Big bad bears on the ceiling

Coop has been on vacation this week, and one of the cool things we do when he’s on vacation (he is actually of the staycation people) is take Moo to, and pick up Moo from preschool together.

The drive is down one of the oldest highways in California that is now dotted every three inches with red lights. People in Silicon Valley drive like self-absorbed blind monkeys high on meth. There are no blinkers: a sign of weakness. Everyone loves horns: that’s not your radio! Accidents all the time: sirens all the time: that’s not your radio!

I’ve had a peek into the routine Moo & Coop have for pickup and drop-off this week. I often hear about the silliness that ensues, but witnessing it is a million times better.

Moo’s three-and-a-half … her imagination is limited by what she has experienced in her 3.5 years, but what she does with what she has is feels like a cornmaze on Halloween; you never know what’s going to happen next. Anything is possible. For example

“Daddy, there’s a big bad bear coming to our house and he’s going to make a mess of all your bookshelves he’s going to throw books on the floor and he’s not allowed in our house ever because he’s a mean guy. Then the big bad wolf is gonna come on the ceiling and he’s gonna make a big mess and we have to stay in the house because the big bad wolfie is outside and is gonna get us he’s not allowed in our house ever because he hits. Babies hit and I’m not a baby so I don’t hit I’m a big girl and Sarah’s a grown up and Daddy’s a grown up but I’m just a Princess Elsa big girl and Sarah you’re Anna and Daddy’s you’re Prince Charming.”

99 times out of 100, I follow along with her story. I engage her as she tells the story. I ask her questions at the end and encourage her to continue. Watching this little girl develop her imagination is fascinating.

Everyday there’s something NEW! she can add to her stories. Whether she picked up something at school, or from time with her mother, or from a TV show, or regularly something I said eight months ago, everyday there’s something NEW!

As a lover of stories, I want her to know that she has stories in her. I want her to feel independent and brave in her dreams, so I let her go free in her stories and only add my “rules”-based two cents when it’s imperative.* She’s already shown me intense creativity with painting and her choice in clothing patterns; I see a little artist’s heart in Moo. I’m honored to help develop it.

These car rides home are going to remain precious memories. I’m going to remember them when she’s 13 and claiming to have nothing to write about. I’m going to hold these conversations close to my heart.

Offering Moo a piece of my own creative heart is opening me to my own creative heart.

I can’t wait to see where she takes me next.

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*We’re not raising a complete heathen. We don’t talk about bodily functions or fluids, we don’t let monsters or any kind of bad guy into our house, we can only “pew pew pew” the bad guys, nobody gets to die, we’re friends with everyone, etc. etc. etc. We’re raising a real good kid.

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