Saturday, June 28, 2008

snails and puppy dog tails

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?


Chatty said...

Oh you can come and play tea party with Me and Lady and we'll ship Mister and Sweetie off to watch (or play) sports with Josh and Gabe. Mister is also 100% into the sports. I have never seen anyone get so excited about golf, and a couple of nights ago he woke up so I brought him downstairs to hang out with us and he got into his little anywhere chair, looked at Sweetie and requested "Beeball."

He uses the rolling pin from Lady's kitchen to play hockey/golf around the house. He is OBSESSED with any kind of ball.

How do they know these things??

Lady likes her fair share of the sports too, but it wasn't as innate as it is with Mister, and really didn't start until she was old enough to watch with Sweetie and get it- maybe not until she was at least 2 years old.

Remember last summer when Mister and Gabe sacked out on the floor of the beach house and positioned themselves to better see the sports on TV? They were 6 months old! It's clearly in their DNA.

Rev Dr Mom said...

When the Kid was a baby he was just like that. I used to get into great discussions with one of my grad school profs who had a son just a little older about how these boyish preferences emerged-the whole nature vs. nurture thing. I know socialization plays a huge role,but still sometimes you wonder.

I highly recommend Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks and Things that Go"--Gabe would love it! We read it over and over when the Kid was little.

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ccw said...

Kid L always liked her "girl" toys but enjoyed Hot Wheels just as much. As she has grown older she definitely prefers "girl" activities over "boy" ones.

NSBH is ultra-girlie but she is also very athletic. Aside from ballet/tap she does basketball, soccer, and ice skating. She loves playing sports with a nice pedicure.

Nonami deeply loves his trains, trucks, and Legos but he spends a lot of time playing with the kitchen and Betty Spaghetty dolls (recently liberated from the attic). I'm not suprised with what he plays with because the girls toys greatly out number those bought for him. It does make me giggle when he uses the Barbie dolls for hammers.

Knit and Purl Mama said...

It's amazing how smart kids are. The learn things that you didn't even teach them or that they didn't even learn from TV.

Sean's all about hockey in this house. He sees a hockey player, he screams out "HOCKEY". He sees the Habs logo, he screams out HOCKEY! He drags my husband to play hockey with him in our basement (where we have a net set up). Hockey hockey hockey he runs around the house saying. Too cute.

Maybe future habs player?!

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