One of the delightful pastimes I enjoy with Coco-Meister (age 5) and her sister, Bea (age 7) is painting our imaginations with the antics of Bun-Bun, formally Pink-Bunny, and Carrots, Bun-Bun's partner in fun. Both of them are known to have pizza parties with the other stuffed animals between the time we leave for a walk to the market and back.
Today, we enjoyed Bun-Bun catching a surf as we drove along the beautiful coast from Encinitas to La Jolla. Bun-Bun was on a really cool surfboard and shouted, "Cowabunga!" as most bunnies would in all the excitement and ocean mist swirling about on a long wave.
Though Bun-Bun is an expert surfer, is able to host awesome pizza parties for guests of no less than thirty and has all the skills needed for midnight runs out for ice cream when we're all asleep, at times she has to remain incognito if other new seven-year old kids are around, since according to Bea, "They would make fun of me, if they knew I love Pink Bunny!"
Of course, the impulse for peer acceptance overrides any effort to reassure Bea other seven-year old kids have their own loves that are deeply important. So as any Papa would do, I make accommodations and have a nice place for Bun-Bun to sit and read in my blue backpack until all is clear.
I very much enjoy all the little adventures that Bun-Bun and Carrots get into; I particularly like hearing about their mischief before they are off to sleep or at the dinner table.
Research reports what parents know and that is how important it is to encourage and be apart of our children's imaginary lives. One study indicates, "[C]areful attention to children's imaginative endeavors...will empower children to develop an invaluable tool that can be a contributing part of their repertoire for understanding and contributing to their worlds" (Eckhoff, 2008, p. 185).
Maybe what is needed is parents getting together to throw a party for stuffed animals. Sorry, I mean our little family members at the next opportunity? That could be a lot of fun, a bunch of parents with their kids and all their friends who do extraordinary things.
Next time you are traveling along the coast, look out into the water, smile and wave to Bun-Bun. She'll enjoy seeing you and you just may get a "Cowabunga!" to remember.
"Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination. But just as a muscle grows flabby with disuse, so the bright imagination of a child pales in later years if he ceases to exercise it." - Walt Disney
Eckhoff, A., et. al., Understanding Imaginative Thinking During Childhood: Sociocultural Conceptions of Creativity and Imaginative Thought. Early Childhood Education Journal v. 36 no. 2 (October 2008) p. 179-85