Showing posts with label imagination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label imagination. Show all posts

Monday, January 8, 2018

To Be a Kid Again

         My mom had given Jenna a pillow pet for Christmas seven years ago.  Jenna loved that pillow pet and treated it as though it were a living breathing creature.  I had recently been reminded of this when I read about her first day back to school after the new year. 

          Before she left the house, she had made me promise that I'd watch her pillow pet (Fudge) and told me what movies it liked to watch and what kind of game it (he) liked to play.  I had actually placed "Fudge" back in her room with a coloring book and crayons.  I decided it would fall asleep and continue to "nap" until she got home.  I did not play games with it (him).

          When I shared this experience on facebook one commenter suggested that I shift things around a bit, mess up the room and tell her that Fudge did it and she would have to make him clean it up.  I did not think about it nor received his message until after I had gone to school to pick her up.  She grilled me on the events of my day and had not been pleased to hear that Fudge had spent the entire day on her bed napping.

          Yesterday I read this following conversation between my niece and my nephew.  I think it's hilarious.

Anna:         All of them were killed by an asteroid and volcanoes.

Gary:           Were more good ones killed or bad ones?

A:                I think more bad dinosaurs were killed

G:               I think all the bad ones were killed

A:                I think all dinosaurs were bad.

G:               I think there were some good ones.

A:                But all the dinosaurs were killed when an asteroid hit the earth in the 1980's

G:               And Volcanoes too

A:                The asteroid made volcanoes when it hit the earth in the 1980's.  It may have been the 1970's . . .  way back then

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Simplicity vs. Electronics

When Jenna turned three, we bought her a play yard set which I have mentioned here and here.  Before that, she used her imagination, making the broken lounge chair her slide and the Norditrack Glider her swing – unless we were at the park.` 

Jenna was always so excited to spend time with friends or to go to birthday parties.  She especially enjoyed the company of a cousin she would see only once or twice a year.  She was especially looking forward to seeing her the year Melody turned eight. 

Jenna had hoped to spend more time with Melody after her party, but as I mentioned in this post, there seemed to be some behavior problems on Melody’s end. Evidently, she had purchased a kindle or an I-pad or some kind of electronic device.  She had earned all the money herself and was quite proud of her new purchase.  Perhaps that was one of the downfalls of her attitude that day; the party had taken away precious time she could have been spending on her new tablet.

When she brought the tablet out, there were a lot of “oohs” and comments made and requests to take a turn.  Jenna was crushed.  She felt that she was less important than an electronic gizmo – not even  secondary, not even noticed.  It hurt not to be noticed.  Melody would have that device even after Jenna returned home.  It wasn’t often that she and Jenna were given the opportunity to get together.  The situation had put even more distance between Jenna and Melody.  The fact that Melody desired a material item over her own cousin – or having acknowledged Jenna’s presence at all had influenced Jenna to the point of actually despising electronics.

She hates it when her friends are constantly texting or paying attention to their electronics – leaving Jenna to wonder how it is that she received enough attention to become friends with them in the first place.  I understand where she’s coming from.  I have always put my children before the television or the cell phone.  I haven’t been as good at leaving the computer when I’m in the middle of something – but I will.  I don’t want Jenna to ever feel like she did at Melody’s party – I think the last one that we went to actually.

On Tuesday afternoon, Annett’s mother called to see if Annett could spend the night Thursday and go with Jenna to the school dance.  She asked if we would take pictures of the girls in their costumes – though I wondered why as Annett is hidden in hers.

Her mom’s been good about allowing Annett to stay overnight with us – up until now anyway.  This may actually be the last time this year as a situation seemed to get out of hand.

Nora (Annett’s mom) likes to keep a tight leash on her daughter (which is one reason why I have been grateful for the amount of times she’s been able to come over after school and occasionally spend the night) but requests that Annett call and say good-night – something that Jenna either didn’t understand or didn’t want to. Jenna does need to show more respect to others who are on the phone- because at times they really are necessary.  Apparently, she was yelling at Annett while she was trying to talk to Nora – as to whether the phone got knocked out of her hand or not, I don’t know.  I wasn’t there.  Nora says that is what happened and she won’t be allowing Annett to come over anymore.

