The power of the imagination

The girls navigate most of their days as shifting characters in shifting scenarios.  Mother, daughter, wife, sister.  Recently they’ve both developed an aversion to being the “boy”, so we haven’t had quite as many regular weddings…mostly double weddings with imaginary grooms.  Splendid veils, however (provided by Mommy’s scarf collection).

Their stories are all relational.  I’m the mother, you’re the daughter.  I’m the this, you’re the that.  Amelie pops in fifteen times a day to ask me if I would be her grandma.  I’m always answering to “Mommy!!!” only to be reminded that I’m not the mommy, I’m the grandma. Right.

They seem to really enjoy killing people off.  Their parents are always dead.  If not both, then at least one reaches his or her demise during the course of an imaginary day.  That particular plot turn is helpful when you’re wanting another wedding.

The other day, Lia’s first husband needed to die because she wanted to marry a new husband (a new father for Amelie), Bronco.  (Which, by the way, has made it on to their list of prospective baby names…along with Marquis from Die Fledermaus, and other likewise unsuitable suggestions).

But her old husband was still alive, traveling the world.  So she decided that someone would kill him.  I reminded her that we don’t kill even in pretend play.  She thought about that for a moment, and then announced that he got a disease.  And died.


Sometimes I get a little…leery of their habit of killing off their imaginary parents.  Particularly when they kill off the mother figure too many times in a row.  My pregnant self can’t handle that.

But looking at all great children’s literature and films, what other scenario is there?  The child is always minus at least one parent…that’s where the plot gets its impetus and pizzazz.  That’s what allows the child to step out of the confined life of a parented child and become a hero.  Or, at least, increasingly independent. Or increases the chance for adventure.

So in my book, as long as they don’t kill off the mother too many times in a row and refrain from imaginary war or murder, they’re good to go in their little imaginary world of independence, heros, adventures…and weddings.


4 thoughts on “The power of the imagination

  1. And those ‘specialists’ in child psychology would be quick to blame it all on the hours and hours your children spend in front of the TV. They really do, you know – except the TV is off and the cabinet doors shut! Reminds me of some 75+ years ago when Maralyn and I (about Amelie and Lia’s ages now) would tuck our dresses into our bloomers and do a program for our parents. It was a dance venue consisting primarily to “I bow to my chief, just so.” In our very strict Christian home, where did we even get a dance idea. – Gma

  2. Your kids crack me up!!! Abby doesn’t kill people off yet. She pretends to be performing on stage…it’s funny especially since she’s pretty much tone deaf. :/

  3. You’re a brilliant, witty, clever writer. I am a HUGE fan!

    PS. I have an almost four-year-old who spends the day playing pretend. He starts off as a triceratops, morphs into a t-rex, switches gears to a paleontologist, and rounds off the day as a daddy to his baby sister. I love it.

  4. Jen, welcome! And thank you for your affirmation…we all appreciate affirmation! The dinosaurs made me laugh…and remember that a few months ago we did spend a number of weeks pretending to be pteranodons…a dinosaur I didn’t even know existed until pbskids came onto the family horizon. Just wait until your son is old enough for Calvin and Hobbes, oh dinosaur joy!

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