Monday, February 7, 2011

Batteries Not Included

When we arrived at the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum in Poughkeepsie, Nicholas ran for the large train.  He took his place in the engine and directed me to sit in the back car with Tyler.   He enthusiastically pushed the lever back and forth proclaiming we were on the Polar Express with choo-choo sound effects.  I was so excited to see him making connections.  Then he got off the train and ran to the front with a puzzled look on his face.  He looked at the ground, then back at the train, then back at the ground.

"Mommy, it's not working."

"Nicholas, we need to use our imagination. This train doesn't really move."

"Mommy.  No batteries. Not working."

Nicholas returned to his spot in the engine with slumped shoulders.  I again tried to convince him that we needed to use our imaginations to make it move, but he was done.  I was shocked and started cursing all of the battery-operated toys that had robbed Nicholas of his imagination.  Weren't almost three-year olds supposed to be happy driving huge pretend trains that didn't actually move?

With his train driving hopes dashed, he ran into the next room.  He bounced back and forth between the bakery and fire truck, depending on where the other kids were not.  On this day, he preferred to be more independent and wasn't interested in riding shotgun.  Instead, he happily offered me pretend cupcakes and even showed me how to eat after I didn't chew mine enough.  He watched the fire truck intently, especially when the sirens came on.

Then he saw a little girl in the firefighter outfit and decided he wanted to wear one, too.  I helped him into the jacket and boots, while he perched the bright red hat atop his head.  Lucky for Nicholas, at this point, the truck was empty and he climbed aboard.  He was happy to be the one driving AND pressing the buttons.  A man's voice came over the loud speaker saying there was a cat stuck in a tree.  Nicholas continued to drive.

Suddenly he sprang out of the truck and ran to the center of the museum.  I couldn't figure out what he was doing and was worried that he might get in trouble for wearing the costume outside of the exhibit (silly, I know).  Then he explained that he was looking for the cat in the tree.  I should have known.  That's what the dispatcher had told him to do.  Once I heard that, I didn't care who saw him wandering around the museum in the firefighter outfit.  I would proudly proclaim that he was looking for the cat in the tree.  He was using his imagination.  Hooray!!!!

Then he suprised me again.  He ran into the construction area, grabbed a pipe and ran back into the center.  Apparently he had found the cat and this was a hose because he began making the sshhhhhh sound that pretend water makes when it is coming out of a hose.  This hose wasn't big enough though and he had to go back twice to make it just right (and almost too heavy).  I chose to ignore the fact that spraying water out of a big hose was not the most humane way to get a cat out of a tree and I embraced the fact that Firefighter Nicholas saved the day (with a fully-functioning imagination). 

Moms worry about a lot of things.  Today I worried Nicholas was losing his imagination and even tried to take personal responsibility for this tragedy.  And in less than 30 minutes, he proved me wrong.  And 2 minutes after that, a little bully pushed him down and being a firefighting hero didn't matter any more.  He just needed his mommy and I was there.  You never know what each day will bring, but you certainly know that each one will be an adventure.

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