One thing I am definitely enjoying about this age – 3 ½ – is T’s wild imagination.
I should have seen it coming because when I was about this age I had a pretty imaginative view of the world myself. I didn’t just have an imaginary friend or two that tagged along here and there, I had an imaginary FAMILY that lived in the closet-behind-the-closet under the stairs (did anyone else have that kind of space growing up in their house or was it just me – where you’d open the closet door and there was a coat closet but then a tiny door at the back that opened to yet another storage space deeper under the stairwell, true story!). My family members would come and go depending on the day and mood I was in. I even still remember some of their names – Joints, Oranges, Skipper, Charlie – and they each played different musical instruments (of course they did, they were always so loud before I went to bed, too). Yes, those names were something else, weren’t they? Well I grew up in the 70s, and it could simply be argued that I was paying close attention to pop culture even from a very early age.
So when T started asking me to get “the guys out of the curtain” every night before bedtime, I really wasn’t too surprised. Let’s see, the current list of characters includes: Witch, Lion, Tiger, Shark, Whale, Monster, Big Mike (Monsters Inc.-influence there), Talking Tree, Squirrel, and Bouncy Frog. Others might come and go, but these are the main ones whom we say goodnight (and goodbye) to on a nightly basis just after I tuck T into bed. It takes a minute really, and more often than not, a better night is ahead of us in the long run.
Other wonderful and fun imaginative play scenarios include a variety of food play events (picnic, birthday party, and barbecue), dance party at the playground, ice cream salesman, and bear hunts around the neighborhood. There’s a great photo in T’s school yearbook of him and other kids playing doctor; from the looks of the photo, it seems T likes being a rather aggressive cardiologist as he’s chasing the other kids around with a stethoscope taking everyone’s pulse. At least we know he cares, right?
Another more recent game T loves to play is “boat” or “train.” This game involves him getting out almost every possession he owns, piling it onto the bed (or couch or chair), climbing on, and asking us to hop on so we can take a ride with him to Hawaii. I know, trains don’t go to Hawaii, but really, I just don’t have the heart to tell him all that boring true stuff, or that he doesn’t need to pack every single Lego, train, car, or action figure he owns to go there. Also I’m not sure about you but honestly most days I’d rather be in Hawaii than wherever it is I am anyway, so I can buy into a whimsical few minute getaway. Best of all, it’s a free vacation, even if it is just five minutes long. I just wish unpacking was a little less chaotic for such a short journey.
Have a great weekend, wherever your reality (or imagination) might take you over the next few days!