I understand where Nora’s coming from.  I also understand Jenna’s frustration.  I’ve tried to teach her to better understand the situation.  She needs to have respect for whoever is on the other end of the phone.  She needs to understand there are many sides to the same situation. 

    Nora isn’t happy with some of the choices she has made in the past.  She does not wish for Annett to make the same bad choices that she did.  She says Annett is a good girl.  She doesn’t swear.  I know she is a lot like my daughter.  I have heard them laugh and play together.  They are good together.  I have not heard Annett swear.  Jenna says she swears at school, but her mom  doesn’t know it.

Annett wants to have a boyfriend.  Both Jenna and Nora have told her she is too young.  Annett told her mom about a boy she likes and Nora texted the boy that Annett was at school to learn not date.  The boy made rude comments about Nora and Jenna defended her.  I don’t think either Annett or Nora knows that.

I don’t understand how a family of five living in a small trailer (that appears too tight to hold five at a time) can afford to pay for the service on the cell phones.  They don’t have a permanent address.  Nora wants Annett to have a cell phone so that they can keep in touch.  I get that.  But at what cost?

I don’t know Nora.  She doesn’t know us. I am saddened by this situation.  I don’t think anybody knows the full story of why Annett isn’t allowed to stay with us anymore.  I don’t know that telling Nora about Jenna’s lack of desire to compete with electronics will make a difference.  It doesn’t seem to make a difference to Jenna why Annett won’t be coming over anymore. I don’t know if Annett will fully get it either.

It’s such a shame when we make snap judgments without fully knowing or even trying to understand the other’s viewpoint.  It’s sad when only one is willing but the other refuses to even consider another option.  I’m sure that I have done that a lot of times – well, I know I have.  I’ve made snap decisions without knowing all the facts.  I wish I would shut up and listen more.  Many opportunities have been lost because at least one person has refused to listen.  Sometimes I have been that person, not always.  I hope I can make it Never.

Allow me to return to the simple things. Jenna had asked if I would take her to Stewart park in Roseburg so that we could feed the ducks.  I looked at the clock and asked if she could wait until Roland got off work as he’d be punching out within the hour.

On the return home, we saw a zebra painted limo.  

 Jenna was enjoying the view of the sun and the clouds and I handed her the night vision no-glare glasses that I had on my face as told her how different the view was behind yellow hues.   

Halfway past Roseburg and Myrtle Creek and all the way to Tri-City, Jenna yabbered about her discoveries in the sky.  “Oh, look how cool this is.” “I really like ___”  “Hey . . .”  It was so fun listening to her joyful enthusiasm and I thought how grateful I am for a daughter who has such a great imagination and enjoys simplicity – and always has, really.  I’m grateful that she would rather grow up in my era than her own (as mentioned in this post)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Another Story by Jenna

Her last day of school was Thursday.  But yesterday she wanted to PLAY school - with real tests and real homework.  She wrote a story about aliens eating her homework.  I like the story this story that I found.  She wrote it last year.

The Shoe and the Sock
By Jenna

One short evening sock and shoe met. 
Sock asked, “Are you shoe?”
Shoe said the same.
Sock said, “Why do I always have to smell you?  You smell!”
And shoe said, “Well you smell, too.”
“I do NOT!!” said sock, “You do.”
“No, you do.”
“Getting angry won’t help,” said sock
They decided to switch places. They said they would switch for a week. For a while they were living the life.
Sock had become more popular as no one had ever seen her as a shoe before
Shoe started becoming more popular as no one had ever seen a shoe worn under a sock before.
Then things started going wrong.  Sock started getting holes and shoe felt  uncomfortable with a sock covering him all the time.  And they just didn’t know what to do.

