Tag Archives: Imagination

Pancakes

I love pancakes. I always have. In fact I love everything about breakfast, from the pancakes to the bacon to the coffee.  Everything. The issue I have when I make pancakes though, is turning them over. For the life of me I can’t figure out how to flip a pancake without turning creating a semi-circular, semi-burnt circle of cake. I have been making pancakes for a while now and I still haven’t found a solution.

They always start off well…

But they always turn out something like this…

Despite using a very happy spatula…

Anyway at least they always still taste good!  And in my opinion a semi-irregular, semi-burnt pancake is better than no pancakes at all! Pancakes have always held a special place in my childhood.  My dad was a master pancake maker, who would usually make us pancakes on Sundays before church.  It was always a great surprise to wake up in the morning to the smell of melting butter and maple syrup.  It was always going to be a good day if it started with pancakes.

My other prominent pancake memory is from our trips to the “Secret Fort.” This was a the name given to the local McDonalds that we would frequent when my mom was out-of-town on business.  I remember going to the secret fort, getting a hotcakes and sausage meal and then spending an hour or so plotting my takeover of the ball pit in the play area.  It is strange how such a simple trip to the secret fort can make an entire day better.  How a simple pancake with maple syrup and an adventure in the play area can be so much fun and so memorable that some 15 years later it is still ingrained in my memory. I am not sure why this is, but I can only hope that such a simple experience will capture Olive’s imagination as much as it did mine. I don’t think there is some sort of special magic in McDonalds’ hotcakes, but I do think that my dad created a special world for my sisters and me.  I think he helped foster us using our imagination by using his. By turning our neighborhood McDonalds into the Secret Fort he created an atmosphere for our imaginations to grow.  My dad wasn’t afraid to help us turn that McDonalds into the Secret Fort.  No doubt he got some curious stares and judgmental looks as he brought us into the McDonalds calling it the Secret Fort, but that is the mark of a great parent. You forego any claim on your own dignity in an attempt to create a fun environment for you kids to succeed.

Seriously, look around the next time you are out and about in the store or the mall.  The kids that are having the most fun are the ones that are dressed up like princesses or super heroes.  The ones whose parents are actually paying attention to them, interacting with them, dare I say playing with them.  I remember a perfect example of this that I witnessed back when Kaleigh and I were throwing around the idea of having a child. I was in the restroom and in walks this dad and his son.  And immediately you can hear the dad telling his son, “You can do this!  You are awesome! Are you ready to rock!” Not sure what exactly is going on I glance over and can tell that the boy is potty training and his dad is solely focused on encouraging his son to do well! Again he chants, “You got this, you rock!”  I leave the restroom with a huge smile on my face knowing that even if this boy doesn’t master potty training today, he will eventually, and his dad will be the reason why.

I can only hope that Olive will feel this support from Kaleigh and me.  I can only hope that she loves pancakes as much as me.  And I can only hope that our secret fort will be as awesome as mine!

Until next time…

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Thinking About Olive…

Right now its 10:21 PM, Kaleigh is sleeping in her bed, I am on the couch typing and Olive is sleeping in her car seat on the dryer.  Oh and the dryer is running.  And I am listening to The Smiths. You may think parts of that description are weird and ask why Olive is sleeping in her car seat on a running dryer. Well I guess I can thank my parents for this stroke of genius.

When I was little whenever I was crying and fussy and wouldn’t go to sleep my parents would place me in my car seat and place me on the dryer before turning it on. Basically this was to serve as a virtual car ride. I was a sucker for car rides. Whenever I was in the car for more than 30 seconds I feel asleep. So my parents, being resourceful decided that a dryer when on, creates similar vibrations as a moving car and viola! Instant sleep aid!

Now back to Olive. Olive like me, loves the car.  At least I think she loves the car I’m not 100% sure what she really loves besides eating.  Let’s put it this way she loves to SLEEP in the car and if you have an infant or have ever had one you know that a sleeping infant is a blessing. I am sure you can see where I am going with this…Tonight Kaleigh wasn’t feeling very good and Olive was being extra fussy (usually she is very well-behaved.  Honest.) and I actually, besides being tired, was feeling just fine so I have decided to try to give Kaleigh at least a few hours of uninterrupted sleep and my solution to Olive’s fussiness was to try the dryer trick.  And guess what.  IT WORKS! Not only does it work it works like a charm! Honestly I was a little shocked.  This isn’t to say that I was doubting the authenticity of my parent’s story or their methods, I was just figuring me to be a little strange and so the dryer trick worked for me, but any other people who tried it would just have an upset baby in a car seat on a dryer.  Well I can testify that there is either something behind those genes that scientists talk about or Olive is just as weird as I am.  Which gives me a small amount of pride.

IT WORKS!

Anyway since I have a few hours to myself with both my girls sleeping.  I have started to think about Olive when she gets older. Not too old though cause that still really freaks me out. I have been thinking about kid’s imaginations and how when I was a kid I was always in my own world.  Whether that was fighting alongside Han Solo, or Squanto or flying jets I was always off somewhere else. I hope Olive is the same way.  I hope her imagination is huge and that she uses it continually. I hope that she creates her own worlds and is queen in them.  I hope that she invents new creatures, that she dresses up, that she runs around in the backyard by herself completely happy, completely engrossed in her imagination. I hope that she taps into that creativity that is found in every child but is continually stamped out or destroyed by sitting in front of a computer/tv. I hope she isn’t ashamed to be herself and to express herself.  I hope she prefers to be outside.

Thinking about this reminded me of a blog post I read a few days ago that really got me excited to play with Olive. The blog is called Sweet Juniper and the post is called Preparing for the Siege. Besides being very well written there are great photos and insightful thoughts, I would highly recommend it. In the post the author (a father) talks about how he loves spending time with his son.  One of his favorite things to do with him are “knights walks”.  This is where his son gets dressed up in armour made by his dad and they walk around the neighborhood.  Here is an excerpt that really struck me:

“In each adventure he has a different hero name and a different evil enemy he must pursue and conquer. As I strap on his breastplate and hand him his shield, something happens: I can almost see his imagination go to full throttle as we exit into the cold air and he becomes a hero and there are trolls and ogres waiting behind bushes and he knows he is strong enough to defeat them all. The huge apartment towers are an enemy’s impregnable castle; the ventilation grates lead to its subterranean dungeons. Smoking steam pipes are a dragon’s lair. As we wander around the neighborhood looking for monsters, I whisper a silent apology to Lego and the video game people: Sorry guys, you can’t have him yet.”

That is exactly what I am talking about. That kind of imagination that is at the same time innocent and amazing. It is a child in their purest form.  Thinking about these watching Olive use her imagination was one of the driving forces behind me wanting to have a child. I want to be a part of that, actually not even a part of it.  I want to be a witness to it. I want to witness that imagination and feed off it, embrace it, foster it.  I want to see Olive embrace herself and her imagination and know that when she uses her imagination she can go anywhere she wants to be anything she wants. I am not sure what the future holds if kids will even be using their imaginations.  I am not sure if Olive is going to want me to make her armor so she can become a she-knight and go fight ogres down the street, although I secretly hope she does…