My little professor is learning a lot — and not all of it from his parents or his teachers.
The other night, Walker was in the bath playing with is crayons. He said he wanted to write my name so together we spelled it and he wrote it out. It very clearly was my name. I cried. He’s working on his name too and I gotta say, we’re getting to a point where it’s recognizable — it may be starting from the bottom of the page and make it’s way to the top, the “L” may be backwards and the “E” may have a few more than three horizontal lines, and the lines of the “K” may not exactly touch, but I my mind, it’s absolutely perfectly WALKER. (And I should mention, he’s really good at spelling his name and we’ve been upping the ante by having him do it with his eyes closed or hopping on one foot.)
He’s also taken to telling long stories. It’s important to catch him when he’s rested so they make sense, otherwise, they narrative will go in circles, repeat insignificant details, and trail off to an unsatisfying conclusion. Oh wait. It’s been said that’s my storytelling pattern so it’s genetic? But seriously, it’s really amazing to watch him construct entire worlds and situations with his toys. As an aside, Larry and I were pleased to see that Walker has recently allowed the toy segregation to end. He had been quite adamant (“MOMMY! NOOOOOOOO!”) when we tried to get his Fisher Price astronauts to play with Buzz Lightyear in some sort of an intergalactic mission. However, now he’s got his Astronauts, Obi-Wan Kanobi and his Pirates all teaming up to play a baseball game using Daddy’s chair as the “field of dreams.”
Walker, like all other children, is a big huge sponge and he’s taking queues from everything around him. He’s obsessed with Disney’s Phineas and Ferb cartoon and he’s picked up a few interesting phrases he’s worked into his everyday conversation. It started with “Oh, DANG it!” This is accompanied by him screwing up his little face in a bit of a play angry face and making a pretend snapping motion with his hand and arm. We didn’t realize this came from the cartoon until he busted out, “Hey, you’re doing bad things to my head, man.” And yes, he’s using that correctly. For example, I might say, “Walker, you can’t have a cupcake until you finish your dinner.” And Walker will reply, “Hey, You’re doing bad things to my head, man!”
Another less endearing phrase he picked up was “SHUT UP” which I have recently noticed is said in a lot of kid-friendly cartoons. The first time he said that one, it was to my brother’s girlfriend and we both snapped at him because we were both so shocked. He immediately began to cry and I realized he was just trying to work out the proper context for this neat sounding pair of words. Well, I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to him about words that make people feel bad and we were making progress until one day, we were driving home on a dark, curvy street when a car came speeding down the hill in the opposite direction and turned left right in front of us. and I yelled out….”STUPID DRIVER!” Given the circumstances, I think I did pretty well as the “old me” has a bit of a reputation for, shall we say, colorful language. I immediately composed myself and explained that “stupid” is used to describe what someone does, not who someone is and it’s not nice to say although if someone is driving unsafely and they put themselves or someone else (namely us) in danger, then they are certainly acting stupidly! I’m proud to say that he learned this lesson well and the other day when Larry was driving us to school, a driver cut in front of us and Walker calmly called the driver stupid. Good boy!
Our house has been overtaken by gear — hats, swords, jet packs, ray guns, helmets, goggles, web slingers, ropes (his favorite is the one Larry used 40 years ago when he was a lad), telescopes, repulsor rays — if it’s something you can wear or pretend to shoot with (or rescue people with), Walker has it. The interesting thing is he doesn’t like costumes. We have Superman, Buzz Lightyear, Iron Man, and two astronauts but he’s not really into wearing them. He’d much prefer constructing his own so we end up looking like a Pirate Buzz Lightyear.
I have to mention that the jet pack Walker is wearing is SUPER COOL. There’s a button on the front you can push and the wings will pop out with a “whoosh” sound and the lights on the end will flash red and green. There’s a motion sensor that knows when you’re moving so it will periodically make flying noises and when you’ve safely arrived at your destination, you hit the red button again and the wings automatically fold up into the backpack. Of course, it also says a few signature Buzz Lightyear phrases. It was quite the sensation when we went Trick or Treating with “Big Buddy” Lucas on Halloween.
Part of Walker’s pretend games is less about being someTHING and more about being someONE. He’s taken to pretending to be “Steve” the guy who helps us at our corner store. Walker will make one of us go shopping using his little cart and he’ll scan all the items, bag them up, and take our credit card to pay. He also pretends to be “Big Buddy” by putting on a little knit cap and jumping around. That’s what Lucas wears to school and the two of them like to jump and hop. He also likes to pretend to be “the guy” who we know is the Knight we saw at the pumpkin patch that introduced the sword fight with real metal swords, shields and armor. This is a three-person pretend with the first one explaining the rules — “This is not a game. These are professionals with years of experience. No one is below a Level 4. People can get hurt so please don’t cross line…” — and the other two then have to hit each other with swords until one falls on the ground and plays dead. I might add that Walker is pretty good at sword fighting and has picked up a few nice moves from Daddy who used to fence.
We’ve had a really busy few months. We took Walker to Legoland (seemed like the best place to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary) and it was a BLAST. Walker went on lots of rides and was super brave. He went in a scary mummy-hunting ride, on a ride where we went up 30ish feet and bounced down, and even drove some Lego cars ALL BY HIMSELF. Suffice it to say, we (and by “we”, I mean the person who always has to get one more thing in…) ran the poor kid ragged. We thought we’d leave the second day on a high note and go on the pirate ship ride where you shoot water cannons at the other boats. It was the ride we started our trip with so it felt like a nice bookend. The line was a bit long and Walker was hot so I picked him up and he fell asleep about five minutes before it was our turn to get in the boat. No problem! The same thing happened the day before and the moment he sat on the cold, wet seat he woke up (sort of — he wasn’t really back with us until someone shot him with water). But, I guess two days of running around an amusement park will take its toll. As we waited for our boat, I tried to wake him up and he didn’t move. I tried to stand him up and his little legs were noodles. He looked like a marionette with the strings cut. The mission was aborted and we all laughed about it when he woke up an hour later (with a new Pirate hat and a pair of swords as a souvenir).
It’s late now so I’m off to try to get a few hours in before Walker wakes up at 5:45 — DARN YOU DAYLIGHT SAVINGS!