Friday, March 27, 2015

Dear Lee, Gee, You're Like Me.

Dear Lee,

Today was your birthday. 

You helped me bake your cake this morning. I’ve never made a birthday cake. Neither had you. You held the electric mixer while I poured the dry ingredients into the wet. While the cake cooled, we walked to Winchell’s and ate three donut holes that you bought with a quarter from your bank. Then we strollered over to the Farmer’s market for blueberries and apples that were oh so sweet. 

Two Hispanic instrumentalists played “Happy Birthday” for you on their harp and guitar. But you hid behind the stroller. That’s okay. I didn’t like them either.

The fish man gave you a bag of clean ice to crunch. And we stopped by the park on the way home to see your friends, Harman and Charlie. You were quick to borrow Harman’s airplane walker and use it to mow the grass while I visited with my friends Alice Gross and Filester. 

You are very good at mowing. At home you use the water shut-off bar to weed-whack. Then you use a PVC pipe to blow off the side-walks. You are very clever like that. You can turn just about anything into something else. I’m awfully proud of this. I’ve seen you pretend plastic bowls are boats, tinker-toys are airplanes, and rows of board-books are trains.

It seems you are going to be an organizer. Today you collected all the giant legos scattered around the playroom and put them back in their plastic tub. Then you picked up all the tinker toys and put them in their wooden tube. 

You line up your digging trucks at the end of each day. You put your shoes back in the shoe bucket. You buss your plate and bowl after each meal. And you get a bit fussy when something prevents you from putting a dirty bib into the clothes hamper.

You know where to take your business. To the bathroom. To the potty chair. I am relieved. You even tell me if and when you've had an accident.

You know that Rose is not supposed to dump her bottle out or to climb on the table. And when she does, you tell me.

Your favorite things to say are:
It’s broken all into pieces.
Bury me.
Comes a digging truck.
No potties now.
Don’t hold me.
Oh! Look at this.
Uh oh, Rosiemond.
Digging a big hole here.
BAM it!
I’m a working man?

You are. You’re a working man. You like to do things. You often forget to say hello and goodbye, to respond to people’s questions, or to smile. But you like to do things. And you’re a thinker. When I’m explaining things to you, you stare and think real hard.

Yesterday Grandma Taylor gave you The Ultimate Book of Vehicles. I’ve never seen you look at a book for so long. You wanted it in the car. You wanted it at home. You wanted it during your quiet time. You wanted it today in the morning, before nap, and at bedtime. I’ve already had to mend three tabs and refasten a swiveling excavator arm with a brad. You take the book into the corner chair, rest it across your knees—it spans from your hip to your ankles—, and talk to yourself as you open flaps and turn dials.

Yes, you speak to yourself. I hear you pretending to be the characters in the books we read. Today you hid in the toy box from the Big Bad Wolf. I’ve wondered if those scary pictures frighten you, but you seem to like villains and pictures of destruction—houses falling over, buildings ablaze, bulldozers knocking down trees, stories about animals gobbling each other up.

A few months ago, I wondered how a dead rat on the sidewalk would affect you. But it seems you are a matter-of-fact little fellow. When I told you, “That’s a dead rat there and we’re not going to touch it because it’s dirty,” you walked right past it, glancing down and saying, “Mouse maybe.”

Today, after a dip in the patio pool and some quiet time by yourself, we wiled away the hours waiting for Daddy to get home. I secretly frosted your cake and arranged the blueberries around the base. 

We jumped on the bedroom mattresses. We got the mail. We watched your baby DVD made by Mama Mina. 

When at last Daddy came home. It was party time. You ought to know that I found your birthday present in a recycling bin in friendly hills. It's pink and purple and none of the buttons work—you found that out rather quickly. But I told you that the buttons were just pretend and then you were busy pretending to push them and honk your horn, turn on music, and signal right or left. Like I said, you are very good at imagining things. The little basket in the front became a digging truck bucket and you started to put dirt in the front until I encouraged you to carry lemons instead.

"Is that your car?" I asked. "Are you going to the grocery store?"

You looked thoughtfully over my head. "No, it's my little auto. Going to the super market."

You imagined yourself driving your little auto for half the evening and you would've kept going except that we stopped you for dinner and cake. I can't wait to see where you'll drive tomorrow.