One thing I DO love about three-year-olds are their imaginations. Asher doesn't even have a particularly zealous one but I could listen to him give train play-by-plays while he lies on his belly on the floor all afternoon. I find it particularly interesting that most of the plots and dialogues he comes up with are gleaned from books we've read and television shows we've watched – I don't know if that's pretty standard for his age and gender, or whether he's just destined for the left-brain fast track and lacks a strong creative side. My niece, who is just a few months younger than Asher, is capable of coming up with all kinds of bizarre stuff (lies, really) and I am frequently amazed by the world of difference between how their little weensy brains work. I don't think Asher could come up with something other than Actual Reality for all the Thomas trains in the world.
What I really find hilarious is what he chooses to imagine. Like, we'll be driving in the car, right? And he'll loudly announce THIS CAR IS A STEAM TRAIN and then tell me all about how the steam train is running out of coal! and he needs to shovel more coal in to make more steam! and could I roll the window down for him so he could shovel in the coal and oh! look out there's a cow on the tracks and Mama, could you blow the whistle so the cow will move?
I'm all, Waitwaitwait, why aren't YOU blowing the whistle? And he gets all irritated with me, and says, Mama, YOU are the one driving the train. And I'm all, SERIOUSLY? So you can imagine ALLLLLLLL that other stuff – cows on the tracks and shoveling coal into the firebox and the very minor thing about how this Honda CR-V is actually a STEAM TRAIN – but you can't imagine that YOU'RE the driver and not me? So I “blow the whistle” by which I mean I make a wooo! wooo! noise with my mouth and he gets frustrated with me and says, NO THAT'S NOT RIGHT, it's like this, wooo wooo wooooooooooo and I swear, you guys, it is all I can do not to bang my head on the steering wheel WHILE THE CAR IS MOVING because really? You'd rather correct my woo-ing than do it YOURSELF to PERFECTION? Then he asks me to ring the bell. Occasionally he yells at me to STOP THE TRAAAAAAAIN!!!!! and the first 15 times I would go into this lengthy explanation about how we can't stop because we're on a road and other cars – I mean, steam trains – could hit us and blah-de-blah blah but I stopped doing that and now I just say SORRY, but the POLICE will get us if I do that, so why don't you look out the window for horses or deer?
He does not WANT to look out the window for horses or deer, just so you know. Either we play Steam Train or we pout.
I really don't enjoy pretending to be the driver of a steam train, frankly, and today I was concentrating so hard on getting my train whistle right the first time that I almost DROVE INTO ANOTHER CAR. That's exactly the kind of police report that makes it into the media: “Woman pretending to blow a train whistle at fault for collision.” GREAT.
Yesterday he talked about trains so much and for so long that I actually begged him to stop talking. And I remembered, back when Asher was turning two and still not putting two words together, how I promised I would never say something like that because I had been waiting for him to talk for SO LONG (he was easily two-and-a-half years old before he said his first sentence) but I have to take back that promise because now he talks CONSTANTLY and it is driving me bonkers insane. I suppose I wouldn't mind so much if we talked about anything other than machinery that stopped being relevant back in the 1800s but around here it is All Trains, All The Time, except for a few pockets of precious, precious time where we talk about Team Umizoomi.
Dave and I went out last night and we were talking about how much we were looking forward to being to go out to dinner as a family in the future, when our kids might actually stay in their chairs and eat the food we put in front of them and we can all have productive conversations, like the kind that don't revolve around whether Percy and Thomas need a bath after getting stuck in the mud, but maybe about what they did in class that day or learned in Sunday school. Doesn't that sound nice? I thought it did too, and for a few quiet moments I had this tiny little perfect-family fantasy, and then I remembered the Actual Reality of My Youth, which was that neither my brother or I or anyone we actually knew ever WANTED to talk to their parents about school or their friends or anything else once they hit nine years old. “Oh, our kids will be different,” said Dave.
(Yeah, I had a good laugh over that one, too.)
Hey, in ultra-squeeable-super-exciting news, we are hosting The Blathering again this year, this time in Chicago, from November 5th through the 7th! For those of you who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, the brief version is that last year a bunch of us who, for the most part, only knew each other through blogs and comments, decided we really didn't care to attend a blogging conference to learn monetize our websites or market ourselves more effectively, we just wanted to hang out, talk and shop. So nearly 20 of us from all over the country gathered in Sacramento, California for a fantastic weekend, and it was SO RIDICULOUSLY fantastic that we're doing it again this year. Things are a little different this time around (there will be a registration deadline and fee so that we can plan a couple of activities more effectively), but the official website will have all the details. And you can always ALWAYS email me or another of the organizers with questions (although try not to bombard Elizabeth, since she's having a baby in like, three hours or something). We would love to have you join us!