Friday, February 16, 2007

Imagine Nations

I think my family must have spent 100 million dollars on toys for our boys. When you have three sets of grandparents, Lucy, plus my wife and I you can only imagine the quantities of "things" we have accumulated. We could open a car lot selling only Cozy Coupe models, a video store selling only children's videos guaranteed to move any adult into a comatose state. Then we have books, trains--Oh my God do we have trains! Titus is a train freak, Thomas the Tank engine specifically, and has amassed three different sets of tracks, a train table, and every train, car, crane, or helicopter on the Island of Sodor. I cannot describe the horror of stepping on one of those blasted trains in the middle of the night. A foot pain that reaches every single acre of my body and is one of the worst pains I have ever experienced.
Having amassed the Hammacher Schlemmer inventory you would think that my boys spend hours of engaged play, running through all of the toys in their arsenal of jovial pleasure. But no, that doesn't' happen. The toys just sit around the house, waiting for their turn to run through the minds eye of our boys. What do our boys play with? Well.... this morning I spent one solid hour building forts, chapels, gates. walls, ball stadiums, a spaceship, houses, elevators, and chambers with Solo cups. That's right, Solo cups. We have probably invested $4 on these cups. Titus' imagination was on fire and he was building, Levi was tearing down, Titus was yelling and building more, Levi was tearing down. And so it went for quite some time. Both boys happy and carefree, galavanting through the fertile fields of the nation of Imagine. From there we moved to cup baseball. Titus stopped calling me Dad and went to calling me coach! He had for his gear: a spatula, one of my fabulous wooden french spoons and those cups. I threw he hit, Levi just went around and hit me which he thought was really funny. Titus won the game with his, "awesomest hits, dad!"
I was able to teach Titus about gravity. Our cup walls kept falling over and he was getting very frustrated, "evryfing keeps falling Dad!" "It's gravity, bub, we can't fight gravity." Titus gets abstract things like oxygen and now gravity with surprising clarity for a 4 1/2 year old. After that little science lesson, every time our wall or house would fall he would just rear back his head, make fists and flex his body yelling, "GRAVITY!" Priceless!
There really isn't an amount you can place on the imagine nations. The minds of little boys and girls are wider open than the universe. With an endless potential of discovery and creation. It seems that toys just put children in too small of a box and suspend their imaginations within the confines of the toys ability to take them to their far away place. Solo cups on the other hand can become anything within the imaginations potential to create.
I can remember as a boy that my imagination never stopped working. A fabric pattern board my Mom used for sewing became my platform for "cars." I loved hot wheels and collected quite an assortment, I still have those cars and can connect with those beauties each time I open the tire case. I had cities built in my mind and used the board merely for a smooth driving surface. I didn't need anything else--just the board and my cars. My characters usually worked for a police station. The chief of police drove a Rolls-Royce (some city, huh!) or a Bugatti to work. The underlings just drove Cadillac's and such. I had great fun. anyone outside of my wonderland just saw strategically placed cars on a cutting board and nothing else. No, to me there were limestone buildings, dogwoods in bloom, manicured lawns with lush green grass waiting to cool the hot feet of barefoot children at play in front of the station. That is the world in which I lived with my cars.
We'll still buy toys and waste their college educations on batteries, but the moments I will cherish most are times that my boys and I build Solo cities or Santa's sleigh with cellophane tape, laundry baskets, and one belt from a robe.
When we lived in the Pink House my Dad made me a cape so I could complete my superman uniform. It was a heavy, thick tweed type fabric with various shades of yellow and green. It was wonderful. He sewed on a button and made a button hole. That cape transformed me into Superman. He and Kung Fu Louie were my heros. As Superman, I flew around the house fighting evil villains. Lucy would hunker down like some lioness stalking her lunch and at just the right speed of my flight grab my cape sending me "flying" to the ground. She loved it, I hated it. Dad wrote on the cape: "DON'T TUG ON SUPERMANS CAPE" A sure and certain warning that would work to rid Lucy of her dastardly deeds. Didn't work. I still have that cape in the cedar chest at Mom's.
As long as children are allowed to explore the depths of their own minds and create worlds far away from reality, the nation of Imagine will stand strong and all of the princes and princess of this great nation will secure the future for all other royal inhabitants of this great, great land.


Tracy said...

omigosh - i made lizziebelle a cape when she was maybe 2. she adores any and all superheroes (particularly Spiderman!)to this day! We still have the cape - i'll have to dig that out :-)
and the imagi-nation. kris kringle comes to mind - right? :-)

Will said...

Totally. Think of what our world would be like if we didn't have "it."

Donna said...

It is amazing how children are so boundless in their ability to go anywhere they want. If J is not physically creating some world (ALWAYS a cowboy world), he is making one up in his mind and verbalizing every single thing that goes on. He ususally saves the verbal imagining for the car seat where he is stuck. Physically, that is, but never mentally :).
William, I've only had a half latte, but I don't think you have a single typo. Amazing.

Will said...

That must be the fever and low caffine coming through. But, at what ever expense I can get "that" from you, Mil--I'll take it!