Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Imaginative Play

Update: I have been told Alex is feeling much better. Whew! So am I.

I may have mentioned that Dylan, 5 year old extraordinaire, my Drama King, went to theater camp for two weeks. The last day of camp the parents were invited to watch their workshop. Before the play-acting began the head teacher told us how she could see a difference in how the children used their imaginations compared to years ago. It was obvious they were spending more time in front of computers and TV's. They didn't know how to play anymore. Didn't know how to use their imaginations.

All I could think was, "She's not talking about my child." Yes, my mamma defenses kicked in. Yes, every parent was thinking the same thing. But no, I could not be wrong.

On the way home I thought about her comment. I thought of my need to defend my offspring. Was I being truthful? Yes, I was. Dylly is one of the most imaginative children you will meet. This would be why we signed him up for theater camp. This is why he is at art camp right now.

As I thought about this, I realized my children's imaginations were a product of my imagination. It was my dealings with them (& their dad's) that caused a large fantasy life. Large enough to entertain friends and acquaintances. Large enough to draw comments from most people we come in contact with. Large enough to cause some to look at us with distaste. "Quite imaginative aren't they?" (NOTE: I still don't understand this reaction.)

On a good mommy day (vs a bad one), when I can't get the kids to do something I make things up. "Quick, get your shoes on. Hurry up, the foot monster is coming. He will nibble your toes and tickle your feet." As the child starts giggling and screeching (and scrambling for their shoes) I slowly approach, fingers outstretched, making mmmm noises. "Tasty toes. Can't wait to nibble." Eventually the shoes are on and the difficult child is lording his victory over me.

Of course this takes time and imagination. It also takes your complete focus. Any attempt to engage while gathering the bags and various other children needed to depart will cause the offending child to ignore you and continue to lie on the floor and talk to the pirate in his hand. Then they will be caught up in their own pirate drama and you must find a new approach. "Ack! A giant octopus is coming for you. Quick, get on your shoes and into the boat. (that's the van for all you unimaginative folk) Hurry before the octopus gets you. Here it comes." At which point you must catch the child and then let them escape to the safety of the boat.

As I mentioned before, this is a good mommy day. The bad are filled with yelling and crying (on everyone's part) and trying to do ten things at once. Why can't every day be a good mommy day?


Anonymous said...

Are you forgetting how irritating that woman was? (who made the comment, I mean)

MoMMY said...

Yes, she was a bit... spacey. Didn't know what was going on half the time and got all the kids' names wrong. Dylan seemed to have fun though and he made some friends.