A Child's Imagination

Saturday, December 27, 2008
I recently took my daughters to see their 17 year old cousin at her workplace, tula, an upscale boutique in Shrewsbury, NJ. I wanted to see the much raved about boutique and to visit my niece, show her our interest in her work. Plus, I was dying to see the clothes, bags, jewelry and shoes. I honestly thought the girls would be bored in the shop. After all, what 2 and 6 year olds want to browse a shop in which there is nothing for children?

While I looked at every single piece of clothing, my niece occupied the girls (when she wasn't helping customers). She showed them scarves and how to wear them. She showed them different styles of bags, clutches, wristlets. She showed them jewelry and the best tops to wear with the jewelry, being sure to emphasize how not to over accessorize!

As we were leaving, I thought the trip to tula was just another tag along shopping excursion for the girls. They love to shop but don't see it much beyond the acquisition of new clothes. But this trip to see my niece was different. In the car on our way home, Emma asked Harper if she wanted to play store when they get home. Harper said that she did...what else would she say? Emma explained how they would set up either the playroom or their bedroom like the store where Hayley works. It was an elaborate explanation of how they would set up tables with clothing, purses and shoes on display. Earrings and necklaces would be placed on a different table. Emma continued by saying that they would put music on but it wouldn't be very loud because music is never loud in stores. She said that it's loud enough to make you happy and make you want to spend more money. How does she know this? I know it works for me, but I wasn't aware that it works for her too!

When we arrived home, they immediately went upstairs and set up their store. About 15 minutes later, Henry and I were invited to go shopping. Of course we jumped at the chance, we couldn't wait to see them in action. It truly is amazing how the imagination of a child works. I realized how they, certainly Emma, were so observant of Hayley and her co-workers, watching every move they made and listening to every word they spoke. Emma took a real world experience and transformed it, using her imagination, into the world of a child. She didn't miss a detail. Emma suggested taking my clothes and starting a fitting room for me. She recommended tights and shoes for my outfits. It was so much fun to play with them.

I miss that kind of childhood role playing. As adults, we rarely role play. I did so much of it when I was young...mostly in the form of playing school and being the teacher. Playing store was unexpected family fun, and isn't that the best kind? We can't wait to do it again!

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