By now I’ve learned just to always keep the camera with us in the car. Otherwise, stories like this one wouldn’t have their proper illustrations.
It’s often during that early morning drive to school that your creative juices are flowing finest, as you attempt to entertain yourself (and accidentally, me as well) in the back of my Honda Element.
This morning, right after we had just passed the fire station with its two open garage doors, you began narrating the ad lib story about the white car (that was mine when I was a kid) and the red Jeep you were playing with.
“Hey, I have to go in the garage,” said the white car, voiced by you, speaking in falsetto, as you drove him up your left shorts leg.
Immediately following, the red Jeep announced he needed to go in the other side of the garage; which, you guessed it, was the up the other leg of your shorts.
As I mentioned yesterday, “ It’s like you get a thrill by taking strange objects outside of our house and into the real world… as a way to qualify their true existence.”
Therefore, before I dropped you off in your classroom this morning, you had to place your two cars in your cubby so they could be accessible the very moment you would see me again at the end of the day when I picked you up.
I should point out that the red Jeep has a driver, who we refer to “Ghost Man,” a plastic figurine you won as a prize at a Halloween festival last year.
Today when we got home, I asked you what Ghost Man did all day in your cubby.
You instantly and very sincerely responded, “He was good.”
Then I asked you what he ate for lunch. Your reply:
“Daddy, he was in the cubby all day!”
I’m not sure how you were so confident he was good all day if he wasn’t able to leave the cubby, not even to eat lunch.
But, hey, as long as you make up funny scenarios like a 2 car garage up your shorts or Ghost Man behaving well in your cubby all day, I’m going to keep asking you curious questions.
And there was also the part where you said goodbye to Papa and Nonna for the weekend while wearing nothing but a diaper; and the ladder, which happened to be sticking out the front of your diaper.
Of course, this wasn’t the first time you’ve used a random item as your favorite toy of the day. Not even two months ago, you took a spatula to school without me really even noticing; not until the director mentioned it as we were walking in the front door.
So actually, I guess I should be expecting you to carry around weird items more regularly. It’s like you get a thrill by taking strange objects outside of our house and into the real world… as a way to qualify their true existence.
Or maybe, having a toy ladder or a spatula somehow makes you feel more connected to the big world out there. Maybe it makes you feel more awake and less in a dream world.
Maybe you’re just a curious little boy who makes me laugh on a daily basis because you do stuff I would never think to do.
Don’t be surprised if tomorrow morning as we’re leaving the house, I’m holding the remote control.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but it will still be another 13 years or so before you are able to get your driver’s license.
Mommy and I decided to test you early for your driver’s license, using a fire truck you built out of couch pillows while we were making dinner.
The part of the test you did extremely well on was part where you prepared to drive.
You very meticulously (and cheerfully) put on your seat belt.
However, you didn’t do so hot once you started up the fire truck: You pretty much immediately crashed.
All that safety preparation for nothing… Well, no, actually it balanced things out I guess. I’ll let you decided for yourself- here’s a video clip of the event:
I’m still trying to figure out why you had to “start the fire” at the back of the truck before buckling yourself in.
Either you A) were starting a fire on the fire truck itself so you could put it out with itself or B) you were starting the fire truck, which for some reason the ignition was at the back of the vehicle.
Another thing I’m confused about is why you named your toy fire truck “Mater” and why you had to go get him to help you after you evidently crashed your pillow fire truck in the garage.
I sit on the couch in the dark with a lame Halloween movie on in the background and my sleeping wife by my side.
Right now it’s 9:36 PM in the quiet neighborhood of Walnut Grove, California, where we are visiting my wife’s family for our annual family “vacation.”
(It’s no secret that when the word “vacation” and “toddler” are in the same sentence… well, it’s pretty much a prompt for laugh tracks.)
After sifting through our 23 month-old son’s candy stash from tonight, I am buzzed on peanut butter cups and everything else chocolate.
As for Jack’s own candy peddling efforts, which brought me to my current state of cocoa delirium, we visited about a dozen houses before he saw the fire truck there to help patrol the neighborhood. A friendly fireman agreed to take our family picture. (Bottom photo.)
Just a couple of hours ago before I put him to bed, Jack was at the front door helping giving candy to “the kids.”
It was really funny because every time the door bell rang, he ran to the door, anxious to see what strangely dressed child would be standing there.
My favorite was a little boy who wasn’t much older than him, wearing a Thomas the Train costume.
The boy saw Jack wearing his train conductor costume and shouted out to this mother, “Look! He’s a train conductor! A train conductor!”
Then things got semi-awkward as the little boy saw the toy train that Jack was holding. He assumed that in addition to candy, Jack was going to give him a train too.
Thomas the Train and the train conductor stared at each other for a long 15 seconds before the boy’s mom took him by the hand to leave for the next house.
It’s a weird, random “holiday” anyway.
Looking back on this past week of Halloween, these past couple of days in particular have included family neighborhood walks where the agenda has been “looking for owls.”
For Jack, ghosts are owls.
I finally only recently realized that every time Jack saw a ghost decoration or toy, I always made a Scoobie Doo style “whoooooo” sound.
So I get it now: Ghosts sound like owls and therefore, they are owls.
Well, this isn’t the end of Halloween for us, or Jack’s costume, at least. He has his first (of two) 2nd birthday parties this weekend.
We decided what better outfit could Jack wear for his birthday parties other than his train conductor costume? After all, his birthday parties this year will have a train theme.
So these are only the first of many more pictures of Train Conductor Jack.
I guess you could say we’re going green when it comes to Halloween, as we will be reusing his costume. Of course, I have a feeling that Jack wouldn’t mind dressing like a train conductor every day if we let him.
I feel more alive today, not just because we finally made it to autumn, my favorite time of year. Instead, my state of euphoria exists because I know I made my son very happy by buying him that fire truck.
On this day, I do not feel overwhelmed as a husband and dad trying to provide for his family. I am not desperately in need of sleep or a boost in confidence in my abilities of what society expects of me or even what I expect of myself.
Nor I am worried about the end of the world; no, I’m not concerned that Communist China will take over America, or Communist Russia, or even religious extremist terrorists.
In fact, if the world as we know it came to an end right now, at least I would know I ceased to exist while in a state of accidental bliss.
It all goes back to my wife and I standing in the checkout aisle at the store and me telling my son, “You’ve been a really good boy today and we know you really want a fire truck, so we’re going to buy it for you.”
He didn’t even smile; he just kept a somber look on his face that somehow communicated gratitude even more than smile could.
It’s seeing him celebrate back at the house by making his fire truck the head of a parade with his other toy cars.
It’s knowing all day at work I was thinking about my son and how happy I made him by buying him some cheap toy.
In this moment I feel extremely needed by a little boy who is dependent on me for little surprises in life, like a toy fire truck.
The meaning of life is to give life meaning. I thoroughly believe that.