Feed on

It seems time has caught up with me, and it’s been nearly a year again since I wrote up a log of Simon’s favorites. They’ve changed quite a bit!

Child’s MP3 Player: This was Evie’s idea for Christmas, and it was brilliant. Simon loves music, but he’s not quite up to handling CDs yet, so Evie and Jim got him this kid-friendly model. He loves it, but its capacity is somewhat going to waste, as Simon just wants to listen to track 3, a peppy and harmonious version of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” over, and over, and over, and over again.

Caillou: Wow! Had no idea how divisive this one was. Simon loves Caillou. I can only assume that he identifies with the sensitive little four-year-old and is learning all about making new friends, getting along with family, trying new things, and overcoming fears from it. Caillou is great for him, was developed by a child psychologist, and seems innocuous enough. Given this, I am somewhat surprised to discover how many adults harbor serious hostility against the show. Honestly, even if the show did annoy us, we’d have to give it a break just based on how cute Simon sounds when he sings along with the theme song.

Slouching: He’s only three, a full decade away from the zenith of slouchdom, and this habit is already killing me. The kid does not sit or stand up straight. He leans back on the couch, approximating a shrunken frat-boy affect. He leans against the couch, pushing against the edge of the area rug in a way that inevitably messes up the rug and causes him to fall down. He slouches in his car seat to the extent that it’s hard to buckle him in, what with his bottom covering the latch mechanism. And he slouches in his booster seat sufficiently that food ends up all over him. Of all the stereotypical things I never expected to hear come out of my mouth, “For the love of God, Simon, sit/stand up straight” is the one I hear myself saying the most.

Thomas and Friends: “They’re Two, They’re Four, They’re Six, They’re Eight….” Simon now loves the show, but the real action is downstairs on his track, where Henry goes over the mountain overpass (always with sound turned off), Thomas pulls Annie and Claribel, and Toby hauls coal and helps his friends when they derail or get stuck. Adorably, all the trains line up on Thomas’s branch line at the end of a play session so they can “go to sleep.” Simon says goodnight to them, and even tells them to sleep tight and wake up bright in the morning light, a line from one of his bedtime books.

Reading: Story-time has taken an interesting turn. For at least six months or so, Simon has been working hard to memorize his favorite books so he can “read” them to me. Tonight, for example, he read Huggle Buggle Bear, Goodnight Moon, I’ll See You in the Morning, I Love You Goodnight, and Bear Wants More to me. The trick is that Simon’s memory is far ahead of his fine motor skills, meaning he can read faster than he can turn pages. It takes every ounce of self control I possess to not interfere when I see that he’s finished reciting an entire page before getting it all the way open in front of him.

Cars themed big-wheel: This was a Chanukah present from Uncle Steve and Aunt Stacy. He doesn’t use the pedals yet, but is perfectly happy to employ foot-power to go all over the house. You can tell he has special passion for this toy based on his great difficulty in sharing it with play dates. If there’s going to be a fight in our house over a toy, this is the top contender, with Thomas engines running it a close second.

Grandparents’ Houses: By now, Simon has well established routines at all three grandparents’ houses. At Jim and Evie’s, he plays with alphabet puzzles, naps with his Papaw, and plays games—including pool!—in the basement, and loves to pedal his toy car around their block. At my mom’s he watches Blues Clues on the same couch my brothers and I loafed on as kids, eats snacks at the little table my mom bought when my almost 16-year-old nephew was little, chases poor Barrett (the cat) around in circles, and loves an old toy cash register that brings on nostalgia in a big way. The thrills at Zadie and Nana’s house come from feeding the fish, talking to Luciano and Belladonna (the parakeets), and making a wooden ramp to race cars down. These three houses are all his homes away from home.

Painting: The artist takes his tempera on paper roll quite seriously, analyzing each brush stroke and getting within a hair’s breadth of the work. The problem is, he has yet to figure out the concept of one brush per color. As a result, Simon’s “paintings”, which he always tells me are rainbows, all lean heavily towards the brown end of the palette. These are some depressing rainbows.  [In fact, the other day when I asked Simon what he was painting, he told me, “A brown rainbow.” – mgw.]

Stuffed Animals: This has probably been on every list to date. I put it here now because the way Simon loves and plays with his animals continues to change. Whereas once the animals were furry transitional objects, they are now emotional surrogates and key items in role playing. As an infant, his stuffed frogs, bunnies, bears, and alligators, helped to make him feel safe. As a toddler, they helped him explore his own feelings of sadness or fright. And now, at three, the animals are beginning to have relationships with each other that Simon helps mediate. Just today, for example, Super Speedy hurt Baby Bunny. Simon made Super Speedy apologize, and then he kissed Baby Bunny and hugged him (her?) to make him (her?) feel better. Just to cover his bases, he asked me to kiss Baby Bunny, too.

Women: Another constant. Baron is the only boy to ever make Simon’s list of friends. His Uncle Dan is similarly unique among the uncles. Zadie is OK, but Nana rules. Grandma is his best friend, even if he naps with Papaw. And just last night, he informed me and Matt that he loved me and that I was “a great girl”, but that Daddy was a bad boy and needed to go away.

Going Crazy/Wrestling: Our cats are not the only things in this house that go crazy at night. So does Simon! Just before bedtime, we are guaranteed a suite of wrestling, door slamming, and cat chasing that ends in a fit of hiccups if we are lucky and mild barfing if we are not. Seriously, on a handful of occasions he’s laughed and gotten wound up to the point of vomiting. I have a queasy feeling that as he gets older, these bouts of uncontrollable physicality might just land us in the emergency room. And when I say “queasy feeling”, I mean near certain prediction based on the various slammed fingers, stubbed toes, and broken arms that were hallmarks of my brothers’ roughhousing some 40 odd years ago.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.