Jefe's House

Tag: imaginative play

To Think That I Saw it on Markenpower Street

by on Jan.20, 2015, under Pophood, The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here

My son’s multiverse of alternate realities crossed into the real world in a remarkable way.

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Parenting: Oh, the places you’ll go.

My 3-and-a-half year old son  is among those many toddlers who live in numerous alternate realities at once.  In a sense, so do I.  I’m, bi-urban, teaching in New York City and in Philadelphia. As a writer I am also often working on multiple projects at once for vastly differing audiences.  When my son’s not at daycare or cooking something up in his kitchen, he works in “my New York” and “my Philadelphia” as he calls them. These are different cities than the ones I know and love.

“Hey Pop. In my New York, red means go and green means stop…Hey Pop, in my New York, I have a baby daughter who just turned 21.”  In his Philadelphia, he teaches college courses in museums and in making drinks.  My wife is a biologist who works in the Philadelphia suburb of Spring House, which must seem to him a distant, fantastical place. One of her coworkers is named Eric.  “Hey Ma, at my Spring House, I also have a friend named Eric but he’s no the same Eric.”

Not surprisingly, he has gravitated toward Dr. Seuss from among the many children’s authors at his fingertips. He’s obsessed with crunk cars and wonders when we’ll be able to all take a ride together in a zumble zay or make quick exits by ejecting ourselves out of a gazoom.  He’s watched the original Cat in the Hat animated 1971 TV special ad nauseaum and loves to sing along to the complicated lyrics of “Calculatus Eliminatus.”  This past Halloween he decided to be The Cat in the Hat and insisted that my wife and I dress as his oversized Things 1 and 2.

A neighbor asked me how I felt about my son’s “telling stories” about his fictional New Yorks, Philadelphias and Spring Houses, suggesting that we were encouraging him to grow up to be a George Costanza; a neurotic, emotionally immature, chronic fibber who has trouble facing real world problems. I countered that my wife and I heartily encourage his colorful imaginativeness.  Rather than scold him or nudge him back to Earth we ask ever more probing questions during one of his increasingly fantastical yarns, seeing just how far will his racing young mind carry him as he speaks extemporaneously and thinks on his feet.

Then again, perhaps we’ve given him a little too much imaginative freedom for his own good. His multiverse reached its zenith recently when it crossed into the real world in a remarkable way that left me flabbergasted.  (continue reading…)

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