Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Child's Mind is Like a Salvador Dali Painting

Although they certain have their special attributes, I don't think my children are unique in one particular regard. I'm sure that many other parents think their children do the oddest, cutest, most random things. But good grief, if other kids do this much of it, how would parents get anything done. All they would want to do is watch and pay with their kids. Again, I don't think my kids are terribly unique in this regard, but living with them gives me an inside look at kids that I never would have gotten anywhere else.

For example, I am constantly amazed at Aidan's drive and determined attitude when he is creating one of legendary "projects". We were at my grandparent's house today. Aidan took the garden hose and tied it to a tree. He then took the other end and tied it to another tree. My grandmother helped him bring out a couple of bar stools, which he claims provided the "glue" of the project. Throw in a patio table and a blanket, and he had some contraption that he claimed allowed trees to be shared between people. I have no idea what he was talking about, but I was struck by the determination with which he created his project. It was hard work wrapping that garden hose around the trees, and he put everything into it. I love watching his indoor creations even more. He will use couch cushions, dining room chairs, and any other structure he can. One significant feature of the indoor "projects", however, is that they are almost always symmetrical. I don't know why, but Aidan insists on them being perfectly symmetrical, meaning that if there is a chair on one side, there MUST be a chair on the other side. I don't think he knows why. He just knows that's the way it should be.

I am quickly learning that Regan is not all that different in her quirkiness, although she doesn't have the same engineering flare. I hate to say it, but Regan carries a more stereotypically feminine aspect into her oddities. For instance, she has these mock high heal shoes that her Auntie Ro gave her for Christmas. Although they are way too big for her (perhaps made for a 5 or 6 year-old), she has learned how to walk in them very well and insists on doing so as often as possible. She loves to dance. She's got moves that most 2-year-olds simply dream of. She even matches her dance to the style of music. More than that, she loves dressing up, talking on her "cell phone", wearing sunglasses, pushing her dolls around in strollers, and shopping. I mean, come on-- SHOPPING! How did that happen? Where did that come from? And what confuses me even more is that I find it cute. It is freaking adorable. But that's not all that fascinates me about Regan. She is fascinated with books. She will sit in her room and "read" for a long time. She loves all kinds of books. She will read to us, but of course she loves it much more when we read to her. But her love of books actually borders on an obsession. They are sacred. They contain special meaning for her. Again I ask, where did this come from? Sure, we've read to her most of her life, but that's not nearly enough to explain her obsession. Shoes and books: Regan's two loves. Neither Kari nor I actively encouraged this, but here we are.

I need to post a better picture of one of Aidan's projects; they truly are artworks in their own right. I also need to post some video of Regan's dancing; it is very entertaining and impressive. So I continue to be fascinated with the growing minds of my children. They are really challenging my presumptions about child development, the nature/nurture debate, and my own ideas about identity and the emergent mind. Although I began my life as a parent expecting to teach my children, but of course I have found that they teach me more than I ever dreamed. Their minds and lives are free and unencumbered by the necessities of life, so they are free to simply be. What a bizarre notion.

Note: Click here for a new photo album of the kids that I uploaded today.


Kim said...

Great collection of photos, although there is one I"m afraid I'm going to have to post as "inappropriate content". That bare backside is just too cute.

Kyle said...

That's some amazing stuff. I remember being creative but that's really creative. Aidan sounds like a director, to me.