Just then pillow said, “Whatchya doin’?”
Shoe said, “Not much.”
Sock said, “Trying to figure out something.”
“Maybe I could help,” said Pillow. “I’ve seen you two trying to be each other and from what I can see neither one of you is happy about the switch.  Everything has a purpose. Sock, you’re a sock because we need our feet warm.”
“And that’s another thing, ” said Sock.  “Feet stink.”

Pillow continued, “Shoe, you’re a shoe because sock needs something to keep her warm. But more importantly you prevent sock from getting dirty and worn out so quickly”
“You are warm.” Sock admitted.

Pillow said, “The girl who sleeps on me is warm, too.  I like when she rests her head on me.”
Blanket said, “I would like the girl to rest her head on me.  Would you like to switch places?”
Pillow asked, “Have you not heard me explain to sock and shoe that everything has its purpose.  We are all designed to provide comfort to the girl.  Mine is for her to rest her head upon – or on occasion she has pressed me against her back and the wall.  Blanket, you provide warmth for her when she is cold.  You are much larger than me.  I could never cover her the way that you do.  Just as sock can never fully cover shoe.  It’s her purpose to keep the girl’s feet covered and protect her feet from direct contact with the shoe.” 


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Reflecting on Horton and Pinky

As a child, I was pretty much on the gullible side – or perhaps just wanted so much to believe in the unreal that I tried to make it real.

I recall an Easter when my Aunt Alice purchased two white bunnies.  She gave the bunnies to the children of her two brothers.  Patrick and I called ours “Pinky” (though Patrick himself most likely didn’t have anything to do with the naming; it sounds like I came up with the name and forced him to go along) and Kevin and Michelle named their rabbit “Greenfeet” or so I believed.

I was fascinated by both Dr. Seuss “Horton” stories – in the latter, the egg hatched at the end of the story and out came a bird that had Horton’s head.  How fascinating.  I wondered if it would work on rabbits as well.  It doesn’t.

Never mind that Pinky was only three or four weeks, totally uncooperative and wouldn’t sit on the egg unless I was holding her on top of it (or him.  I don’t think I really knew if Pinky was male or female.  I don’t really guess I thought about it one way or the other.  I never thought of Horton as male or female.  I was not all that bright) but I had taken the egg from the refrigerator.  Placed it outside near a bush in our backyard (Pinky was usually in a cage on the inside of the house) but I didn’t want my mom to find out what I was doing.  

I don’t recall how many weeks went by before a rotten odor was detected coming from the direction of that bush.  Not only was I not getting a half bird/half bunny.  I had wasted (and forgotten about) the egg.

Pinky and Greenfeet both died within the first three months.  I think they were “loved” to death. All that I have left now is this story.  I don’t even know if Pinky's bones remain in my mom’s former backyard.  Probably.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Elephants CAN Jump

          I don’t know how often Roland has asked the following question to various people: “What is the only mammal that cannot jump?” 

          The answer is, “an elephant.”

          Whether it is accurate or not isn’t relevant – not to this post anyway.  Corey liked the title “Elephants Can’t Jump” and thought he would use it for a future post – although he didn’t know what.  I imagined some profound analogy that had nothing to do with elephant at all, but would leave his readers thinking, “What a great post.” as his posts are usually quite thought provoking.

          This is neither great nor profound.  Needed fun to lighten up the mood from many of my most recent posts.

I had memorized Eletelephony by Laura Elizabeth Richards.  It’s a fun little nonsense poem.

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! no! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even
now I've got it right.)
Howe'er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I'd better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

I don’t know why I always pick the elephant when playing guessing games. But somehow I find myself using the elephant as part of my outrageous answer, and yet I always do.

Jenna:          “Guess what we did at school today?”

Me:              “I don’t know, what?”

Jenna:          “Guess.”

Me:              “you all rode elephants around the classroom and now the school has a large hole in it where the classroom used to be because the elephants did so much damage"

Jenna will laugh and tell me what really happened.

