Hayden ran in the house breathless. Hair a mess. His hands clutching a book. Wild with excitement. "Mom. Aunt Lynsey said this book is about some kids who make their own city! Their own city! She said I could borrow it!"
"Aunt Lynsey knew you'd be all about that, didn't she." He flashed that sweet smile and then threw himself down on the couch and started eagerly turning pages...looking at the pictures. "They have their own money! And stores! And..."
"Hayden. Why don't you take a second and breathe...and then read it. You know...not just look at the pictures."
He read each page slowly, concentrating on the artwork. When he finished he set the book aside. It was obvious. This thin, beautifully written and illustrated book had deeply inspired him. There would be no rest for anyone until Hayden had created his own Roxaboxen town.
Some days it's fun having a way-way out there child in this house. His way of looking at the world and the people in it stop us dead in our tracks some days. His way of refusing to live in this world or notice people right in front of him some days also causes us to take pause. Either way, we learn a great deal from this kid. Most days I look at his insanely messy room, school basket, back pack, seat at the table, his clothes that are always a mess or ruined...and I end up frustrated. Books and bloggers really talk up raising creative kids. It's all the rage these days. What people fail to mention is that if you succeed at creating a creative child or if you're like a lot of people (us) and end up with one even though you put zero effort into the process the fact remains: Your house will be a mess. You'll have a grand total of three spoons in your silverware drawer, you'll find a fresh batch of totally weird and random items sitting around your house every single day, and you'll kick yourself for not buying stock in Crayola. It's not uncommon for me to fall asleep while having this conversation in my mind: "Am I stifling his creativity? I want him to be himself. I want him to be creative. I want home to be a safe place for him to create and to feel understood. But for the love. His crap is all over this house. He's a walking disaster. I have to attempt to help him learn to be responsible and at least claim temporary residence on Earth. Right? His wife will probably thank me one day for discouraging the hoarding of bizarre, tiny items. Right? Right? I'm probably cramping his style and ruining him. Ruining him! Snore. Rinse and repeat a few nights later.
His eyes crazy with the Roxaboxen bug, I went ahead and laid down some ground rules. "Hayden. If you take something out of the house for Roxaboxen, you have to clear it with me first. Okay. No exceptions. He nodded. I'm pretty positive he caught zero percent of what I said.
The kids got busy. Gathering rocks for their "territories." Finding tiny, shiny stones for their "money."
Kids are magical. Are they not?
I'm guessing that the first "structures" you build in your town are probably what you think are fundamental elements of a legit society.
If this is the case, then our sons are building their city on the pillars of carbs and earthworms.
Standing out there today watching them work and listening to them plan their city I was very aware that my eyes were not seeing what their eyes were seeing. I'd pay a lot of shiny stones to have a few hours of kid-vision. Wouldn't you?
This just in: The girl cousins have opened up a flower shop in the town of Roxaboxen today. Classy, no?
Other Roxaboxen Posts:
Not One of Them Ever Forgot
Moving on Down the Road