Caught at Play

#5, the two year-old, has the best imagination. He can get caught up in all kinds of invisible games and stories; shunning reality for whatever he sees hidden within his mind’s eye. He can make a toy out of most anything at hand, and he babbles his little game aloud unaware that the entire world can hear him.

The other day while the family was driving to church, Wife turned and noticed him. The boy had unclipped his clip-on tie and was in the middle of an animated conversation with it. He was using the clip as a jaw, we assume, and the two of them were babbling along quite happily; until he realized that he had been caught.

Once he felt that creepy sensation that someone outside of his circle was spying on him, he came back to reality and set about looking for that intruder. He found his mother watching with a broad smile of amusement. Well, he could not have people spying on his invisible land of imagination. He closed that door. His hands settled into his lap and a scowl covered his little face. With his eyebrows nearly touching the tip of his nose, he turned his head down so that he could secretly watch his mother to see when she turned away. And like clockwork, when Wife stopped observing the child’s play, #5 resumed his game with the clip-on tie.

There are two points that the little boy fails to realize. First is that there are other people around. The second is that he is playing aloud. Nobody sees you if you are still and quiet. But on the other hand, if he is running in circles, with a horse and knight in one hand, and a naked Barbie in the other, screaming incoherent jargon at the top of his lungs, somebody is going to notice. And when he sees that he has been caught, like a dog, he will slink away to some place where he believes himself to be alone to start the game up again.

Watching #5 reminds me of when I was small, imagining that rocks were cars and sticks were spaceships. Of course I never cocked an attitude when I found someone watching me. Now that I think, I do not remember anyone watching me. What a minute, who was watching me when I played?

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