Anyone of us who is a parent of a young child, or spends a lot of time with little children, will know that they have some pretty interesting interpretations of events. In our house, a simple trip to the local grocery store or to daycare will include dodging bad guys, running over monsters with our monster-hunting Equinox, or even being in a space battle to save the planet.
Household chores with my four-year old son is an adventure at times. Putting wet laundry in the dryer has become a game of hot-potato, washing dishes is usually some kind of waterfall experiment, and vacuuming involves sucking up the evil dirt and germs that are trying to make everyone in our house sick. I never really know where his imagination is going to take me when he helps me around the house. After it has snowed and we go outside to clear our sidewalks, I have heard him tell his imaginary team of sled dogs to “mush” as he pushes his little shovel through the snow. On multiple occasions, I have seen him climb up a pile of snow, pretend that he his climbing up the side of a moving train, stand on top of that pile of snow and yell “I am the King of the North Pole!”.
The most recent story from my son is him reliving his experience when my husband and I took him ice skating for the first time on his Uncle Kevin and Aunt Ela’s pond. It goes as follows:
“Mom, do you remember that time we all went over to Uncle Kevin and Aunt Ela’s pond to go ice skating?” He usually asks me this question when someone is around that he wants to retell this story.
“Yes, Quinlan. I do remember. Did you have a good time?”
“Ummm. Yeah, it was ok. But it was scary.”
“What made it scary?”
This is the part where he starts reenacting his experience. At this point, he stops whatever he was doing and sits on his butt on the floor. “Well, you put these things on the bottom of my boots that had two blades on the bottom and were suppose to help me skate on the ice.” Now, he is standing up with his arms out and his feet wide apart. “But they didn’t work. You and Dad had to hold me up because the ice is REALLY slippery. Dad was on one side of me and you were on the other side.”
“That’s right. Ice is really slippery. That’s why we wear skates on the ice; so we can glide along on it.”
“Yeah, but I couldn’t do it. My feet kept slipping out from under me.” My son starts to wobble on his feet. “Whoa. Whoa! Sometimes you would skate backwards and skate around really fast. Like ZOOM in that direction, and then ZOOM in another direction.”
“Well, I practiced a lot at ice skating when I was younger. So I got good at it. But there were a lot of times that I fell down on the ice. Sometimes it would hurt, but most of the time it only hurt for a few minutes. Then I got back up and tried it again. That’s how you get good at things. It’s called practice.”
“Well, we can’t practice on that pond anymore.” He is usually shaking his head at this point with his hands on his hips.
“Don’t you remember? You were way over there skating backwards REALLY fast, and Dad was holding me up on one side and Uncle Kevin was on the other.” He is back to his ice skating position, feet wide apart and arms out.
“I fell down and hit my head on the ice ssssooooo hard that the ice split!” He leans his body forward slowly and spins around so that his butt and the back of his head land on the floor. “BAM!” A pause for dramatic effect.
“And then water started to whoosh up through the crack”, he continues. “Dad got me up quick and he carried me off the ice. Uncle Kevin was trying to run, but the ice was so slippery and wet from the water whooshing up through the crack that his feet were moving but he wasn’t going anywhere. You know, just like on the cartoons!” Now, he is stand up and running in place, simulating how Uncle Kevin was trying to get off the ice.
“I can’t believe you hit your head so hard on the ice that it cracked. Were you okay?”
“Yeah, I was fine”, he says as he is catching his breath.
“So, what happened next?”
“Well, then big blue whale jumped up through the ice.” My son is now standing wide-eyed with his arms forming a big circle over his head. “The whale was this BIG, and he when he landed he crashed through the ice some more. Spew! Boom! And this big piece of ice that Kevin was trying to run on”, my son is running in place again, “flew through the air and BAM it landed on the grass!” He jumps a little in the air and claps his hands together as he lands on the floor. “Can you believe that?”
“Wow! What an experience!”
“And then a big, hungry shark jumped up chasing the whale.” He is moving his hands in an arc in the air. “The shark has a lot of teeth because none of his baby teeth fall out.” He is now baring his teeth right at me. “RAR! That’s how sharks go.”
“Wait a minute, Buddy. A shark? Really?”
“Yeah. He jumped right out of the water, through the ice, chasing the whale because the shark was hungry and sharks use their really sharp teeth to eat whales. You didn’t see it because you ran up the hill with your skates on.” He is catching his breath again.
“Oh. That would explain why I missed this part.”
“Yeah. So anyway, Boom!” Another pause for effect. “The shark went back in the water after the whale.” Now, my son has his arms out in front of him with his palms together and he is ‘swimming’ across the living room.
He continues, “Then, after the whale and the shark went back in the water and the waves got smaller, Uncle Kevin got his Zamboni out and started smoothing out the ice again.” My son is pretending to drive a car back across the living room.
“And that’s why you shouldn’t swim in the ocean”, he says matter-of-factly as he sits back down and continues on with what he was doing before this epic reenactment started.
I don’t even know what to say at the end of this fantastic story/reenactment of ice skating on a pond. Would you?
So I just hug him and say, “That was a fantastic story. I can’t wait until the next adventure.”