Charlie has a fascination for statues. This seems to have begun after I took the boys to see the film 'Frozen' at the cinema a few weeks before Christmas; I think it started with the boys pretending they had been frozen into ice statues immediately after we left the cinema! Because they were all statues on the side of the road and weren't interested in getting into the car, I pretended that I was buying them from a statue shop, and then picked them up and strapped them into the car while they all maintained a statue pose! They all thought this was great fun, but something about it captured Charlie's imagination and he has been a statue at some point on almost every day since!
The statue game goes like this: Charlie will come to me and strike his statue pose (its always the same one) and hold up one of his hands to show me how much he costs. I then say how much I'd like to buy the statue, and pay an imaginary shop keeper for him. If I am with a particular friend, he likes us to pretend to squabble over who will buy him, and then eventually we decide to share him! After I have bought Charlie, he always turns into a baby saying "pretend the statue turns into your baby, and you love your baby!" Then we have some play where I am mummy and he is baby.
I have no idea how statues and babies are connected for Charlie, but I can see that he is thinking a lot about being a baby (or perhaps the fact that he is now growing up) at the moment. He likes to talk about being in my tummy and breastfeeding, he asks me about the things I did for him when he was a baby and we have looked through some baby photos together. Yesterday he drew a picture and told me that it showed me with he and Callum in my belly, and Oliver with he and Callum in his arms.
Last week I took the boys to our local cemetery where I knew there would be plenty of statues, and some Commonwealth War Graves that I thought Joseph would like to see. I remember walking around the same cemetery with my grandad and being fascinated by the big horse statue on one of the graves, and the statues surrounding it, and being told that they were the graves of a circus family.
Anyone who would like to read about the Sanger Family and their circus can make a start here.
The boys enjoyed the visit, but these statues didn't interest Charlie in quite the way I thought they might. Then, last Thursday lightening struck the thumb of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro! Oliver and I showed Charlie the BBC article, and he has been fascinated ever since! He has been asking all sorts of questions, and loves to pretend that he is Christ the Redeemer, I am the lightening striking his thumb and Oliver is the builder who repairs him! Yesterday we had a trip to the beach and took the boys to see the Lifeboat Man statue on our seafront, which is a memorial to a crew who were lost when a surfboat overturned in 1897 (more information here).
All across the beach and even beside the Lifeboat Man, Charlie was Christ the Redeemer!
Although I don't think I completely understand what Charlie's interest in statues is all about, I know that he loves stories and enjoys taking on characters and re-creating those stories, so when I explore statues with him, that will be the angle I take. He doesn't just like to be statues of course, he spends a good amount of time dressed as Superman, and loves to be Obi Wan Kinobe too!
There are lots of obvious things that Charlie is learning as a result of statues; he usually asks what material the statue is made from and we chat about why it may have tarnished or changed colour over time, we flew from home to Brazil on google maps to find Christ the Redeemer, we've looked at online news and there has been a lot of local history discussed around the Sanger graves and the Lifeboat Man. I can see though that there is so much more he is learning and experiencing that is not obvious to me and perhaps never will be. That doesn't matter. When Charlie asks me to strike him with lightening for the tenth time that day I know there is something wonderful going on inside of him, and I enjoy being a part of it. He is having a lot of fun, and where there is fun, learning thrives.