Of imagination and unnecessary worry
I have absolutely no cause to complain about anything in life. Honestly. Maybe just an untoned, post-baby stomach but otherwise, I really am a lucky girl.
Here’s why. This morning, my three-year-old comes running to me, in post brother’s-birthday-party bliss, and kisses my stomach – yes, the same aforementioned untoned cause of complaint – asking if she could have some kisses. Really?! If that wasn’t endearing enough, when I took her out of the bath, wrapped in a towel, I didn’t include hear head in the wrapping this time as I usually do; it was just shoulders and below, before I carried her out. She promptly demands, “Amma, make me a baby, not a shwarma.” It struck me then that this child has a love for metaphors.
She’s a practical sort, my three year old is. So for a while I worried about her not having an imagination – a vivid one – as she grew up. Because, you know, imaginative people just never actually get bored. There’s always something to entertain them. I am torn between letting her nature flowering without pigeonholing her and teaching her some sort of structure of thought, because I believe having no boundaries in your head can be a bit counter-productive, if not self-destructive. So anyway, a few days ago my fears were laid to rest when she asked, “Where do the ropes in the shower come from, amma,” I wasn’t sure if she meant the water, only because I constantly second guess the bright things the kids say. Expressly because they are my kids. I’d hate more than anything to be the parent, bathed in the beatific light having “awesome” kids, who kills – slowly, joyfully and painfully – other people with the rusted edge of the thing called bragging rights. But I digress.
I wasn’t sure she meant the water because I am pretty sure she’s never been read anything that has likened water to ropes. Then she said it again. “Amma, why is the rope from the kettle so thick,” she asked. After my initial delight (and surprise) that this child was using metaphors and similes to describe things, and so naturally, my doubts about her imagination went slack. She still didn’t have imaginary friends but at least she was learning the ropes of alternate description. Then, yesterday, as I was putting up balloons and buntings (I love that word) for her brother’s second birthday, she stole a spool of thread from me. As all parents will know, extended minutes of silence usually mean trouble. Having realised the afternoon was unusually quiet except for the song in my head I went looking for her. There she was, under the really tiny dining table I have, unspooling the white thread she had taken, all over the floor.
“What are you doing, kanmani,” I ask. “Flowing a river, Amma,” she said.
I wait for the day she will fly.