Saturday, February 13, 2010

First graders are such fun

Last Saturday evening, we added two children to our brood of three and ended up with four boys and one girl. Noise level? Akin to several space shuttles blasting off simultaneously from Cape Canaveral. The 11-year-old and my thirteen-year-old headed downstairs to pound on the drum kit while the three youngers did Formula One laps around the living room.

After scoffing down pizza, my first-grader and the first-grade girl entertained us by pretending to be lions. The girl also rolled out a story about dragons. That was, she told installments of the story in between coming to the aid of my three-year-old who took it into his head to lie as if comatose on the floor, weakly imploring "Nicole! Nicole!" Only Nicole would do. And what she had to do was wave a half-eaten slice of pizza under his nose. Several waftings back and forth with the pizza, and he was a new man, ready for another swoon. (Three-year-olds love repetition!) I must say, Nicole was a very good sport about this and diligently revived him again and again.

As the story-telling wove in between the resuscitations and the roaring of lions, I found myself marveling at the exuberance of first-graders. They are so free in letting their imaginations roam. There was a tinge of sadness in this, however. I know the day will come when this exuberance will crawl into a cave, like Puff the Magic Dragon. Crazy stunts of the imagination will be thought childish. And so, I made a vow. I will celebrate and affirm this creative spark in my children for as long as I have breath in my body. From such exuberance, writers, actors, painters, and sculptors are born. From such exuberance, they come into their own.

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