I often wish I had the unbridled imagination of children. Not that fairy tale type of imagination, but rather the ability that anything is possible and that whatever it is, is simply amazing. These sorts of qualities in children come out in many times or situations, but none so much as when they get their hands on a book of world records.
I used to not understand why kids love these books so much, but I'm starting to get an idea. When one is young, there is very little life maintenance to do. No little things to bog down your everyday life. (I'm jealous, I confess.) With all this leftover free time and space in their brains that is not taken up by trying to remember the grocery list and getting your kids to bathe, they are free to think bigger, think better, and think world record. Sometimes even more than that.
Our commute home from school is somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on stoplights. Occasionally we sing, occasionally they fight. Usually they have fantastic conversations that are more entertaining than any talk radio show in the entire world.
"Hey guess what! I found the Guiness Book of World Records today at school," says one. "And we looked up the world's largest teddy bear. Wanna guess how big it is?"
Numbers started flying. The youngest, with barely a concept of space and time offered up 3,001 inches. The conservative oldest suggested 50 feet. The middle-man with a head full of space for imaginative thinking gave his own creative answer.
"1,000 feet tall. It's actually a building. It's a company where they make teddy bears, instead of it being a regular factory, it's a teddy bear," he said. "And it's also a museum," he explained without even cracking a smile.
Instantly, the oldest was questioning this story. "So, if it's a teddy bear, how do they walk through the fluff?"
"Tunnels," was the answer.
"Well, what do they do if it rains? Teddy bears can't get wet," she retorted.
"Actually it's under cover in a regular looking building."
"OK, then, how do they plug in their machines and computers if it's just all fluff? I don't think you can run electrical cord through there."
"Actually, all of the working parts in the staff offices are located in the leg. The rest is just tunnels."
And somehow, the conversation was over. I thought nothing of it and we switched topics to when the youngest decided it was a good idea to take her stuffed animals down the Slip 'N Slide, and then moved on to how we are already missing summer just a bit.
Before long, we were home, and the entire episode was over. Dinner was served, instruments were practiced, books were read, and I finally sat down at the computer. The first thing I looked up: World's largest teddy bear. I knew the story he spun was a little outrageous, but I had to commend his creativity. The world's largest single-stuffed teddy bear is a whopping 55 feet, 4 inches and was completed in June 2008 in Kansas. The largest teddy bear mosaic, however, is over 600 feet and was completed in 2011 by the Chelsea Teddy Bear Company.
The critical thinker came to join me, and it wasn't long before it was shouted through the house. "You were making that whole thing up! The world's largest teddy bear isn't 1,000 feet tall. Liar!"
Laughter rang through the halls.
I went to bed that night stuck in another one of those parenting moments when your kids do something bad but slightly impressive. Punishment is tricky when it comes to those situations, so I just closed my eyes and was thankful for each of my children: the thinker, the creator, and the one who would love to take the world's largest teddy bear down the Slip 'N Slide.