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I am loving Owl’s imagination.

He was showing signs of imagination from a year and a half or so onwards – making vroom noises when playing with cars, telling us that a toy is sleeping, and so on. But in the months since he turned two his imagination has skyrocketed.

Everything, it seems, is actually something else.

His toy phone is a lollipop. A pine needle is a hockey stick. An upside down bucket is a stove. His poop is a seven. His toast is the letter C, no, it’s a turtle, no, now it’s a car, no, now it’s a dinosaur. RAAAWR!

He tells me that his toy monster/monkey/plastic toy man is a baby and that I shouldn’t touch it, because the baby is sleeping (my mother brought him my old baby doll from Nova Scotia so he can have an actual baby, which might be helpful in the future).

Driving him to daycare the other day I was told in quick succession that I was a cat, that we were both trains, that the car was a train, and then that I was a bicycle and he was a motorbike.

Last night he told me that his penis is a yo yo.

I love it.

First of all, it’s hilarious, and because he isn’t trapped by social conventions he thinks of the most bizarre and incongruous things, which I really enjoy. It’s a little like living with a crazy person. A cute one.

Second of all, it makes life easier and more fun.

One day he wouldn’t put his coat on while he kept insisting that he was a robot. I spared myself a tantrum by addressing him as “Mr. Robot”, and when thus appropriately dubbed he put on his coat and went out to the car quite cheerfully.

I’m really looking forward to when his ability to develop complex “let’s pretends” improves, so I can get him to do whatever I want by saying “Let’s pretend…”

If I want him to be well behaved in the grocery store I can invent a game where we have to pretend that we’re stocking up for a journey on the seven seas and talk like pirates the whole time.

If I want him to be quiet in a library we can pretend that the whole place is rigged for a bomb that will go off if we speak too loud.

If I want him to get dressed fast in the morning we can pretend we’re firemen, or that a dinosaur will eat us if we don’t hurry up and get out of the cave.

No only will it make things fun for him, it’ll make things fun for ME.

I spent my entire childhood in an elaborate game of “let’s pretend” which I remember quite vividly. A lot of my childhood memories have clearly fictional elements, like the memory of going out to see someone’s yacht and being followed by a large brontosaurus, or chatting with trees in the school playground.

I lost human playmates when I reached 13 years old, because everyone was too cool for let’s pretend. I had to play it quietly by myself in such a way that no one would notice.

Finally I was introduced to D ‘n D in my twenties before I found that again, and that’s not portable. I can go play D ‘n D, but then I have to go back to my boring old life.

Once Owl is old enough, life can be fun again.

Right now, penis = YoYo is the best he can manage.

But it’s a great start.

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