Jenna von Oy’s Blog: Never Far From Neverland

04/26/2013 at 10:00 AM ET

Celebrity blogger Jenna von Oy is a new mama!

Best known for her roles as Six on Blossom and Stevie on The Parkers, von Oy is also a musician who has released two albums and is set to publish a book, The Betweeners.

von Oy, 35, wed Brad Bratcher on Oct. 10, 2010, and resides in Nashville with her husband and five dogs.

They welcomed their first child, daughter Gray Audrey, on May 21. She is now 11 months old.

In her latest blog, von Oy takes a step back in time and recalls her love of imaginary play — and anticipates the day she can share new whimsical adventures with Gray.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter @JennavonOy, as well as posting on her weekly blog, The Cradle Chronicles.

Jenna von Oy Neverland Smiley girlThe Cradle Chronicles

It’s the little things. A tattered blanket becomes a superhero cape; a worn out pair of gym shoes is transformed into enchanted ruby slippers.

There’s just nothing quite like a child indulging his or her imagination. Except, perhaps, an adult who still indulges her childlike imagination! My inner kid is four years old, in case you were wondering.

I’ve heard many a parent claim they can occupy their tot with merely a crate and a crayon, and I know this to be true based on first-hand experience. As a youngster, I recall being inspired to turn boxes into pirate ships, lush rainforests, cloud castles, underground caverns, and haunted houses.

I’ve even sailed across the ocean blue on a trampoline a time or two, thanks to the fantastic and fierce power of illusion. The trick is to see right through the cardboard and plastic, to the world that lies beyond it.

Somehow, I think I never left that special place entirely behind me and I can’t wait to travel back there with my daughter in the years to come.

Jenna von Oy Neverland Letting my imagination flyThe Cradle Chronicles

Fostering Gray’s creativity and her affinity for daydreaming is something I eagerly await. I’m already anticipating the trips to Disneyland, the teddy bear tea parties and the impromptu dance routines.

I’m pining for the days when our linen closet doesn’t merely hold board games and a vacuum. Perhaps it will be a detective agency, or a three-ring circus or an African safari. The sky is the limit. Imaginary friends? Invite them over for milk and cookies!

But, alas, since Gray is only just turning 11 months, we are still quite a distance from the land of make-believe. Or are we?

It turns out babies enjoy the wonders of parcel packaging too, albeit for slightly less inventive purposes. Gray has discovered the magic of climbing into an empty container for amusement. It’s wildly entertaining to watch her bounce, rock, shake, laugh and clap, as she sits inside of what I generally prefer to think of as recycling.

And it doesn’t end there, thanks to her unbridled curiosity. Gray has found temptation in a plethora of banal items including socks, reading glasses, dog bowls, pens, pots and pans, coffee coasters and tea tins.

Jenna von Oy Neverland Making a secret fort out of a laundry basketThe Cradle Chronicles

Mind you, some of those are a little more baby-friendly than others, so I don’t always allow her to follow through with the exciting adventure she sets out on. But her inquiring mind definitely wants to know, so we’re adapting.

We are gradually rearranging our house as she develops a fixation for each new off-limit item. For example, all of our votive candles are currently hiding in the pantry as if they are escaping Hannibal Lecter. (This is courtesy of Gray’s teething inclinations.)

We also recently removed the batteries from one of our less functional TV remotes, in an attempt to deter our budding technology guru from interrupting our tapings of The Mentalist. It’s worth noting that she never manages to erase Sesame Street. Go figure.

Another fondness seems to be “reordering” my office shelves and our DVD collection, as well as “perusing” my script pages. This mostly culminates in a floor full of miscellaneous junk and scattered pages, though the other day she displayed her enthusiasm for one of my auditions by taking a bite out of the final scene. Picture the Cookie Monster — only with paper instead.

I suspect curbing that habit is going to be a unique experience. We have to watch her like a hawk these days.

In short, we are steadily watching the unraveling of every room in our home. We may already be able to eliminate “housekeeper” from the list of Gray’s possible future careers, and we live in the house formerly known as organized.

But in the midst of the clutter and mayhem sits an empty diaper box, and in that empty diaper box sits the happiest empty diaper box-loving girl in the world; so I’m at peace. It signifies that our days of make-believe are right around the corner, and it’s comforting to know that, thanks to Gray, I’m never far from Neverland.

Jenna von Oy Neverland A Gray in the boxThe Cradle Chronicles

Until next time,

— Jenna von Oy

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Showing 13 comments

Tee Tee on

Ach, she is so precious and getting too big!

Abbie on

Wow I can’t believe how much Gray has grown up!!! I know I have said it before, but I have to say it again…. I love your blog Jenna!

ok on

Gray looks cute in blue! She’s a cutie pie.
Jenna seems like a happy and hands-on mom.
Don’t be afraid to tell her and teach “no”. 11 months old is not to early. Redirecting and hiding is great, but only goes so far.

Kelsey on

I just love your blog and how down to earth it is! Gray is just precious!!

MommytoanE on

What a little cutie!! I do admit, I look back on those days and smile. I’d gladly relive the ones with my daughter. Its fun watching them come into the world. I have discs full of photos of her antics. Treasure these days. Document as much as you can. Write down the words she uses for things as she begins talking. All of these may seem unimportant, but they will soon be a distant memory.

TY for blogging Jenna! Your blogs never fail to bring a smile to the face and a memory to the mind.

Margo on

I must say, Gray is so adorable and I loved your writing in this blog post in particular! πŸ™‚ Congratulations and wishing you many days of imagination ahead! πŸ™‚

briana on

Love Baby Gray She’s my favourite bambina there is just much sweet, sunshiny and glowy about her.

lyn on

Adorable. Kids and boxes! When my son was that age we used to push him around the house in diaper boxes and he thought it was the best thing ever. Its the simple things that are the most fun.

Sandra on

This story reminds me of the first christmas with my son, who thoroughly enjoyed tearing the wrapping off of the box and then just playing with the box. We opened it for him but he wasn’t interested in the brightly colored fire truck, just the box.

Marie on

Okay, now that baby is just too cute!

Stacey on

Gray is precious, and I love her name as I have a son named Grayson. Don’t start telling her “no” , as ok stated, keep doing what you are doing. HATE it when parents think they have to act like dictators over their kids, especially little ones. Just yesterday, at the grocery store I saw a little girl, probably barely 3, sucking her thumb. Just as I thought ” how cute, she’s sucking her thumb”, her mom swats her on the behind and tells her to stop..

Anyway, your daughter is still a baby and doesn’t need negativity in her world at such a tender age. Laid-back parenting is the best; don’e ever feel like you have to “lord” over her. Kids absolutely learn how to behave in a healthy home. And trust me girl, I know, I’m a mom of seven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lora96litdiva on

That is too cute.

We moved when my girlie was 18 months so the packing boxes quickly became a fort. A month later one is still in her nursery where Ping the Penguin likes to have tea. The neighborhood of make believe will be coming your way in a few months, I swear!

I Am Standing Right Behind You on

She is such a little love bug…love the blog and LOVE the pictures!!