Thursday, May 8, 2008

Imagination Blast Off!

It is glorious to see imagination take off and be untethered in 2 ½ year-old Bodie. He will happily spend an hour with a small rubber rhinoceros in one hand and his crocodile friend in the other inventing conversations (he always lowers his voice when doing the voices -- “how are you?” “fine” “where are you going” “to the barn over there” “can I come?” “ok”) and they’ll fly on a magazine-turned-rocket ship, or eat apples from a chair leg-turned-tree, or swim across yellow plastic table turned into a deep blue ocean.

The other day, he grabbed two curtain hooks – simple pieces of metal wire bent into a U-shape – and quickly named them each Boopie. The Boopies swam and flew and ate and played with animals. They became real enough that when getting in the car, and one Boopie was dropped, Bodie cried out to go rescue the Boopie. The Boopies played with Bodie for a few hours, were put in his pocket when he played a drum and then drew pictures, and came out to play some more.

As movies or work often serve as the fodder for dreams for adults, it is sometimes easy to see the building blocks of his imaginative games. A day at the beach invariably causes Boopies or animals to swim and splash. Yet some things just emerge seemingly from nowhere.

When Hillary comes home from work each evening, we sit on the floor in the living room, and follow Bodie’s lead as his imagination spins scenarios of talking whales, swimming lions, welcoming planets and adventuring Boopies. Bodie becomes a dog or fish or crocodile. The broom becomes a horse to ride; Play-Doh becomes an elaborate meal, and a chair becomes a full service restaurant with Bodie serving (“we don’t have hummus today”). I envy his ability to craft stories and worlds with such ease. Until I’m gainfully working, I’m trying to take a page from Bodie and imagine myself being essential and called into important meetings (“where are you going?” “over to the office to make an important decision…”)

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