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Humor@Home: Creative Minds, Incomprehensible Chaos


I didn’t mean to make my kids creative. I never shoved them in a corner with nothing to play with. I never said, “Here is the box. Think outside of it.”

Their creative minds were already in their little heads from as far back as I can remember, so I’m rather certain that I need take no credit for it.


When Samantha was 2, she was a “dolphin with a hurt tail.” Like every day.  (Except for the days when she was a dog and lifting her leg on complete strangers at the park.) She would wrap dish towels around her ankles and insist on being carried.  (Hurt tail or no, dolphins don’t walk.)

Now she catches grasshoppers and lizards and fish. We go to the pond for some peace and quiet and to see if there are any wood ducks or maybe that blue heron we’ve been watching. The next thing I know, she is holding up a gallon-size Ziploc bag with a five-inch sun fish swimming inside it. (We released the fish after both kids had felt its “slimy”-ness and taken pictures to text to Daddy.)

My kids’ bikes and scooters and skateboards and hobby horses all have names. Also, they are all horses. Don’t even think about referring to Frozen River (a bike) as a bike. It—ahem, SHE—is a horse.

In some ways, they are just ordinary kids who play with Legos and con Grandma into bringing them candy.  But there is this whole other side to them. They are constantly doing things like making elaborate works of art out of nothing but a pair of scissors and a napkin. Or straddling a low tree branch and pretending they are taming a wild mustang.  

I have never heard either of my kids say, “I’m bored.” What I hear a lot is, “What are we doing today? Because I want to know if I’m going to have any time to play.” And I think, Play? All you DO is play.  I have never seen two school-aged kids play as much as they do. They have figured out how to maximize play time by getting their stuff out during transition times: Dinner is almost ready? They set up a world of horses on the floor.  Lunch is done? Time to look for worms in the potted plants on the front patio.  Just finished showering? Why not read a book while “air drying,” wrapped in a towel?  They milk these moments. They think I’m not paying attention (and let’s be honest, a lot of the time I’m not), and they squeeze in every last moment of play time before being told to do some awful thing I would have thought was innocuous—like setting the table or getting dressed.

Quarantine ruined our vacation? We camped in our living room. In a tent. In sleeping bags.  That’s it, I thought: no more vacations. Why plan elaborate (and expensive) entertainment, when they are just as happy camping right in the living room and doing things like combing the dog and splashing in puddles?

Isn’t there a saying about how a creative mind thrives on chaos? If not, I’m ready to invent some sort of more polished version of that.  I walk into a room and cringe when I see the bits of fuzz and scraps of paper and thirty thousand horses (some actual plastic horses, others just household objects posing as horses).  But really, I should be celebrating their amazing minds that work in a completely different way than mine.

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Tags: Featured Story, Parenting, Preschool, Toddler, Tweens & Teens

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