Dream Child

Most of us are lucky enough to give birth to our dream child - a beautiful, healthy boy or girl.

But sometimes our dream child turns into a dreamy child - a child who spends time looking out the window when he should be looking at the blackboard. A child who has to hear his name 10 times (in increasing increments of volume) before he knows you're talking to him. A child who forgets his lunchbox...even if you remind him to take it one second before he walks out the door.

Those of you with dreamy children in your house know what I mean. You know the frustration of shirts worn backwards, forgotten underwear, and shoes on the wrong feet.

The other day, my personal dreamy one came home with a string tied around his finger.

"What's that for?" I asked

"To remember not to bring an umbrella to school tomorrow," he answered self-assuredly.

"In my limited experience," I responded, "strings around fingers are to help you remember things, not forget them. Are you sure?"

"I'm sure, Mama. We're not supposed to bring an umbrella tomorrow."

I later learned the string really was to remember an umbrella, but dreamy children forget what strings around fingers are for.

I picked up his colored sand sculpture from his classroom last week. The bottles stood in a row: blues, pinks, oranges, and greens on top of one another making beautiful designs. All except the one at the end, which had a color of its own - a distinctive murky gray.

"He shook his up," the other children told me in explanation of my son's foggy creation.

To dreamy children the experiment is everything.

When he innocently tells me, "I'm sorry, Mama. I forgot," or "I wanted all the colors to be together," it doesn't matter about the umbrella or the sand sculpture. I watch him skip off through rain puddles, oblivious to the world, and I remind myself of some other dreamy ones whom the world wondered about for awhile.

"Did you get any work done today, Einstein? Or were you out daydreaming on a hill again?"

"Mrs. Edison, your son, Thomas, will never be able to learn in school."

"Look at that lazy Buddha. He's been sitting under that tree for seven times seven days now."

I guess there are worse role models to follow.

One of my son's favorite teachers told me he possessed all of childhood's most delightful qualities, but he seemed to be floating above the ground most of the time. She recommended I buy him a pair of very heavy boots to bring him down to earth.

I agreed that dreamy children should be brought down to earth, at least for short visits. But I'm not sure how to do it without squashing their dreams. Dreams are such fragile things.

I do know I haven't bought those heavy boots yet...and that my dreamy child is still my dream child.

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Sideways view compliments of my dreamy child, the only such view in the class.

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