I have always thought an abundance of fantasy was a good thing. I loved playing pretend games as a child. Of course there was the traditional playing family game... and playing school, but my friends and I pretended a lot more. I developed a game called Nigel and Marleen around the age of ten or eleven, based on the scary books by John Flanders, we made up television commercials and a lot more. Sometimes I didn't even need actual children or props to play these games, I could just play out entire scenario's in my head, the way one would watch a movie.
It's been a joy over the last few weeks to see Joseph start to discover his imagination. Playing pretend with the boy doll that I have given him and driving him around in the choochoo train. Pretending to be a doggy, pretending the lock ont he window is a froggy or pretending to read a book. It's cute and adorable to see him pretend to cook and pretend to eat or feed things to mommy.
Naturally his imagination feeds mine, so when he picked up a christmas catalog that was lingering around our house of the "Land of Nod" shop (special toys and furniture for children) and asked me to read it, I was up for the challenge, inventing stories with the pictures. The Land of Nod, where children always clean up their toys, where there are flowers growing out of some of the beds... with musical instruments that play and boys jumping up and down... with ladybugs crawling over the sheets and children going to sleep and dream of toy cars, building blocks and balls to throw....
I made up quite a pretty story, if I say so myself and delivered it with dramatic gusto. Too pretty and too much gusto, because all of a sudden, this catalog became Joseph's favorite book. While before we have had some days of five times reading the very hungry caterpillar or Curious George.. all of a sudden we just had 'finished' the catalog when it sounded "mama read again. Read again." Over the last five hours, my husband and I have had to invent and reinvent the story of the Land of Nod several times over. I believe each of us has had to make up at least three versions... Enough to contemplate whether this catalog shouldn't accidentily dissapear into the recycling bin.
So... think before you make something that isn't really a toy into a toy..(like the plungers that now keep dissapearing from the bathroom and show up all over the house)... something that isn't a kids drink into a kids drink.... (because my two year old now doesn't just want juice but wants tea. In a cup.) or something that isn't really a book into a book... because before you know it, you are making up stories on pink furniture and doll pillows and seeing a little brain weave all of it together in a bigger story than even I can ever imagine.
Addendum: this morning before church Joseph went to his bookbasket and dragged out one of the monkey books. Slightly relieved we offered to read it. But our little boy quickly shook his head and started demanding "land of Nod" "read land of Nod". He was very insistent, so mommy dragged the catalog out from it's hiding place again and each of us has reread the catalog at least once this morning.