Tall Tales from Preschool 4

Sophie is growing up. Yesterday she said she learned about imagination at preschool. When I asked her about her day, she didn’t tell me she was too tired to talk, like she usually does. Instead she said, “Sometimes my imagination gets stuck in my brain and I can’t think.” I asked her to describe imagination to me. She said, “Imagination is like when you have a dream that you don’t want to sleep.” I’m not quite sure I know what that means but, strangely, I think I understand.

So, in a way, I asked her to humor me. When she wouldn’t tell me about her day, and she started talking about her imagination, I asked her about the carousel. Her eyes lit up. “Yes,” she said. “We rode on the carousel.” I then asked her what else she did. This is what she said:

Sophie: “First we climbed a mountain and then we slid down.”

Me: “What did you slide on?”

Sophie: “A swing. Sarin and Addy helped me take the chains off and we sat in them and slid down.”

Me: “And then what did you do?”

Sophie: “We rode in a carousel.”

Me: “What color horse did you ride?”

Sophie: “Pink, purple and then red and then yellow.”

Me: “And then what did you do?”

Sophie: “We went on some swings.”

Me: “And then what?”

Sophie: “Then we went for a picnic at the zoo.”

Me: “What did you eat?”

Sophie: “One turkey sandwich, one cracker with Boursin cheese and one sandwich and one bagel.”

Me: “What animals did you see?”

Sophie: “We saw the zookeeper feeding the monkeys. And we saw the polar bear and right then we went a little farther and then we realized something.” [Note: I’m sure that “realized something” is her quoting Mo Willems’  Knuffle Bunny. All this week she’s insisted on sleeping with Knuffle Buny and taking her Knuffle Bunny stuffed toy to preschool.]

Me: “What?”

Sophie: “Right when I dropped a piece of food a peacock came and ate it.”

Me: “Really?”

Sophie: “Yes. Then we went to Zoey’s house. And then we went inside. We went to all the rooms trying to find Zoey to play but then we realized something. She wasn’t there at all! First we looked up in a tree and she was there but then she ran away and hid in another spot. Then we went to a leaf pile and found her. The end.”

Yes, my little girl is growing up. Not only is she learning what imagination is, but she ended this tall tale with “the end.” Story, reality, imagination and truth are all becoming intertwined and, honestly, it makes me a little sad. I hope she continues her tall tales, if anything, to humor me.

I wrote as she spoke on a piece of folded up paper, during lunch. Today, not knowing what it was, she painted a picture of Zoey on that folded up paper, right over my writing. Zoey had hair, two eyes, a nose, a mouth and legs. The purple dress she added later sort of covered all this up but for a few minutes, at least, it was the first recognizable shape she’s ever drawn, aside from ladders and rainbows.

I’m totally keeping it forever.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” –Theodore Geisel