It has recently come to my attention that I have a boy living in my house. A boy, who despite his small stature and diaper wearing attire and limited vocabulary, is very clearly and obviously A BOY. At this moment, he is standing in front of me with his tricycle helmet on his head, a baseball mitt on his left hand, a tee ball in his right hand, his baseball bat at his feet, and he is experimenting with pitching. He smacks his ball carefully into his mitt, as he's seen on the televised Red Sox games, lifts his right leg in his modified pitcher's stance, and tosses the ball across the room.
18 months old today, and he thinks he is a professional ball player.
Before I open my eyes every morning, the first words I hear floating over the monitor are "bay-ball". Gabe often launches into long diatribes with "bahl" and "bay-bahl" and sometimes "bat" sprinkled in. Yesterday, I was trying his bathing suit on him while I packed for Aruba, and he insisted on running around the house for over 2 hours in the swimsuit (with inflated flotation devices around his waist) with his helmet on, his mitt and ball, and sweat running down his cheeks. His hair looked as if he'd just gotten out of the pool, he was so drenched in sweat from wearing his helmet indoors.
He likes basketball, golf, football, soccer, and any other sport that has a ball. Josh watches sports in the evenings sometimes, and while we're alone at home, Gabe often begs me to turn the tv onto sports. I've tried to convince him to watch something more age-appropriate instead, like Sesame Street perhaps, but his true love is sports. Every sport. Yesterday, he watched 45 minutes of golf. Golf! What could he possibly find interesting about golf? But he exclaimed excitedly over every putt and drive, and would narrate the scene for me while he watched.
And I swore I wouldn't let my kid watch tv, and now look at us. I have to distract him with playing outside to get him to stop asking for sports on television. Parenting is such a humbling experience sometimes.
Gabe has a nervous breakdown over every bus, truck, construction vehicle, motorcycle and bicycle we pass while driving. He points every vehicle out to us, even if all we can see is a piece of an orange crane over the tops of the skyscrapers in Boston. He's seen it, even if it is 3 miles away, and he wants us to know. He has learned the names for a "diggah", "dump cruck", "fah cruck", "cah", "cah-crain (train)", and loads of other words that bear no resemblance to the actual word, except that we recognize the meaning because he always calls them the same thing when he sees them. There is construction going on in our town center, and before we are even 5 blocks away, he starts naming all the vehicles he will see. I dread the day when the construction is finally done, I'll have a devastated child on my hands.
Our neighbor gave us a whole collection of orange construction vehicles, and we have to fight with Gabe to get him to eat and sleep without them. I've selected a couple of favorites, and even though they weigh a ton, I can't imagine trying to get to Aruba without them. We'd have to find a toy store near the hotel tomorrow morning if he woke up without his "crucks". It is an obsession.
The craziest thing, though, is that we have no books about trucks and we don't talk about trucks. I don't know anything about sports, in fact, I detest watching sports and do it as little as possible. His obsession has come from some inner part of his little boy psyche that knew it loved sports. He used to walk around the house with his plastic chicken leg from his play kitchen and pretend the it was a baseball bat. He'd toss around the dogs' toys because he didn't have balls. Until yesterday, he would put one of his shoes on his hand and pretend it was a mitt. He knows he loves sports, and he's not afraid to improvise.
It isn't fair really. Now I'm totally outnumbered when I have both Josh and Gabe whining for baseball every evening. I don't care whether this baby is a boy or a girl, but it better not love trucks and sports. I'm looking for my next child to love to take walks and explore flowers, and maybe play with a little with a play kitchen. Tea anyone?