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My Imagination Is Lacking Imagination

By Michelle Gallerani

Publication: theday.com

Published February 01. 2012 4:00AM   Updated February 08. 2012 9:29AM

I've told you all before that I have a disturbing need to be the best at everything I do. By "best" I do not mean that I feel I am the best, but in some concrete and measurable way, the tasks I perform are better than the last time I performed them, or better than the last time you performed them. That's right, at some level I am pretty much in constant competition with myself or someone around me.

Here are a few examples: every week I try to do my grocery shopping faster than the week before. Yup, you bet I clock myself driveway to driveway. I get really excited when we have a family shopping outing because that means I can do Stop & Shop AND Target in the amount of time that it would take me to do just ONE of those alone.

I will look at the surrounding aisles and try to pick which one I think will be the fastest. Then I look at someone else who got in line the same time as me in a different aisle and see if I can get out faster than that person.

I will organize and reorganize the dishwasher trying to fit themostdishes in as I can.

This competition can be nice because it adds a layer of excitement to an otherwise pretty mundane and mind-numbing task. It can also mean that I am seriously crazy. I don't need you to tell me that these things I describe are probably listed in multiple entries of the DSM.

Why I am sharing my proclivities toward crazy with you? Well, because I am losing at something and it is not sitting well with me. While the hubbs didn't know we were having a competition, I am sad to report that his imagination is much better than mine.

We have reached the very fun (seriously) stage of imaginative play with Little Man. And guess what? I totally suck at it. I always enjoy watching The Hubbs playing cars or animals or Legos with Little Man. They make up stories, the Cars have conversations with each other, the animals fight each other, the Lego men chase each other. I've noticed these are not games Little Man asks me to play with him. We play other games, but not ones where you have to make stuff up. Apparently I'm not the only one who's noticed I suck at it.

This is not much of a surprise to me, honestly. I remember my outrage when I was younger when my friends would mush together the play-doh colors. OHMYGOD, how are you going to make the food look EXACTLY like the box when you are working with swirled play-doh? Hot-dogs are not green! That is NOT how spaghetti is supposed to look. DON'T YOU SEE THE BOX?!? THE BOX!! DO IT LIKE THE BOX!!

You can imagine my abject horror to see Little Man mush together ALL THE COLORS within 10 minutes of taking them out of the box. In an attempt to not make my kid as crazy as me, I bit my tongue and let him make a greenwhiteorangebrownredyellow giant hot dog. That's what imagination is all about right? Right?!??! Someone tell me, because clearly I have no clue how it works.

I also loved Lego sets when I was little. But you know what I didn't do with them? Build stuff made up from my head. I built it just like the instructions said. Ahhh....instructions. To make it look JUST.LIKE.THE.BOX. And then when I was done with that, I would take it apart and try to make it look like the other alternate building options that were ON THE BOX. So again, it makes me a little twitchy when I spend the time to build the Duplo construction set and fire house per the instructions (which don't worry if you lose them, you can find them online--a link specifically created for people just like me) and Little Man just comes all Godzilla on the scene and smashes everything to smithereens.

When Little Man asks me to build him a house, I get a little nervous inside. The Hubbs can build a mean Duplo abode and I am too concerned with finding enough of the same color to get past building the first wall.

Ok, I am exaggerating. But really? Only a little tiny bit. My imagination sucks. And I am putting it in writing that The Hubbs is better than me at making things up.

But you know what? Little Man is teaching me some stuff in this department. Maybe it is OK that the play-doh is Ka-ka brown because it is still fun. Maybe the Duplo house can have holes in the walls and be all different colors because The Guys (Duplo people) still love it and so does Little Man. Maybe I don't have to be the best at everything I do as long as I am having fun while I do it.

And maybe I don't have to be better than The Hubbs at Imagination because I am definitely better at other things. Like breastfeeding.

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