Did You See Me Dwiving? (Thoughts on Creativity and Kids)



Back when Clothilde was just a little grub, a friend of mine stopped by just to pick something up.  She left her 3-year old in the car, strapped into his car seat while she ran in, but of course we started chatting for a few minutes.  Mirin was playing outside, and all of a sudden I heard him start screaming.  I threw open the front door, and Mirin was running over, yelling and pointing at my friend’s car.

“What’s the matter?” I said, alarmed.

“The car…he’s driving the car,” Mirin said.

My friend leaned out.  “Oh no, Mirin, don’t worry,” she said.  “I just left the car running for a minute.  He’s strapped into his car seat.  He can’t get out.”

Just then I heard the car engine rev (I think the little booger was actually slipping down the front of the seat and stepping on the accelerator).  I looked and saw her son twisting the steering wheel with a huge grin on his face.  “No, he’s out!”  I said suddenly.   “He really is out!”

Within seconds his mom had cleared the yard and yanked open the passenger’s side door.  “Mommy, did you see me dwiving?” were his enthusastic words.

“No, baby,” she said, pulling him out.  “That’s bad.”

The incident had an enormous affect on Mirin and Rose.  They both sensed the danger of the situation (thanks to Mirin we stopped him before he managed to put it in ‘drive’), and our relief that he was okay.  Mirin talked about it for weeks afterwards.  Eventually it inspired a game between them that they call The Bad Baby Game.

Over the past two years the game has grown with more characters added.  They’ll come up with a story line, and then act it out in a hilarious improvisational drama.  Bad Baby is the main character (always Rose, for some reason!).  He drives and smokes cigars.  You can always tell it’s him, even if he’s dressed up funny, because his lips stick out from a tragic beer-drinking accident where his lips got sucked into the bottle.

Dada is always trying to get Baby to behave, but he never can.  Once Baby cut Dada’s hair and gave him a reverse-mullet reverse-mowhawk (what would that even look like?  This whole story just cracks me up!).  He is very allergic to anything that comes from the Kangaroo gas station, so Baby is always slipping him things that come from there.

There’s also Big Brudder, who is Baby’s older accomplice.  And Baby has a girlfriend.  Sometimes when Dada yells at Baby because he’s not behaving, Baby’s beautiful girlfriend will breeze in and they’ll drive away together in a fancy car – Baby at the wheel.

When Baby gets in trouble with the police, he has a “Money Button” that he uses to bribe his way out of everything (I want one of those!).

It’s become this elaborate, funny story that they have written and acted out together over the past two years.  I am awed by their creativity and what they have come up with (it also horrifies me just a little).

One thing we don’t really include in our “formal” homeschool are a lot of little crafty/creative things.  I know that sounds funny, because Waldorf education is all about integrating creative/crafty activities into learning.

Early on I tried to do more structured creative things with them, and there was so little enthusiasm.  It was just another assignment, and they would rush through it to go REALLY play and be creative.  I really think true creativity needs to be unstructured, spontaneous.  That’s the struggle for successful artists/musicians/performers everywhere.  Once they’ve made something that really resonates, people want more from them.  And then it’s a job.  Then it’s not spontaneous, and they struggle with creative blocks.

There is so little time in modern childrens’ lives for that kind of creative spontaneity, but I think it’s so important for them to be explorers of their world in that way.  I think even we “grown-ups” could also use a break from the stresses of the day and the siren call of the Screen that distracts so many of us from our beautiful, interesting, creative world.

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