Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kid Vision

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?  


Pet Store  

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


Sarah Lena said...

Love this!

I have two boys and it's so easy to get overwhelmed at how I.NEVER.STOP.CLEANING, but sometimes? Sometimes I see just an inkling of what they do and I think, "Okay. The mop can wait."

Debi Stoll said...

AHHHHHH the free spirit in me is loving this! I want to come help! I have 2 creative boys and you should see our house....MESSY! I got a great idea from a friend of mine a few years ago to start framing their art from school. We have our own art gallery in their hallway.

Yes, you always wonder if you are boxing them in, but don't worry they bust out of it if you try to confine them. Hang on Sweet Pea it will be worth the ride!


Pastor Bobby Joe Hendrick said...

Kids are magical. I guess I stifled ours because our lawnmower was not magical, unless you consider making giant hairpins out of golf clubs left in the grass or interesting shapes out of mower blades. But they got over it. One of them moved to your house. Poppy

Pamela Nees said...

Love those kids!
And looks like a great book. I love Barbara Cooney's illustrations. One of my favs is Miss Rumphius- which she also authored.

Have fun with your Roxaboxus!

beth lehman said...

I love it. I have some of the same thoughts - creativity vs. crap.

missing africa said...

oh how my heart NEEDED this reminder as frustrated mom came out on my two very differently creative children- one who builds and creates things that are all sorts of weird objects (lets just call him my little african/hatian at heart cause he doesnt play with toys but makes toys out of trash) then my other who is a little tornado who loves to wear hats/jackets/gloves at the wrong times of the year so leaves them and shoes and socks all over the house. not sure if he is ultra laid back and does not have a problem with mess because he has already busied himself with the next thing. guess my irrational collect everything on the floor and store it in a box and lock the closets probably wont stick. wish you lived closer to let my boys come play with yours! blessings

Marla Taviano said...

Reserving this book at the library right this minute.

Adrian Waller said...

Added this to my "I HAVE TO BUY THIS WHEN I HAVE CHILDREN!" list. It's the first (and only) book on the list now. =)

Diabra said...

I feel your dilemma. Order versus creativity. Why oh why can't they co-exist? If I ever figure it out I'll let you know. I want kid vision for a little while too :)

Anonymous said...

Cool. I wish my children would be more creative than coughing these days.
Don´t worry about the mess! When GOD created this world it might have been looking pretty messy in the beginning. And now take a good look around how beautiful HIS ideas have turned out.


Kris said...

Years ago, our kids ruined a library copy of that book. They were so thrilled when we had to purchase it and even more thrilled that we could now read it over and over indefinitely. I think it's still on the shelf, and I'm not totally sure the baby (who is 11 and very similar in creativity to your son) remembers it. I'm going to go see if I can find it....

Angie said...

Oh sweet friend, I LOVE this post. I love the creativity, and your willingness to let your boys be boys. You inspire me (especially your honesty!) and I hope that I can be this for my kiddos too.

Kate said...

I LOVED Roxaboxen when I was a kid! It is one of the precious books that I have kept and will read to my own kids someday. It is awesome that your son created a real Roxaboxen! I wanted to so bad as a kid! Good for him.

Kayla said...

I need to read this book. Soon!

Dena said...

Your description of your Hayden flying in with excitement sounds just like my 11 yr old Hunter. This kid was born out of the box and everyday I have that same conversation w/myself, sure I'm doing it all wrong. I look at his friends' model home worthy rooms,and am sure his wife will someday hate me.
Thank you for sharing this - it encouraged me!

rossana9041 said...

sounds like a most wonderful day

Deborah K said...

The book "Westlandia" is pretty cool, too!