On Raising a Creative, Dreamy Child

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I’m an easygoing person. Sometimes to the point where I’m sure people want to slap me to see if there’s anything going on inside, but I’ll consider this a positive thing. Lots of noise, lots of people, lots of chatter, lots of questions are all things that stress me out beyond belief and shut me down.

I was (and still am) rather shocked when my first born didn’t pop out a carbon copy of me, but she is a talkative, confident red head. And then there’s little Beckett.

He’s not shy, but he is a bit reserved. Like he prefers to watch when the other kids in his kindergarten line are beating on each other with backpacks or yelling for someone to “RUN!!! to the line. He smiles and enjoys it all, but he’s not an instigator.

Incidentally, all year his teacher has been remarking about how much he spaces out in class. Yep. That’s my boy. He’s got both feet, and 95% of his brain firmly planted in his own world. And a colorful, exciting, hilarious, fantastic world it is. I ADORE being privy to his sound effects and extensive conversations, and usually he prefers to play by himself, with whatever guys he’s favoring at the moment.

I can set him up with a big fresh batch of play dough, and he will play the shit out of that stuff for hours. I want to wrap him up in his bubble so he can hold onto that forever. But then that would be creepy if he was doing this as a grown man, so I’ll deal.


Ironically, this is the issue that has pierced my laid-backness. I tend to not get worked up about much (except when people don’t put their grocery carts in the corrals) but stupid public stupid schools are making me crazy.

I’m seeing Beckett not reading at the same rate as most of his classmates, and how much concern that is causing in our highly competitive school system. He meets with a special reading teacher and 2 weeks ago he was even tested by a specialist. To look for a learning disorder? Autism? I’m still not sure what. She came back with the same conclusion: he’s dreamy.


He daydreams. He pauses before he answers a question because who-the-fuck-is-yanking-me-out-of-my-creative-daze to count backward from 20 yet again?

So I work with him to read like a good public school mom, and I try to make it as fun as I can, as I drill him again on his site words. We’ll use funny voices, and decide which words rhyme with potty words.

But most of the time I let him play. And hold onto his fabulous alternative worlds. And I crab at Christian about how a society that really seems to be embracing creativity can still manage to so effectively keep it out of the school systems.

I know soon enough he’ll be where is sister is, sitting in front of a computer, working through thousands of math problems so he can memorize how to find the area of a circle from the radius. So I’m protecting his creative dreaminess so fiercely right now, because I know in a few years, THIS is what will set him apart from the other students in a way that will help him so much more than math problems. He can look that up. He can’t look up how to how to use his imagination.


  1. 03/22/2015 / 9:22 am

    My son was also not “up to par” with his reading at that age. He graduated with a degree in English from Bates, a demanding college and is about to graduate with a master’s in divinity from Union Theological in NYC. He’s also an amazing writer of unusually creative stories. We are in a highly competitive suburban school district, but improvement only came when I started working as you are making the process fun and adventurous.

    I so agree with you about the lack of time spent on the creative process in the classroom. I spent a lot of time volunteering in his classroom. I was surprised to find how little time is spent on actual teaching. Administrative things and lining up to go here and there sucked up most of the day. More often than not, my job was to hurry kids through whatever they were working on in order to keep to the schedule. We do need to work on our education system.

    • 03/24/2015 / 7:51 pm

      Yes! That hurrying from one thing to the next is the worst. Especially at our half day kindergarten, where they get only 3 hours to cram all this stuff in. And the kids can’t process or really absorb any of this in any sort of meaningful way. I love the anecdote about your son, and I know Beckett will be just fine- I’m just sooooo frustrated! What could our schools bring out of our kids if they rounded out the education more? Anyway….

  2. twisterfish
    03/22/2015 / 11:14 pm

    That last paragraph lady, well that right there is the secret. And you’ve get it! Your boy is very lucky to have a mom who knows what’s important.

    • 03/24/2015 / 7:40 pm

      Well you’re sweet. I suppose at least I’m not stressed out by it, and so it will be very fun to see what kind of a weirdo he turns out to be…

  3. 03/23/2015 / 2:29 pm

    I love that Beckett is a dreamy, creative child. The apple does not fall far from the tree!

    • 03/24/2015 / 7:29 pm

      Heh, heh. Maybe he’ll end up being a mom blogger. 🙂

  4. Stephanie
    04/09/2015 / 4:17 pm

    As a public school ART teacher and parent, I completely get it! It is incredibly frustrating for me to have a student ask me what I want them to do when creating artwork. Ugh! I always answer, “Well, what do you want? What do YOU want it to look like? What do YOU want to express?” Some times I see the light come on (Woo-hoo!). But way too often I receive nothing but a blank stare and white paper.
    Believe me, most public school teachers do not want students to be mindless robots, spitting out unimaginative, rote answers. Unfortunately, the powers that be (ie, disconnected politicians with little to no education background) seem to think the only way to ‘get ahead’, is high-stakes testing, ridiculous curriculum demands, and reliance on so-called education reform from companies that just want to make a buck.
    Keep fighting for your wonderful boy and encouraging his creativity! We need more parents like you!

    • 04/10/2015 / 1:19 pm

      Hey Stephanie- Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! You teachers are really my heroes- stuck in the middle and working so hard on our kids’ behalves. It must be doubly frustrating for you all to se the kids tested within an inch of their lives every day. Oh, no! And I didn’t even think about the kids who have already had the creativity sucked out of them. Sigh. I still can’t help but think things will start changing for the better (more art and music) slowly, but maybe that’s me being naively optimistic? We’ll see.

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