Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sea Creatures: Live on Broadway

My 2 and a half year old son likes playing with his sea creature toys. Especially his sharks. He has a toy great white shark and a couple dolphins he employs as stand-ins. These understudies get to play “mapo” sharks and “hammahead” sharks and “tigah” sharks. The great white even plays a barracuda from time to time. The kid has an ever-growing imagination. Something I have tried to take inspiration from. I mean, we tend to like keeping our thoughts between walls and on straight lanes as we get older. Kids don’t care about being rational ...or correct, for that matter. Just yesterday the stingray was a pelican and a robin played a pterodactyl.

My wife and I are constantly wondering whether or not to give him the other Mako shark toy we have in a bag in the basement. Yes, he would love it. But, the more he has, we fear, the less he will allow the walrus to become–of all things– the downy woodpecker (yes, he’s also big into birds and unless you are a birdwatcher he knows more birds than you).

In the mornings he has me going down to the computer to search for shark pictures on the internet. And this is no easy task. its difficult to avoid images of great whites leaping 8 feet out of the water whilst squishing a seal like a tomato in a vice. But, I’ve learned to veer us towards nurse sharks and whale sharks, which are harmless to just about everything and, thus, G-rated.

We also look at starfish and the giant octopus and turtles and he just soaks up information and spews it back out into play scenes with birds and cars and sea creatures. They all interlink to him. He sees no boundary between land and sea and sky. Dolphins swim and fly. As do sea lions and turtles. You know, the turtle might make a nice spaceship or maybe a hot rod.

I think maybe the key is forgetting about being right. And doing with what you got. It would be wise advice from 2 and 3 year olds to we, the adults inside our boxes.

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