I recently chanced upon a place for kids 7 and under called Imagination Avenue. It totally lives up to it's name with none of the automated talking toys or things with flashing lights such that a parent begins to wonder if seizures are meant to be one of the side effects. They have an entire little town (fire station, police and jailhouse, boutique, grocery story, bakery and yes, even Home Depot) built in a circle with a paved road and in the center of it all is a gated play place for children 2 and under so ALL the children can be under a parent's watchful eye all the time. It's not large (obviously) but ever so cute and fully accessorized. There are grocery carts, baby strollers, a truck, police car and firetruck. Chalk and eraser with desks are in the school and a kitchen (refrigerator, oven and cupboards) complete the house. Oh, don't forget the ironing board, something every child wants to imitate but as adults we avoid like the plague! It was darling! Keila and I went one morning while Isaac was in school and she had a blast exploring and playing while I had fun squeezing into small areas to capture the miniature town.
Gotta love the cheese smile!
I tried to get Keila up in the little jailhouse so I could write a whole story about her robbing the grocery store and taking off down the road with the cart but she wouldn't cooperate!
Gotta enjoy a cup of hot chocolate after a long day of work.
We went again about a week later as a whole family. Isaac was totally enamored with the truck which he quickly loaded with as many tools as possible to 'fix' the house.
He was a pretty safe driver, shoulder checking as he moved on and off the road and looked back carefully when he backed out of the drive. Maybe there's hope for us and a few less grey hairs come the teenage years!
Keila's expression reminds me of myself whenever I bake (which is rare for good reason) ... "Something just doesn't seem right about these cookies ..."
It was nice having Kent there and we switched off watching the kids. It gave me the chance to reflect on the irony of it all. Here my children can happily spend endless hours imitating and pretending to do the mundane chores of my life. I remember I was once that way, but when did it all change? When did cooking become a chore rather than a fun activity? Grocery shopping? I'm pretty sure when I felt the weight of responsibility that things shifted but then I sometimes wonder if it would be a little more fun again if I stressed less. Perhaps if I wasn't so rushed for time (which I'm trying to save so I can move on to the next mundane chore ...) but a little more present. I suppose I'd lose efficiency but than again I might gain a little more happiness along the way. I'm sure there's a balance to be had, but I'll be darned if I can find it. I just know that when I watch my children having fun doing the things I do every day of my life, I think to myself that I ought to feel a little more joy in the living of life!