It wasn’t too long ago when she wrote the following story:

Pg1:   My name is [Jenna].  I never seen an elephant draw.   
         But I’ve read that they write.
Pg2:   Did you know that elephants could write? It’s true.   
         They can write.

Pg 3: Have you ever seen one?  I’m sure you haven’t.  
         They’re really hard to find.
Pg4:   I really want to see one but I’ll never get to see one!
Pg5:   I think Kangaroo’s swim.

(I had added the pictures once I deciphered her first grade handwriting)

And today she asked, “What should I draw?”  

I used to suggest simple things, but today’s suggestion was:  “Why don’t you draw an elephant trying to climb into a keyhole.”

The result:

How great it is to encourage and enjoy imagination.  Because it is through imagination that elephants can jump and fly, read and write, dance and swim.  And that’s such an awesome thing!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Gave Birth to Anne of Green Gables

          I have given my daughter the nickname Anne Shirley. Jenna does not have red hair, but she does have an overactive imagination and is very theatrical.

          The first homework assignment she brought home for her English class was a list of simple sentences to be rewritten with added reasons.  For example:

The girl cried.  Rewritten: The girl cried because . . . .  Her average classmate may have written:  The girl cried because she was sad.  The girl cried because she couldn’t go outside.  The girl cried because her ice cream was gone.

          But leave it to my Jenna to go on and on with more words than just one sentence.  The girl cried because she couldn’t complete her surprise project because she had run out of red ink before she could finish the fairy-angel’s wings and so she would never be able to give her gift to her mom.

She really does talk that way.  When we remind her to clean up after herself, she is all over the place – “Oh, why do I always have to do everything?  I know you’re just gonna say ‘you have to clean up the front room because most of it is your stuff.’ But not all of it is. It’s not fair.” 
Actually I don’t know if the punctuation is accurate as she tends to rattle on without pausing.  A period (.) I guess would indicate a pause.  For the most part she is hard to understand – especially if she is producing tears.

I know where she gets it from.  My mom used to call me Sarah Bernhardt–  whoever that is (or was) and I was perhaps just as thrilled to be called Sarah Bernhardt as Jenna is at being called Anne Shirley.

The difference is that Sarah Bernhardt was an actual person, an actress.  Anne Shirley was invented by Lucy Maud Montgomery (though there was an Anne Shirley, an actress who portrayed Anne of Green Gables in 1934) 
The book has been dramatized on television and in the theatres since 1919 and the character has been played by various actresses including Mary Miles Minter, Toby Tarnow, and Megan Fellows (pictured at the beginning of this post) and has been enjoyed by readers for over a century.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Joys of a Novelty Eraser

          I recently assisted at the book fair at Jenna’s school.  Jenna really wanted me to buy her a purple eraser shaped like a lap top.  I knew it would be a waste of money, but she demonstrated great behavior for the two hours we were there and so I wanted to reward her.

Scholastic offered a “buy one get one free” on all merchandise.  And so I made a purchase for a much needed pencil sharpener and got the eraser for free. 
It broke as she was removing it from the package. 

“No problem.” She said as she proceeded to fix it. 

After a couple of times of disconnecting and repairing, a piece fell off making it “unrepairable”  You would think her best friend had just been run over by a semi the way she carried on. (At least I would hope she would display the same devastation for an actual human being that she did for that stupid eraser – which actually does NOT erase)

So this morning I put a pin through the eraser – which may end up destroying it more than it already is. But she was satisfied with my repair job.  And proceeded to seek more enjoyment from her palm sized lap top than I have ever seen one experience before. (

She punched her false keys and made an account onto facebook adding the names of her friends and chatting her conversations aloud.  Perhaps I was wrong about it being a waste of money.  I didn’t realize it was going to become such a “real” item for her. 

