Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Best Mom Tip #7: Imagine

All the people. Livin' for today. You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Maybe someday you'll join us...Wait. Sorry. I went hippie there for a minute. I can't promise that it won't happen again, but I'll do my best.

I really do have an active imagination. Even as an adult I have "played pretend" when no one was watching. I've given speeches before Congress, greeted foreign leaders as the first female president, accepted an academy award for best supporting actress (I went with supporting actress because even in my imagination I know I don't have the looks to be given the lead in anything. I figure that character actress is my best shot). I've even practiced my Oprah interview about how I just knew that I'd be a writer someday. Oprah, then so enthralled with my sense of humor, tells everyone to go buy all the books I've managed to get published and I am then filthy rich and somehow, thin.

But I never really realized what a great parenting tool my imagination could be until I had a little girl. Earlier this week we pretended that my bed was Santa's sleigh and that we were riding through a forest. My beautiful daughter started this game and pretty soon we were soaring through the sky, hugging each other tightly so we didn't fall out. We also had to keep checking on her baby brother to make sure that he was warm enough since we were way up high. At one point she fell out of the sleigh and landed on the moon. We had to convince Santa to swing back by and pick her up.

She doesn't actually believe that Santa is real--I know, I know...I am probably Scrooge, but a strange guy who sneeks into your house at night always seemed both creepy and unlikely to me. My daughter just loves to play wild and fanciful things. And I can use my own imagination to help hers to grow. We play "sharks in the water," a game where all the carpet in the house is water and we have to avoid the sharks. Sometimes we give the sharks a good talking to, sometimes we grow big and eat the sharks first. Sometimes we snuggle and build a fort out of pillows to protect ourselves from wiley fish with teeth.

One day, when my children are grown, I hope that they play pretend with their own kids. It is a lot more memorable than doing the laundry together.


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