Very often, the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children's games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups - playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.

~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Friday, December 9, 2011

Oyama and the Bears

Last summer, we witnessed the appearance of Oliver's imaginary friends: Oyama and the Bears.  In fact Oliver and I mentioned them in a previous post.  They have appeared off and on since then, although Oliver frequently goes for weeks without mentioning them.   They've been around more this week though, so I decided it was time to share a little bit about these friends that live in our house, go places with us, and have their own adventures.

First, what we know about them.  Oyama is a girl.  Until today, we have not known much more about her looks.  we have no idea where her name came from - it is as made up as she is.  But, I'll save those details for later.  Trust me, it is worth the wait.  There are several bears, specifically, there have been as many as 12.  Last summer, the bears were small enough for Oliver to carry them in his hands.  Now, they've grown up quite a bit.  Apparently, they no longer fit in his room so they sleep in the basement.  I learned this one morning when we were going downstairs and Oliver told me we had to be quiet and whisper because Oyama and the Bears were still sleeping.

This week, I found out that Oyama and the Bears were hanging out in the car with us.  Oliver likes to play a game when we drive where he requests that I make various kinds of food and serve it to him, Coco, and Bear (those are his special animals that go everywhere with us).  So I wave my hands around, ask what is going on the pizza and cake, and pretend to bake it and serve it.  Well, one morning this week he requested pizza and cake.  They all had little bit.  I dropped him off at daycare, and when I picked him up he wanted me to make pizza.  I told him there were leftovers from the morning.  He said no, it was all gone.  I asked if someone had come in the car and eaten it - apparently someone had.  You guessed it - Oyama and the Bears like pizza.

As for adventures, this week Oyama and the Bears went stomping through the woods to a house with "plenty of toys."  Apparently this also had beds, but no chairs, tables, or food.  Hmmm.  So now you are getting the idea.  So far, Oyama and the Bears have not gotten into trouble and seem to be quite well behaved.

Now, this morning, I finally learned more about what Oyama looks like.  Our conversation went like this:

Oliver: Mommy, what's in the woods?
Me: You mean what animals?
O: Yeah.
Me: Well, there are deer in the woods.
O: Like Oyama?
Me: Oyama is in the woods?
O: Yeah!
Me: Oh really?
O: No, she's in our house.
Me: Oh, ok, that's what I thought.
O: Oyama has antlers!

With a little more clarification, I learned that Oyama is still a girl even though people don't have antlers.  Well, if you were a Reading Rainbow fan as a kid like I was, you might be thinking this sounds familiar.  This is why: 

And no, Oliver has never seen this book.  But at least I feel like I have finally seen Oyama.