One of the things I miss from the younger years of my children is our imagination play times. My son, who is the oldest and suffered from oldest child syndrome at a very young age, was NOT a morning person. Part of the issue stemmed from some of his medical issues and his inability to turn his mind off at night to fall asleep. Waking up was a struggle, getting out of bed and dressed was usually disastrous to say the least. To help save my sanity and to help him start off his day without anger we had talking socks. Squeaky, mouse like voice, ” Good morning.” Sock covered hand sneaks up to a sleepy face and plants some loud kisses all over. “Good morning, good morning, good morning.” Cries the sing song squeaky mouse like voice of our sock puppet. My son rolls over, pushes away the sock and says “GO away!” The sock puppet makes a dash for the naked feet poking out from the blanket. A capture of the right foot is successful and then the pig squealing ensues. The pig noises come from my son who is now fully awake and willing to play. The object is for the sock puppet to get on the squealing foot that is now flailing around…and then stay on, because sometimes they would just jump off on their own. This could take 5 to 15 minutes. At the end the game we had two socks on and shoes that were ready to go on and my 10 year old son is starting his day off on a happier note than some other days have. Sometimes it is hard to believe ten years have passed since we played our sock games. Last week I found a stray sock and slipped it on my hand and talked to my oldest daughter for a few minutes, well until she told me I was crazy.
My oldest daughter, who is the middle child and is the most normal and unaffected child I have, thinks I am crazy most of the time. She was talking the other day about what classes she is taking at college and made a comment that she HATES it when people read to her. My heart stopped and a started to feel very sad. I read to my children well into their late childhoods. She was probably 11 or 12 when I stopped reading to them as a group together. I tried to keep my voice even and calm when I asked her if this was how she felt when I read to her when she was younger. I am guessing my face was showing how I was feeling at that moment because she assured me that I was the only person she can stand to read to her. I was so relieved. Some of my favorite memories come from those snuggle sessions with my kids. Everyone snuggled up in one bed, freshly cleaned, warm and ready to listen to whatever adventure was about to begin.
So of course talking socks were usually best friends with all of our talking stuffed animals. My youngest daughter, the baby with a whole different set of medical issues, is probably even more imaginative than myself or her older brother. She loves it when I pick up random animals I find around the house and talk to her. There have been numerous times I have been asked to take her favorite stuffy of the week to work and show it to the people I work with. How can I resist the request of a sad, sweet teenager. I can’t! So I take them to work, and then I have to show them to my co-workers and give them a small bio of my stuffed animal friend. This way when my daughter visits me at work and asks a co-worker if I showed them her friend they can answer honestly. She loves it, the play time and the silly voices.
And all of this leads to talking pets!! Every dog, cat, fish, salamander and rat we have cared for has talked to us at some point. And some days the animals are the only ones I get to talk to. Watching my children grow up and move on to their singular lives has been bitter sweet. My son and I try to talk every few days and at least we still live in the same town so we get to see each other as often as our lives permit. My oldest daughter is currently attending college and living at home and dropped the bomb a few weeks ago that next year she is moving three hours away to finish school. All I will have left at home will be my youngest daughter, who will be graduating in less than two years now. Her plans after high school are to stay at home and go to school for business. I have learned though that everything can change between now and then so I have decided not to hold my breath on her extending her time at home.
In the mean time I am trying to expand my horizons and get back to doing the things I enjoy. I hope I can keep the magic of imagination alive within myself and my children for the rest of our lives. That is my goal anyway.