On a regular basis, Rob tells me that I am too literal. Too black + white. I usually fight him tooth and nail about those accusations, but I’ve come to realize, he is kind of right – just not the way he thinks. I am a very, very artistic person, but I am very unimaginative.
I’ve noticed this to be most obvious when I am playing with Eli. When I was young I spent hours and hours and hours playing with Barbies in the basement with my sister. We french braided their hair, designed their family tree, gave them elaborate homes complete with a running track (crokinole board) and elevator and dressed them and re-dressed them. Sometimes the Barbies re-enacted Beaches or the Sound of Music to their respective soundtracks. The other day, when I was playing action figures for the 400th time, I realized that we weren’t “playing” Barbies at all when I was little. Occasionally the Barbies would run around the track, watch TV, kiss Ken or drive in the car, but really we were just setting them up. There was no plot. There was no imaginative play.
Eli doesn’t play that way. He wants Batman and Spidey and Peppa Pig and Buzz to have epic adventures with one another. I just can’t do it. I try, but I suck. He wants me to come up with elaborate plots and fun and creative storylines. My “adventures” consist of Batman asking Buzz for a lunch date, or Mike Wazowski asking the red dinosaur what his favourite colour is. Lame. I can’t imagine anything. Everything is factual and literal (that wouldn’t really happen!). Can’t we just line them up and display them? Make them outfits or do their hair? Why do we have to actually act them out? Want to do some painting instead? Build some towers?
It’s also very obvious that my imagination is lacking when Eli asks me to tell him a story before bed. I hate storytelling. I offer to read him 5 more books, but when that doesn’t work, I usually just retell a known story. Sometimes I replace the 3 little pigs with him and his buddies. The other night, I retold the pilot episode of Who’s the Boss for his story. Seriously.
Other ways I am black/white and lack imagination.
– I am generally not excitable, it is what it is
– I am the worst liar in the world
– I answer questions Eli has with facts (no sugar coating of things, even if he is only 3).
– I am the biggest copier of all of my artistic endeavors – I like copying artists and following guidelines and tutorials.
– I am the worst at “sunshine calls” for my students and complimenting other people if I don’t really mean it (so I don’t do either). If you get a compliment from me, albeit rare, it is genuine.
– I was terrible at creative writing in school, but really good at scientific lab reports.
– I prefer reading realistic fiction or biographies/memoirs over adventure books any day.
– My writing minilessons (generating ideas) are totally pre-planned (and I’ve even copied small-moments ideas from books), I can’t think on the spot of any good stories to model. Ever.
I’ll just make sure I spend time with my family and friends who have lots of imagination. Maybe they will rub off on me. I doubt it, but Eli will appreciate them. xxoo
*Above picture of me, age 2 in Florida watching the boob tube with Ernie and Bert.