Laura on Life... The Art of Pretending
By Laura Snyder The art of pretending seems to be disappearing from the playgrounds and day care centers of America. Kids these days have so many toys that there is no need to pretend. When I was a kid, I had one Barbie doll and if it came with a...
By Laura Snyder
The art of pretending seems to be disappearing from the playgrounds and day care centers of America. Kids these days have so many toys that there is no need to pretend.
When I was a kid, I had one Barbie doll and if it came with a set of clothes, I don't remember what they were. The reason for this is that most of the time I was "pretending" that she was a nurse, a pilot, a teacher, a pet shop owner...etc. She needed a different outfit for all of these roles, so I just played with her naked and pretended that she was wearing the correct uniform.
I would turn my wooden desk upside down and ...Voila!... a Barbie Townhouse! Or maybe it was a classroom or a hospital or a tree house. Barbie might go into the "hospital" and come out with a "baby" Lincoln Log. The specifics of what happened while she was in the hospital eluded my seven-year-old mind, so I simply pretended it was magical.
Barbie went on many adventures. She rode to Africa on a magic carpet (my pillowcase) after rubbing a magic lamp (a Dixie cup wrapped in aluminum foil). She lived in the woods (in my closet) and made friends with my stuffed animals. She was a princess in a castle which is a popular theme for her today. Only my castle wasn't a perfect pink and gold plastic palace, but rather it was the bunk-bed in the room I shared with my sister. Our castle was draped in finery (flannel sheets) and furnished with royal thrones (hard cover books with the cover propped open).
Although our Barbies were quite naked, we'd pretend that they had beautiful ball gowns. We'd have long discussions about what they were wearing and each of us would drag from our imaginations the most beautiful gown we could think of.
"My Barbie is wearing blue with golden sleeves."
"My Barbie has hair that goes down to the floor."
"My Barbie got wings from her fairy godmother."
"My Barbie owns a private dragon who flies her anywhere she wants to go."
The sky was the limit when we were pretending. There was no need for all of those tiny plastic accessories that I now have scattered hither and yon throughout my house.
Those tiny purses, shoes, tiaras, and jewelry that get sucked up into my vacuum cleaner on a regular basis could be simply "pretended" into existence. If they were, I would only have to "pretend" them out of existence and my vacuum cleaner wouldn't suffer.
Yesterday, my daughter said she needs the Barbie limousine. When I asked why she needed it, she said "Barbie doesn't like being stuck in the house all day!"
"Well, she can leave anytime she wants to if you use her pretend car...or maybe a pretend plane."
"Oh, mommy, she can't have a plane", she said with a "you're silly" look.
"A plane would cost waaayyyy too much money."
So, I guess that means that my daughter's imagination is limited only by my budget.
You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her Web site www.lauraonlife.com for more columns and information about her books.