I wish we could all experience that same amount of joy and find pleasure in that which seems so insignificant.  What a fine example my daughter has been to me. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

More 25 cent stories

all written by my daughter Jenna

The sun was shining and Shilo was exploring.  We wanted to go on a picnic.  We had everything we needed but we couldn’t find Shilo. But Shilo was at the pond.  But they didn’t see him.  He was chasing the duck and swimming. He had a great time and had lots of fun.  Shilo came back and we had the picnic.  The end

The Magic Chocolate Box
Once there was a chocolate box. But it wasn’t any chocolate box.  It was a magic box.  Each time a person took a chocolate one appeared in its place.  And always fresh. 
It was a heart shaped box.  Kids fight over it a lot.  [There was] Milk chocolate. There was semi-sweet and major mint and lots of others.  There were always 20 chocolates. 
A wise wizard carved the box and gave it away to a kind family [with] two kids and [and the] one to take care of them.  Their father had died when they were three.  The wizard disappeared before they could thank him.  The end.
The end is not. The wizard had come back to give even more chocolates.  This time 50.  The kids were stuffed.

The wind was shaking. Uniqua was hurrying back home to do her chores when something distracted her.  It was a rock.  It is pretty.  She took it home.  What kind of rock is this? A geode.  She put it in her rock collection.  She had a rock collection since she was three.  It is really fun.  She had wish rocks, rubies, crystals and now a geode.  She loved rocks.

The Sunflower Seed

Once upon a time there was a farmer named Jake. [He] sold his cow for some beans.  And the beans turned into a sunflower.
You may not know this, but sunflowers are alive which means the sunflower seeds are alive. So they can talk...
The farmer didn’t know that and the sunflower talked to him.  [Jake] was scared.  He said, “How do you talk?”
And the flower said: “Same way you do.”
“Oh, I did not know that.”
“Well, it’s true”
They became friends and talked about life and stuff like that.  They became friends.
The sunflower’s seed was named Sunny.
The End.

Actually the last one she had written without dialogue until I suggested it.  I still think it could be longer.

Child’s Play
Jenna also came up with the following “made-up” chant:
Friends rule
Enemies drool
Friends go to Mars to get Candy bars
Enemies go to Jupiter to get stupider.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Healthy Imagination

          Jenna has always had a quite a highly active imagination – which is good.  She was able to turn the broken lounge chairs into a slide and used my exercise equipment as her swing.  It kept her entertained.

          Not long ago she told me a story which started:

          “Once upon a time, long ago, in a refrigerator, there lived some fruits and vegetables.  Each thought they should be the ruler of the fridge. . . “

          As the story unfolds it had an apparent Romeo and Juliette theme going.  Only at the end the carrot and the apple run off together leaving the other fruits and vegetables wishing they had been nicer to one another.

          She would act out stories with friends.  If the friend had a younger sib, the two would make the sib an evil dragon, hideous beast or unwanted monster.  Once when Howard’s mother and I were visiting, Jenna and Howard flew into the room chasing Howard’s little brother – irate because they had been playing pirates and needed the brother to walk the plank. (He evidently was NOT cooperating)

          Today she will act out entire episodes using her dolls or stuffed animals or sometimes just spoons or pencils.  This morning it was a monologue spewed from a bear dressed in camouflage – one that Tony had given her for Christmas a couple of years ago.  Jenna, upon seeing that the bear was dressed in the same army camouflage uniform as her brother, exclaimed, “Look what Tony gave me!  It’s a “him doll”, “him” meaning Tony.

          So this morning’s monologue goes something like this: “I am not wearing my coat,” she says in her gruff soldier voice, “and there is something in my boot.  Can you get that out for me?” 

          I looked at her and I looked in the boot to see a candy shaped gloss sticking out.  I pull it out and hand it over.  The bear thanks me and then goes on to describe the glorious artwork of the cool candy shaped container.  I often smile at Jenna’s awesome imagination.

         I found an empty glass in the refrigerator.  I told Jenna about it and she said that she didn’t do it (I believe her as I know she didn’t appreciate the contents) and suggested that maybe it was a “super alien from another planet who came into our house undetected”  - where does she come up with these things? (or vocabulary?)