Somewhere here lies the the middle path between magic and science. Over the last few weeks Alder has been focused on the sun and where it goes at night. Asking each night where the sun is going as he is getting into bed. ‘Why is it getting dark Mama?’ he asks. I tell him that the sun is going down over the mountains. ‘Why’ he asks and I am paralyzed at first. At two and a half I feel that he needs some magic in his life. Besides the workings of the universe, even just the solar system are beyond his grasp. Yet the father sun stories I have heard used to explain the setting sun do not sit well with me either.
Instead I create my own tale. The sun goes to visit other people to the West (we use Dad Roger as our person) so that everything here can get some rest and the other people can be awake. We talk about how the people, plants and animals need sunlight as well as rest and how the sun (gender neutral) has learned how to help all of us have both sun and rest. I like my version of the story it allows the sun to still have a personality but as Alder grows up the story can easily transform into the scientific version.
I have struggled with the balance between magic and science since Alder was born, unsure of how much of each to give him. While we have always called blowing dandelion seeds freeing the fairies we also talk about seeds sprouting and how they need sun soil and water.
As a child I recall growing up in a world full of magical creatures as well as scientific facts (daughter of an anthropologist and an engineer) but somehow since having Alder I have been lost as to how to invite true magic into our lives. His imagination is full, of rivers to paddle and trains to drive, he isn’t interested in the small minute worlds that are so easily inhabited by magical creatures. We go to the library and he picks out books of dogs and bears and pigeons while I find fairies Father Twilight and magical worlds, my choices go mainly unread. As the Spring hatches I am tempted to take him on elf hunts in the woods near by, but then I find myself identifying birds with him instead. There is a feeling of discord when we mix the two together.
I would love any suggestions of how to mix and balance the worlds of childhood magic and natual study with out feeling as though my world is tipping off center (it literally is a physical senstion for me). What are some engaging picture books for a little boy who is so very boy with out us trying (except for his taste in shoes, his current selection is a pair of purple shoes a pair of brown boots and a pair of magenta rain boot…don’t even think of touching his rain boots they are sacred)