KIDLAND

My 26-year-0ld son doesn’t speak “kid” anymore. I’m way past my prime for pregnancy. So, I visit kidland wherever and whenever I can. I nag my neighbor about playdates with her kids. I twist on park swings, listening to the chatter. I visit Wee Readers at our local library.

Last week at Wee Readers, a gaggle of giggling four year olds played house and school. Boy, imaginary play hasn’t changed all that much! I sat still and took notes.

Here’s my older sister and me–a kid long ago.

“I’m a puppy. Woof! Woof! Woof!”

“I’m a cat. Meow!”

“I’m a dog. Bark! Bark!”

I’m a train. Woooo! Woooo!”

“You can’t be a train.”

“I’M A TRAIN.”

“NO. YOU CAN’T BE TRAINS.”

“Why?”

“YOU’RE PEOPLE.”

Writing for kids is a fun challenge for me. They think outside the box of adult imagination. When I’m chest-high in the muck of wordplay, a blinking cursor is my worst enemy. I “shut down” and go to kidland. I’m always surprised by how kids talk, think, and never sit still. Kids remind me to be honest, dig deep, and be real in my writing. But I’m still wondering: if we can be puppies, cats, and dogs, why can’t we be trains? Wooo Wooo

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