Two nights ago, the boys (3 and 1) were playing on our big, comfortable couch, hoping that I would forget it was almost bedtime. My oldest was pretending the couch was a spaceship, and we were all given strict orders not to leave the “ship.” My youngest was scrambling back and forth, until Big Brother threw a car at him (again). The baby began to cry, and Big Brother was summarily sent to his room for thinking time.
When my son is sent to thinking time, he’s almost always upset, but he usually settles down after a few minutes as he contemplates his transgressions. But this time, his howls continued unabated, so I asked my husband to watch the baby while I went to check on him.
I found my oldest crying as if his heart would break. “What’s wrong? Are you sad to be in thinking time?” I asked him as I held him. “No,” he sobbed, “I’m sad because my ship is gone!”
“Oh, honey,” I said, almost wanting to laugh but not daring to because he was so upset. “Don’t worry, when we go back to the living room, the ship will come back, you’ll see.”
But he couldn’t be comforted. “No,” he sobbed. “I didn’t turn off the engines, and now it’s gone! It won’t come back!” Nothing I could do could comfort or persuade him. As I realized how much his “ship” meant to him, I begin to feel so sorry for him that I could feel tears forming in the corners of my eyes. It was silly, but I couldn’t help it. He was so heartbroken and so sincere.
I love that he has such a vivid imagination. That’s something that I’ve always wanted for my kids, because for me, it’s such an important asset. With imagination, you can make something out of nothing. Dream dreams of what could be instead of what already is. Walk where no one else has dared to go. Or make spaceships out of couches, as my son likes to do.
Two nights later, he pretended again that the couch was a spaceship, and – again – he threw something at the baby and was sent to his room. He burst into tears and asked pitifully, “Can I turn off my engines before I go?” I let him. How could I not? To lose one ship already that week was hard enough. To lose two – that would simply have been too much to bear.
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