"Mommmmmy," the child was crying, "No go poopoo in the potty. I don't like it. No!"
Gosh, that poor mom looked like she was at the very end of her rope. This was obviously not a new battle and she was at a loss. I remember very clearly potty training being the ultimate point of control. And, I got, it, I really did. Toilets are scarey. They are loud, dirty and the water just goes down and disappears to unknown places then fills back up again miraculously. Even still, at seven, my daughter is convinced that an alligator is going to pop up out of one specific toilet in our house while she is on it.
An alligator? Really? How did she even come up with this? It's like a song by Anne Murray I used to sing when she was little: Hey Daddy there's a dragon on the driveway; Momma there's a grizzley on the lawn. You better come quick 'cause there's hippo in the bathtub and it's going down the drain oh no it's gone.
The song has always reminded me of the funny things my brother and I would make up when we were young. Whole worlds were under our influence and control. Like a superpower, apparently imagination can be used for good or for evil... and probably sometimes both.
As an adult though, I find it is much more difficult to get in touch with my inner child's imagination. It requires suspending disbelief.... and taking off the jaded filter I constantly wear. But, when an author does it, asks what if and doesn't get bogged down in the 'buts....." it can make a fantastic story. Right now I am reading one that must have taken just that sort of imagination: The Do-Over by Kathy Dunnehoff. Is it possible bubble-bath could really be so important to a mom that they would panic if they ran out? If that happened, what would the mom do? Track some down of course, and thus Ms. Dunnehoff is able to create a situation where the hero escapes her everyday life. It is a wonderful story and strangely relateable even with such a far fetched plot.
And this is the power of reading and writing; it exercises our imaginations in a way nothing else can, (well, except maybe playing dolls or legos with a 7 year old).
So, grab a good book (maybe mine, but if you are a mom, definitely Kathy Dunnehoff's), lock the door and take a seat for a while. I promise an alligator won't disturb you.
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