Megali - adjective, noun - adjective 1. great or big in Greek -noun 1.. A nickname derived from my first and middle names

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In the land of make-believe

An apron makes a fantastic cape

I love watching the boys play pretend.  As a dear friend was kind enough to say about them, "we love Slim's and Curly's beautiful, unique and creative spirits."

Before we moved, Slim would hold a white piece of printer paper over his toy animals.  His narrative went like this:
"It's snowing!"  Seeing as though snow was how we sold him on the move, I wasn't surprised to see him incorporate the white stuff into his play.
Pointing to the animals under the paper, "this is Kansas City"
Indicating the floor, "out here it's Florida"

Curly is getting in on the fun too.  Lately he has enjoyed pretending he's one of the family members, be they of the fur or human persuasion.  Typically, the conversation involves his new sentence structures with the word because.  ("Curly, please put on your shoes/use an inside voice/stop kissing the cat ..."
An emphatic, "No"
"Why not?"
"Because no." 
Or, my favorite, "Curly, do you love Daddy?"
An emphatic, "Yes"
"Because because." :D) 
Just this morning, we were discussing names.  The boys have a long name, a nickname that they go by, familial nicknames like Slim and Curly, and a Hebrew name.  So I asked Curly if he was his long name.  I assumed he answered no because he was accustomed to going by his nickname and doesn't always associate himself with his long name.  But kids are always surprising you. "Because I Mommy and you Curly!" he replied with an impish grin.  We proceeded to pretend that I was indeed Curly and he got quite a kick out of my imitation of him.

When other children are using their imaginations simultaneously, it doesn't always go the way they want or I expect.  Earlier this week, we visited the Kansas City Zoo.  While there, we made a pit stop at the playground on site.  A little girl, who was around Slim's age, was as exuberant and outgoing as my guys and quickly engaged them both.  Although they had an overall fun time, the conflict came from each wanting to play a different way.  The girl wanted to pretend that the boys were the bad guys with guns and she was going to save the day and put them in jail.  Slim's imagination rarely puts him in the role of villain and despite having a pirate's and knight's foam sword, seldom does he make believe with weapons.  Instead of her scenario, Slim wanted to pretend they were acorns growing into tall, strong trees.  Admitedly different and not as fun, given that trees have the propensity to be rooted in one spot, not move around like active children.  Curly simply channeled Big Bird's temporary adoptive siblings, Donny and Marie Dodo, in that he only wanted to pretend to be himself.

I'll admit, part of the reason I'm a fan of imaginative play is because it's stimulating for me too.  I enjoy playing pretend with them just as much as I do sitting back and observing quietly.  Plus, the land of make-believe builds important skills necessary in adulthood, like confidence, problem solving, creative thinking, and healthy self-expression.  R and I are making a point to ensure their holiday gifts include some dress up clothes and other things that facilitate play for hours without structure or instructions.  This versatile cape is one of the items we've been eyeing.

What was your favorite thing to play pretend as a child?  And what has your child made believe recently?

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