Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Turn Into

Aidan and Leo are creative and imaginative; I love to watch them play. Watching them make their imaginations come to life is marvelous to witness and yet, as an adult, frustrating to try to join. My grown-up mind simply cannot compete with the magical thinking of these children! Their bed becomes a pirate ship in shark infested waters; the couch is a rocket ship one day, a train the next, and a mountain to climb on the third day. They are chefs on Monday, knights and pages on Tuesday, pirates on Wednesday, and nature poets on Friday.

They invent games that they play with each other that seem to make perfect sense to the two of them, yet are inexplicable to those who try to join in their unending fun. One game, called "Sparkle Sparkle Backhoe," is one that can only be played at meals (and usually only at lunch, per Mom's request). The object of the game is to get the forkful of food into one's mouth before the other person finishes saying "Sparkle Sparkle Backhoe!" Aidan, for example, will sloooowly raise the macaroni-filled fork tongs toward his mouth as Leo starts out, "Sparkle, sparkle, back---" suddenly, Aidan shoves the fork in his mouth -- "hoe!!" Apparently, this means Aidan was successful. It becomes Leo's turn, and the game continues in this way for the rest of lunch - accompanied by peals of laughter at every turn of the game.

But my all time favorite game of theirs is called Turn Into, because there is something about it that reminds me of the children's book called The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. The story is about a bunny who challenges his mother by telling her he will run away; in turn, his mother responds how she will find him every time. (Little Bunny says, "I will become a crocus in a hidden garden." "If you become a crocus in a hidden garden," said his mother, "I will be a gardener. And I will find you." and so on.) Some have mentioned the possibility of this story as an allegory representing God, in that God finds us every time because we are God's children. Allegory or no, the story is touching and true, for what mother (what parent, for that matter) won't go to the ends of the earth for her (or his) child?

There is something about the format of Aidan and Leo's "Turn Into" game that reminds me of this book. As Aidan describes the game, "You start by saying "I'm going to turn into...[insert item here] and then you say something nice." Different every time, this is a recent transcript of their game:

Aidan: If I turn into a trash can...
Leo: If you turn into a trash can, I will dump you out.

Leo: If I turn into a towel...
Aidan: If you turn into a towel, I will dry you off.

Aidan: If I turn into a kitty...
Leo: If you turn into a kitty, I would pick you up.
Aidan: (interjecting, joyfully) I would like that!

Aidan: If I turn into Gladys... [Aidan's Lovey, Gladys]
Leo: If you turn into Gladys, I would hold you.

And that is where the game ended that day. I can only hope that in their hearts and in their minds, these boys are saying the same thing to each other that I am saying to them: I will go to the ends of the earth for you, I will do whatever I need to do for you because you are my family, because I love you.

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