Friday, May 13, 2011

The trouble with an active imagination

Boy Two and Girl have matured to the age where they are using fewer and fewer toys when they play together and instead are relying on their imaginations for drama.

Their favorite thing to play recently is 'Kitty and Doggy'.  Girl plays the part of the cat and chases/is chased by Doggy (Boy Two), in addition to giving him advice on whatever else she thinks should be added to the script: climbing, hiding, eating, having babies, etc.

They have both taken to bringing their imaginary animals with them to the elementary school several times a week.  Those imaginary animals have been causing so much trouble in the classroom than I have taken to requiring them to tie the animals (monkeys, horses, dragons) up at the bike rack outside the school before we go in.

These imaginary animals are so real to my children that they even fooled Daddy last Sunday.

Girl and Boy Two were playing downstairs when Girl came upstairs, crying, to find us as we readied for church.

She tearfully explained to Daddy that Boy Two's monkey's had chased her out of  the boy's room where she was playing with them and it wasn't nice.  Daddy, ready to take away the offending monkeys, went downstairs where he ran into Boy One (who previously had nothing to do with this case whatsoever), who eagerly volunteered to show him where the drama unfolded and the offending monkeys were hiding.

Entering the boy's room and finding nothing, Daddy confusedly questioned the Boy Two about the monkey's whereabouts and was informed that the offending monkeys had left the room and run away.  Not knowing what else to do, Daddy instead informed the children that they were restricted to their rooms until it was time to leave for church.

Daddy came upstairs to find me sniggering in our room, where I nonchalantly mentioned "It sure is difficult to discipline imaginary animals, isn't it?"  Finally registering the reality of the situation, Daddy threw up his hands in exasperation with his impossible children.

I had a very active imagination as a child and understand that my children come by it naturally, although I was always too embarrassed to involve my parents in the charade.  But even I wasn't so taken with pretending that I cried about it.

Girl came to us in inconsolable tears several months ago.  In between gasps, we managed to wring the explanation from her: she had been pretending to blow a roomful of imaginary bubbles when her heartless older brother came along and popped them all.

Not knowing what else to do, I attempted to squelch my giggles and suggested that she blow some more.

This is another side of parenting that I just can't seem to get the hang of.

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