Thursday, March 01, 2007


Imagination is an interesting phenomenon. Some have it, some have it in spades and some have it not at all. Being of a curious bent one of the many things I love about being a parent is seeing evolution in action. Half of my genes and half of LL’s genes thrown together in a random tumble dryer produces three quite different new people. The reason imagination has been intriguing me this week is its been parent teacher week, we’ve been discussing in depth our little Darlings.

Pirate Pete has it in spades. He’s a book worm, will literally read everything put in his path, from the cereal box, to the Beano, to Harry Potter (and he’s only seven). He loves telling stories, and his game play is wild. I still remember coming across him and Ali Baba one day were he was putting a pretend bandage around Ali’s arm.

“So, playing Doctor?”

I got a very adult look of consternation, “No Daddy, we’re playing Robbers, I’m the good Robber.” I didn’t probe too much, they were in a world of their own, just were they should be.

He loves making his stories real, building boats and houses and rocket ships out of our sofas and cushions. Drawing doesn’t interest him much, but give him a box of lego and he’s entranced for hours.

My Princess is another one. She has a whole imaginary world built up that she talks about continually. She has a tree house, not too far from her Nanny’s house. She keeps sheep and dogs and rabbits there. Indeed, the one who keeps the house, who she plays with and gets into all kind of adventures is her Rabbit. Rabbit doesn’t have a name other than Rabbit but he (or sometimes she, gender is irrelevant when you’re three) is her bestest friend. That imaginary world is very real to her, and she sometimes gets upset when we stop her going out the front door to get to her tree house (at eight o’clock at night such tantrums are the lesser side of fun parenting).

She loves her words and speech. I have no doubt she’ll be the linguist or author in the family.

Ali Baba though is completely different. We had a long conversation with his teacher about “imagination”. In her mind this word relates to creative writing, the ability to tell stories. Its not his bent, and being a literalist of a little boy he just doesn’t get it. He loves hearing stories, but just isn’t particularly interested in making ones up.

LL was getting wound up about it. Maternal Pride and Teacherly Concern are a heady combination. I had to step in and point a few things out. The boy’s got imagination, rather large amounts of it, its just visual. He draws complicated worlds, wars, under the sea, far off planets and rocket ships. He can tell you exactly what’s going on in the picture, and clearly his mind is in those far off places. He just needs to see it, feel it, touch it. A boy who can invent a lego super star destroyer that can best the Empire has imagination enough in my books. He’ll be the engineer in the family.


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