The Purse Mousies
I am an only child, and as the only, I learned early how to entertain myself when there was no one to play with. Growing up, my house was quiet; if there was noise, it was because I was the one making it. I did watch a good deal of TV, but I also enjoyed making up stories. Some stories were elaborate, resulting in days and days of continuous play. Some stories lasted only a few hours, and others never made it off of the ground. Exercising my imagination was easy and fun.
I still create stories, and like to believe I am a good storyteller. I don’t know where my plot lines come from; they just appear in my brain… breezing in, and rolling out. Often I can’t remember a story after I’ve finished telling it. Ask The Girlie. I make up most of my tales for her. She’ll sometimes ask me to retell one that she really liked – and usually I can’t do it. I might remember the characters involved, but the specifics? Not so much. It’s almost like I’m a conduit for silly stories, and once I give one voice, it’s gone.
For example, I’ve created a whole line of stories over the years about a character named Wendell the Worm. He’s a funny fellow who has adventures with his friend Sammy the Spider and a crew of misfits named the Marshmallow Posse. Wendell. Loves. Eating. Marshmallows. He does. He can’t resist marshmallows, and actively searches the globe for them. Whenever Wendell finds marshmallows, he eats a gazillion until he is beyond full, and has to lay back and groan. I get the most giggles from The Girlie with the inevitable groaning gluttony that punctuates the end of every Wendell story. Where has Wendell travelled in his quest for marshmallows? Can’t remember. Who has he met along the way? Not sure. What obstacles has he faced? Um…. Yeah. Challenging ones? The Girlie knows the answers to all of these questions, though. Maybe someday she’ll write The Chronicles of Wendell.
Imagination is a skill that all children initially have, but for various reasons, not all are allowed to keep. Fostering a child’s creativity and imagination is an important part of parenting, one that often gets overlooked or undervalued. I work hard at maintaining my imagination skills because I think it makes me a better parent, but also because it makes me a better ME. I know I am a happier person because of my crazy imagination. Keeping it active and alive is definitely harder as an adult; there isn’t the space or time for creative play unless I consciously make it. But, whenever I do find the time, I am generously rewarded for my efforts.
And now, I’d like to introduce you to the Purse Mousies.
I can hear you asking “Purse Mousies? You mean Mice, right?”
Nope. Mousies. They named themselves. Go with it.
It all started last year, when the family and I went shopping at Ikea. As we were walking aimlessly around the showroom, The Girlie discovered a display of stuffed mice priced at 88 cents each. Out of the hundreds of mousies jumbled up in a ginormous bin, a dozen or so had their heads and whiskers peeking up, luring passerbys closer with tiny inquisitive gazes. The Girlie and I could not resist the toys’ silent pleas to come and play. We spent a good chunk of time looking through the bin, searching for ones we thought would like to become part of our family. The Girlie chose a mouse of each color: brown, gray and white. We happily pushed the three mousies around the store in the front of our cart, and later snuggled them into my purple purse once through the cashier line. By the time we arrived at home, The Girlie and I had created a name and personality for each mousie, complete with backstory. Ok. I know I have an imagination that runs on hyper-drive, but I’m proud to say that my girlie isn’t far behind. I. Love. My. Girlie.
Brownie is the brown mousie. She likes word games, card games, coffee shops and sleeping. She also likes to tap her tail to music, and will be the first to admit that while she can keep a constant beat, she can’t sing in tune.
Smudge is the gray mousie. He likes food. Any food. In fact, whenever he smells food he pops out of the purse and excitedly squeaks “food?” He also has perfected THAT look, you know, the pleading-eyes look that makes you hand over your last bit of a cookie even though you don’t want to? Smudge is super sweet, and I think the most loveable of the three, but I’ll never admit to playing favorites.
Once we arrived at home, Snowflake, Brownie and Smudge never ventured out to explore our house. They wanted to stay in the purse. After a week had passed, we tried luring them out to play, to no avail. Instead, they informed us that they planned to stay in or around the purse at all times. It was never up for discussion! So, except for small excursions out to say hello or watch a movie or eat a treat, the three mousies make their forever-home in my purple purse.
I’ve gotten used to carrying the Purse Mousies with me every day. In fact, I kinda like it. We all know that I’ll never ask them to find another place to live, and honestly, I hope Snowflake, Brownie and Smudge stay forever.
The Take Away
Let your mind wander into the realm of make believe and whimsy for a little while today. See what happens. You probably won’t end up with stuffed mice in your purse, but you might create a good story or two…