traumatic and mysterious turn of events in which it was discovered I was switched at birth and had to be returned to my REAL family.  I would sadly look out the window and say goodbye to all my friends as I passed them... I could usually squeeze out a tear or two before the grocery store.
I always had something going on, I made up songs when no other songs would do, I wasn’t lonely, and I never wanted for any toys because everything I imagined was better than what I didn’t have anyway.
I don’t remember how old I was when my imagination took off.  Was I two, like bug?  (I do remember that when I was bug’s age my dad convinced me there was a bird living in the vent in my parents’ room.  I was in high school before my parents told me the bird was actually my father standing outside by the opening of the vent talking with a funny voice.)  But I do believe my humble beginnings in imagination have contributed in very large part to the person I am today.  I know we can’t live in a fantasy world and we shouldn’t teach our children to depend on things that aren’t real.  But if encouraging bug to play make-believe will allow him to be open-minded, creative, authentic, fun, spirited, lively, and innovative, then I’m pretty sure Pawster can stay forever.  Heck, he can have my bed.  Well, the foot anyway.  (not that I think I encompass ALL of these qualities or anything, but I’m kinda creative and sometimes fun...)
So when bug insists on feeding every stranger who says hi to him in the store imaginary grapes, or asks me where his imaginary wallet is, or tells me he forgot his “phone” in the car and needs to get it... I play along.  If he wants to be a super hero, I’ll let him - even if it means bringing the cape shopping.  Because maybe someday, he really, actually, will be.


BJ_Mama said...

HAHA! Pawster is ADORABLE! I LOVE imaginary friends...still feel like I need a few myself!

Nikki ~ Let's Craft!! said...

That is awesome all your stories you remember. I was the same way. I miss the freedom it brought. My friends and I roleplayed for a long time, you know where it became "weird". We would always write notes in middle and high school as our favorite icon of the moment. Ours was New Kids on the Block. YOu know we were totally dating them!! all of them!! LOL So I agree imagination helps get you places.

Anonymous said...


jenniferjohnson said...

ADORABLE!!! I remember those stages. I have a 9 year old and I am about to have an 8 year old. I passed those stages long ago! Enjoy them while you have them.

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