Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Right before Ian and I got married, Ian had a co-worker/friend who would often relate tales of his highly imaginative son, who apparently had a whole secret underground fantasy life as a superhero. The friend (whose name eludes me, if I ever knew it at all) confessed to Ian that the depth and scope of the fantasy life worried him somewhat, but Ian and I both enjoyed stories of the son (whose name also eludes me, although I remember that his superhero alternate identity was "The Bat"), and we both expressed the hope that our own future children would be equally imaginative and interesting.
Ladies and gentlemen, enter Max, stage left, and his "next life".
Max has been talking about his next life for awhile now. I don't remember exactly when it began, but the first specific thing I can remember was Max's assertion, shortly before Thanksgiving, that his "next grandfather" was building a spaceship for him and his cousin. Weird, thought Ian and I, and then we forgot about it. Then, one afternoon at preschool, Max was crying and saying that he wanted his mommy, and when I reminded him, "but you have your mommy. I'm right here!", Max tearfully corrected, "No, I want my next mommy!" Since then, Max's "next life" stories have grown to include a next house, which has an upstairs, blue and white walls, and seems to be located in a grove of palm trees near the Taco Bell we occasionally pass on the freeway. In this fabled dwelling, there seems to be an alternate for every person in Max's family. There is a next mama, a next dad, a next baby sister, etc. Our next selves seem, from Max's portrayals, to be very similar to our current selves, but with critical flaws and annoying habits corrected and eliminated. Max's next mommy, for instance, changes his diaper very rarely, and never cuts his nails. Max's next sister plays with him on demand and does not show any interest in his private property. Max's next cousin seems identical to Joey in every way except proximity -- Next Joey lives upstairs in Max's next house, presumably ready and waiting to be played with whenever Max is feeling social. In addition to these more or less familiar characters, colorful visitors show up from time to time and keep it all fresh and new -- Donald Pink, Baby Worms Who Have No Pockets, Santa, etc. We asked the universe for a child with an active imagination, and the universe delivered in spades. I could not be more delighted with him if I had chosen every single one of his characteristics off of a list and designed him by hand.
Posted by Chelsa at 9:08 PM