Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Josiah's Imaginary World
"Mom, there's a shark at the backdoor! Sharks can't get me right? They're under the table right now!"
"Mom, I have Star Wars on my shirt see?". (Josiah's explanation of the juice stains on his shirt)
Stomping on the carpet, heavy footed and with great authority, "I'm stepping on all the Veggie Tales and crushing their cars".
"Mom, let's jump into the computer, just use some magic!".
My funny little four year old always has a running fairy tale in his mind. Sometimes he's a giant and talks in a low voice about how huge he is, other times he's Iron Man with fierce shooters that launch from his wrist bands. Lately he likes to pretend he's marrying me or his sister and says things like "I'm a good dad", while clutching his sisters baby doll. Other times, his imagination overwhelms him. Yesterday as Josiah played with a friend he was overrun with fear. As his friend pretended she was a snake, chasing him around the trail, Josiah ran to me in a slight panic on the verge of tears saying "She's a snake! Is she really a snake mom?", as if borrowing my perspective on reality because he knew his might not be quite right.
I remember the power of my own toddler imagination. My dear and unfortunate Josiah must have inherited my almost hallucinogenic imagination. In fact my waking dreams are extremely clear from about 2 or 3 years old. I vividly remember chasing tiny egg people all over the carpet and trying to capture them in a jar. I pretended I was Gargamel from the Smurfs and the tiny running egg people were my prey. I took about 7 or 8 of those little suckers hostage in my jar. I wanted to prove to someone that they were real. After, catching them I ran to show them to my mom. As I held up the evidence, to my dismay, the little egg people were gone! BLAST! Foiled again!
But that's not all, I also remember seeing an alien curled up in the top of my closet, in the fetal position... creepy. It may sound weird but I'm so glad I still have those memories. I can totally relate with my son and his lively little world. When he sees a shadow in his room and is scared, I totally get it. I'm not sure I've even outgrown that yet :/
His world is so fun and so scary sometimes. Josiah's reality reminds me of The Lion the Witch and Wardrobe. Things that seem ordinary, like a wardrobe are actually entry ways into new and exciting and dangerous world's where animals talk and great enemies await to be defeated. My hope is to never forget what it's like to be a little kid. To remember the things that confused and frustrated me about the adults around me is becoming more and more important the older my son gets. It's so easy to cuddle a baby and teach a toddler to walk and talk. These things just seem to happen, but I have to really try and remember and deliberately choose to enter my four year old's world. When I do, it is a gift to him and myself, but it's so hard to do sometimes. My own agenda robs me of this too often and I need real empowerment to be able to ditch a little of the adult world, so I decided to consult an expert for advice.
I asked Josiah recently, "what can I do to be a better mom for you?" He thought for a minute and said "Play, ummm and be nice and PLAY!" I get it son. Maybe more play would do us both some good. I think my imagination still works... I can see the egg people now ;)