It’s not I who is always the most rational one, at least between us two. “You need to clean up your toys from the living room floor.” I insist. “Your LEGOs are all over the place. You’re going to lose some pieces.”
“But I’m still playing with them.”
“You’re not playing with them right now, so clean them up.” I say sternly.
A disgruntled huff, but she gets down onto the floor and starts raking up the variety of multi-coloured pieces with her hands, scooping them into one big pile and unceremoniously into their plastic bin.
“You aren’t going to organize them better than that?” I ask.
“Why?” Comes the seemingly-simple reply, a single word shrouded with so much of a mentally disconnected and cavernous gap between us two that the echo it made was palpable.
“You’re mixing up the sets.” I say, and start muttering ravenously enough that the exact words come out something almost like: “We just bought that one and… those pieces are part of the… you can’t put the pink and grey bits together…”
She has stopped scooping and is miming a dejected-and-defeated pose, crouched on the floor. “Why not?” She asks.
I catch myself. “I don’t know.” I really don’t.
nurturing imagination, rule 007
break the directions: mix up all the pieces
Far be it from me to stumble into a cleverly-disguised rant about a certain plastic construction brick company and their not-as-creative-as-they-used-to-be play sets. That’s not the point. After all, just because the “instructions” are provided doesn’t necessarily mean that those rules are carved in stone, either. Some toys have rules. Other toys have rules that can be bent, broken or mixed up together to make new rules… which I’ve often found leads to a too-often-neglected garden of imagination.
As a grown up I find myself becoming a collector of categories. I find myself inclined to meet some irrational need to re-assemble my old sets from dusty bins and rumpled papers for the purpose of display, or to set new ones into their pristine and intended configurations upon a shelf. More often, however, I find I need to catch myself and remind that collector in me that he not the same as a six year old girl who needs to mix-and-match all the plastic bits. Sometimes that spaceship she’s building just needs to be pink.