Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Backyard education...

So much of my childhood happened in our backyard. When I was little, it ceased to be a backyard and became a jungle, a castle, an ocean, or a forest, depending on where my imagination took me. I can remember getting yelled at by my mom to get out of the garden and yelling back that I wasn't in the garden, I was trying not to fall into the moat at the castle because a prince had just rescued me. (And actually believing that it was true.)

Yesterday I was reminded of these wondrous adventures as Mitchell's imagination transformed our backyard into Bob the Builder's workyard. I was Wendy, he was Bob, and Georgia was Pilchard. (Pilchard is a cat.) Scoop, Lofty, Muck...they were all there. The sandbox was the construction zone, the climber/slide was Bob's house (and sometimes a store), the sideyard was the rock quarry, the grass was the swimming pool, and the woodchipped area was the road.

I was picking weeds while the kids were playing and it was so fun to watch and listen to this magical land develop around him. (I have to say that Miss G never made it out of the backyard and into the workyard, but I know that all too soon she will create wonderful lands of her own out there.)

I should mention that I was asked to babysit his cat several times. Usually it went something like this:

Bob: "Uhhh, Wendy?"
Wendy: "Yes?"
Bob: "No, you need to say 'Yes, Bob' so that I know you're talking to me."
Wendy: "No prob, Bob."
Bob: "Noooooo, not 'No prob, Bob,' it's 'Yes, Bob.'"

(I really should give him a break, huh? Pulling weeds is just soooo boring sometimes!)

Wendy: "Right. Okay."
Bob: "Uhhhh, Wendy?"
Wendy: "Yes, Boooooooooob!"
Bob and Wendy both giggle.
Bob: "So, can you watch Pilchard for me? She's in my way and I've got important work to do."
Wendy: "Well, she's just a baby cat. She doesn't know what to do. You should show her."
Bob: "How about you show her what to do and I'll just keep on working."

(That wasn't a question.)

Wendy: "No prob, Bob."

Bob did end up teaching Pilchard a thing or two, and even got her a shovel of her very own when he was shoveling rocks and she wanted to help. Of course, Pilchard didn't read the unwritten rules that Bob got the yellow shovel and she got the red one, but it all worked out. I think she may have actually answered to "Pilchard" a time or two there towards the end. The last 20 minutes or so of our time outside involved Bob shoveling rocks and Pilchard watching him, often yelling, "Ohhhhh! Wak! Momma!! Wak!!"

I love knowing that regardless of where we live or what our yard looks like, my children can open the back door and step into whatever land they choose.

I am hoping that my invitation to join them never expires. It's another one of my happy places.


Earen said...

It's so wonderful that you take the time to go out & play with them! Sounds like lots of fun!

Renee said...

I felt like I was playing in your backyard with you and Bob! Thanks for sharing Mitchell's imagination with us. What a fantastic thing to keep a hold of! (When is it that we lose that wonderful sense of adventure and imagination?)

Sarah Markley said...

Ahh, the invitation to join! Sometimes I'm tempted to not join, but wash the dishes or something else. I have to remember (like you) that that may not always be there. Sounds like you all had fun.

Emily said...

What a wonderful legacy you have started by having these memories stored here. I know I don't have enough memory to remember things like this. Sounds like M has quite the imagination and isn't afraid to pull everyone into his little worlds. And I love that he made G the cat! What a cutie.