I have a very special friend this year who has a magical stroller.
Yes, you read that correctly.
That is magically.
Does this not sound like the beginning of an amazing children's book? But no, it is not a work of fiction. We have a friend with a magical stroller. Like Calvin and Hobbs, but instead of a tiger Hobbs has wheels, a seat, and handle bars.
We were first introduced to the stroller at our open house. We were a bit concerned that a five year old was still using a stroller, but when he explained he needed to bring it to open house with him because it talked to him and told him things we stopped asking questions. Sometimes it doesn't help to question.
When his mother comes pick him up on afternoons when the weather is exceptionally nice, she sometimes brings the stroller with her. Our friend doesn't get into the stroller, but he pushes it home, talking to it as he goes. Who knows what special tidbits he's sharing with the stroller from his day, or, what adventures the stroller is sharing with him.
At our home visit a few weeks ago we asked what sorts of toys he likes to play with and his mother laughed, "Oh, his favorite" she explained, "is his stroller".
He immediately ran and got it for us. And then, right there, his stroller became a vacuum cleaner. He starting vacuuming the rug, but suddenly his vacuum broke. So he had to unplug it from the wall, turn it over, investigate the inner workings, get a screw driver, fiddle with some things, turn it back up right, plug it back into the wall, turn it on to test it, and then fix it again, all the while narrating his vacuum adventures with expression and concern that it may never be fixed. Finally he plugged it back into the wall and it worked! He cheered, we cheered, and we watched as he vacuumed the rest of his apartment.
The entire experience was incredible. Throughout his whole stroller/vacuum interactions we continued with the conference, fully aware that a full-out drama was being performed in front of us, yet also fully aware that it was certainly not for our benefit. He barely looked at us as he went about cleaning the floors, clearly this was a typically afternoon play scheme for him.
I've got to admit, as far as magical toys go, a stroller is pretty great. Not quite as comfy to cuddle with as a stuffed bear, or as easy to transport like a small blankey, but it really does open the imagination to so many more possibilities. I'm kind of jealous I didn't have a magical stroller when I was a kid...