A World of Their Own

Isn’t it lovely how kids use their imaginations? They’re so unencumbered, so free of embarrassment and self-doubt. Molly, my five-year-old, built three different musical instruments out of Mega Blocks today. “This one is a chimer,” she told me proudly, “this one is ring-bell, and this one is a banjo.” She busied herself all morning until everything was just right, then loudly played an entire symphony, smashing the blocks with a cardboard tube. The headache I got from her concert was almost worth it. Andy, my two-year-old, is just as full of wonder and curiosity. Though he doesn’t have the vocabulary yet, I can see him observing and experiencing life. “I hide,” he said yesterday, “you count, okay?” He scampered into the living room, giggling loudly. “Where’s Aaaandy?” I asked aloud (standing in plain view, with his hands over his eyes). “Where did he go?” I questioned, looking behind curtains and couches. “Found you!” he screamed, rushing out of the room, and laughing. I guess we need to review the rules of hide-and-seek!

Kids are alive with creativity and wonder. As a child, I wandered around with my head in the clouds. I was full of ideas and stories, most of which involved me saving Earth from destruction. Somehow, out of billions of people, I was the only eight-year-old capable of getting the job done. The details were fuzzy, but the result was the planet was saved, people were happy, and I was rewarded with a puppy. Parades were thrown in my honour, and crowds wept with joy at the sight of me. “That’s her!” they would say, “the girl who saved the world with only a calculator and an Etch-a-Sketch!” I started writing my ideas down, filling journals and notebooks with award-winning novels and poems. The literary world wouldn’t know what hit it! Of course, looking back, the stories are all dumpster fires, never to see the light of day. Of all the things I left behind in childhood, my imagination wasn’t one of them – I use it every day. Sometimes I’m fighting a group of ninjas in the grocery store, sometimes I’m wearing a dinosaur costume and dancing on the sidewalk. Images and ideas float through me, and I still keep journals to write down the best ones.

The funniest part of imagining with my kids is when I imagine things wrong. I grabbed Molly’s “banjo” and started smashing out a tune; we were both going to rock out! “Mommy,” she sighed, “you have it upside down.” Well, excuse me! Andy is equally militant and always ready to correct me. We were playing Hot Wheels yesterday, and he held up a little green truck. “Look, mommy, a bus!” he said, holding it like a delicate butterfly. “That’s actually a truck, kiddo,” I replied. “No,” he retorted, “it’s a buussssssssss.” I kept my mouth shut on that one.

I love imagining with my kids. Whether we’re animals in a zoo or musicians in a band, we’re having fun together and making memories. I’m excited to hear about their adventures and dreams. It’s hard breaking the reverie and going back to being their mom. I don’t want to clean the kitchen; I want to fly like a hummingbird! Why should I fold the laundry, when I can pretend I’m Queen Sarah and they’re my jesters? The worlds we imagine are a million times more fun than the real one. At this rate, the three of us will end up in the same place: with our heads in the clouds!