A World of Imagination

I had my first pang of "holy crap, stop growing up" today as I was leaving a meeting and thinking about how crazy it is that this little baby girl of mine is officially two and a half and now closer to three than to two. She is closer to school days and the grown up world and waaaaaaaaaahhh. But really, I love this stage so, so much and this little lady of mine is just blowing my mind and making my heart explode into a million pieces every single day.

Before we had Maddie my exposure to children was pretty limited; not a lot of my friends have kids (especially not in Boston), I babysat a bit when I was really young but usually just babies and for a couple of hours and I had never had siblings or younger family around me. I was probably about as novice as possible and because of this I was scared about how I would feel as she got older. I was literally scared that I would not like my own kiddo.

Babies are cute and they don't really do much, and they certainly don't talk or have opinions, and I was really worried that as Maddie got older I wouldn't like her or this parenting gig as much (terrible, I know, but I also know lots of parents feel this!). As much as I loved babies I didn't really know much about hanging out with a toddler or a kid and wasn't sure how it would go over, but it turns out, it is pretty awesome.

One of the best parts of this whole parenting thing has been watching Maddie as she begins to use her imagination and create play situations with her toys. Yesterday I caught her having a "conversation" between Rosie and Thomas (the trains) and she was having them talk back and forth about eating dinner and then went on a "why?" tangent between the two of them (just like she does! hopefully it made her ears bleed too!). It was super hilarious and so neat to see her making  up these little scenarios. She has so much imagination and is so great at playing on her own; she can entertain herself for really extended periods of time (which is such an awesome trait to have if you ask this only child!). Of course, we hope that she will have a sibling in the future and incorporate them into her play, but for now she does an awesome job on her own and seems so happy just chatting along with her stuffed animals or reading books to her firetrucks. 

This imaginative play has also made me think about how much of an affect everything in Maddie's life has on the way that she is shaping and understanding the world around her and what a huge responsibility me and my village have during these incredibly formative years. When I worked in the prison we talked a lot about how the offenders based their views on the cognitive schemes in their head - if they saw their dads beat their moms, they assumed that this was the way things were and so they grew up treating women the way they knew and understood the world. As they grew up and went out in the world they started to learn that this was not actually an acceptable way of thinking, but it had already been ingrained in the way they viewed every piece of their world, and changing was a hard thing to do (especially as their therapist). Watching Maddie as she creates interactions and conversations has me hanging on her every word to make sure that we are modeling all of the things that we hold dear: kindness, love, creativity and empathy, and I am happy to report that so far, we seem to be doing a pretty good job. This morning she even told her dump truck to "be gentle" when she dumped the blocks out, so apparently I am pretty good at this post-baby season of her life!

Here is to creativity, imagination, and doing the best darn job you possibly raising these little people. 

Dada trying (patiently) to teach Maddie to use her pedals. 
Photo cred to our amazing nanny for this awesome dress up tea party shot.
She put sunglasses on him and asked me to take a picture. 
Thomas PJs, free Disney Store crown = PAR-TAY.

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