Thursday, February 10, 2011

Swimming with the clownfish

Nemo and his dad
Some weeks ago Peter and I watched Finding Nemo with the kids. I had forgotten how stressful the movie is, as a little ocean-dwelling clownfish takes on hostile species as well as natural and man-made barriers to find his tiny son.

But the successes of small fish against daunting obstacles have inspired imaginative play on the part of Augie and ViMae.

Today we were all sitting on the bed. At first the bed was a boat surrounded by water. We pretended to catch a series of fishy types.

Augie: "I'm reeling in a killer whale, better watch out."

Vi: "I'm reeling in a sting ray, don't let it sting you." (Throwing self on bed) "I'm crushing it."

Augie again: "I'm reeling in a clownfish. He's telling jokes." I burst out laughing. He continues: "Too many jokes. Throw him back." Clearly Nemo and his dad have no special privileges here.

After a while, the kids decided to "dive into the water." Augie gave instructions: "We'll swim through the jelly fish but stay on top so they can't sting us. Then swim through the wall of bubbles, then race to the...." By then he was talking faster than we could follow. And they were off, leaping off the bed and swim/crawling as fast as they could across the room, down the hall, and back. They'd clamber aboard the bed/boat and immediately scramble off again.

It's interesting to see how the struggles and successes of a couple of clownfish and their friends can empower children's imaginations. 


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