Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Run With Their Imagination

About three or four times a day, my four year old sneaks up to me, puts his mouth to my ear, and whispers,

“Mommy, can we play a game where I am Sonic the Hedgehog, 
and you are my Sonic the Hedgehog mommy?” 

The character always changes, depending on what he saw on t.v., or what toy he is playing with. I think I have been a monster truck mommy, a lego man mommy, and even an Angry Bird mommy!

But the craziest thing about it, is he doesn't expect me to do anything. I just answer, “yes”, and he walks away happy as can be.

He will also ask,

“Can we play it every day and every night?”

So, I suppose, in his mind, we are morphed into those characters, and go about our daily business, with the secret identities he has imposed.


I have spent a long time contemplating this. Does he think I am too busy to actually play the imaginary game with him? Or, does he want to share a unique secret with a mama who has been pulled by four different kids these past months? Or, am I just making it a bigger deal than it is, and I should just write it down as a cute little thing he did every day for much of his 5th year of life?

Whatever it is, I have discovered some nuggets out of our quick interchange, and would like to share them with all those busy mamas out there:

Nugget 1: Spur their imagination. My four year old is opening the door for me to help spur his imagination even further. What if the Sonic the Hedgehog mommy made her little Sonic, a special hedgehog treat? Or what if I continued the conversation, and asked him, “What does our Sonic the Hedgehog house look like?

Nugget 2: Fully engage. Instead of just saying “yes” and going on with my chores, what if I allowed my child to grow his imagination throughout the day, by actively participating in the scenario? A friend once told me that she set aside an hour each day, and dedicated it to whatever her child chose to do. She would participate in coloring, legos, swinging, even a movie, but fully engage with her child. So many times I get caught up in what needs to get done, or what I want to do, and miss opportunities to spend quality time with my children...leading me to my next nugget:

Nugget 3: Making memories. I don't want his sayings to just be forgotten words that I remind him about when he is older. I want him to have vivid memories of the time “Mom played Sonic with me, or the crazy fort we made because I wanted to be a secret spy.” Is my life so crazy, that I don't value the present, decorating a shadow box for future reminiscing?

Next time he asks me to be a fictional mommy, I am going to look at these nuggets and remember to live in the present, spurring on my children's imagination, fully engaged, and making memories along the way.

What ways do you minimize missed opportunities while you Make Home Work?


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  2. Oh, what a good reminder! My four year old loves to play these imaginary games as well. I must admit, I'm often very poor at bringing my imagination down to a four year old level.

  3. I have the same problem with the imagination level. It's quite simple as you said, Angie. So I need to remember that simply stating I'm playing is enough for her and not try to make it anymore complicated. I've been doing a lot of talking to her imaginary friends lately. She has a sister named Penny that she was insistently asking if she could take her to swimming classes this morning. I don't need to talk to Penny, just have to admit she "exists" ask my daughter to tell me about her and she's good.

  4. Such a good reminder, Angie! I want to try doing that play an hour a day suggestion. It's so easy for me to focus on my to-do list.

    Great post!