A mere thirty-two days till he’s four years old. How time flies.
Spelling and reading continue apace. Typeset fonts (think Courier, for example) frustrate him. A typeset lowercase ‘a’ does not look like the lowercase ‘a’ he has been taught to draw by hand, nor does a ‘g’. He is very frustrated by this. Otherwise, words and letters are the most exciting things around these days. He writes his name on paper or the chalkboard all the time, or spells it aloud. He writes words in the air to see if we can identify them. (This is more of a challenge than it may sound. First of all, he’s more enthusiastic than precise, and second of all I’m reading it backwards.) We have discovered together that he very much likes copying words out, so I’ll print words and spell them out as I do, and he copies them onto another paper, spelling them out himself as he does. He’s done a few greeting cards this way. His drawing skills have leapt a couple of levels as well. He drew the first face I’ve seen him draw the other day, and he used the entire chalkboard instead of squeezing it into a corner, spacing the features out remarkably well. And last night he drew two different versions of WALL*E, both extremely recognizable. HRH is, naturally, bursting with pride.
The newest addition to the household is stuffed black rabbit with white paws, whom the boy saw on a post-Easter shelf at the drugstore we stopped at on the way out of Oakville. He instantly fell in love with him, and as it was half-price, I bought it for him. “What are you going to call him?” I asked on the way to the car. “His name is Blackie-Whitie,” Liam said with confidence. And he hasn’t put the darn thing down since that day. He’ll go all shy with people when they talk to him, but he’ll hold out the rabbit and say, “This is my new bunny, his name is Blackie-Whitie.” Sometimes he adds, “His nickname is Blackie,” just so everyone’s clear. Starting in the car on the way home from Easter, he has been saying, “Mama, you can cuddle Bun-Bun” and pushing Bun-Bun at me till I take him in the crook of my arm. We suspect he doesn’t want to hurt Bun-Bun’s feelings, which is very sensitive of him. Otherwise he drags Blackie, Bun-Bun, and the little white rabbit he called Peter until he got another tiny white bunny called Snowball/Blizzard, so the first white one is alternately Peter/Blizzard/Snowball, depending on what the tiny one is called that day) around in his arms at home, and negotiates bringing all three or five along for car rides. (One. He is allowed only one.) Blackie is now somewhat bedraggled. I mourn his silky clean fur.
(Yes, we’re fairly sure his main totem is a rabbit.)
There were two new movies this month. We finally got a copy of 101 Dalmatians on DVD (as well as the new sequel) and he went absolutely bananas over it. The rabbits were all renamed Pongo and Perdita, we played at being Dalmatians, every minivan that parked in the neighbourhood belonged to Horace and Jasper, and every car that went racing down the road and squealed around the corner was Cruella. Then Nightdemons lent us a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit, a very loose remake of the book’s story (which he knows), and he went crazy for that as well. Now we are told on a regular basis that someday, Blackie will be a Real Rabbit. Every morning he checks to see if it’s happened. We keep telling him it takes a long time and a lot of cumulative love.
The other big milestones this past month were the purchase of his first board game, Chutes & Ladders (apparently Snakes & Ladders, the UK version, is no longer available in Canada and thus we ended up with the rather preachy US one, hmph), and the purchase of his first set of gaming dice. He is very enthusiastic about Chutes & Ladders, only he thinks the chutes are preferable because in the playground doesn’t one climb a ladder to get to the more exciting slide part? And he chose a d20 from his new dice to roll for his first game, which made it rather short. (His next pick was a d4, which meant the second game was abandoned after taking forever to get anywhere.) So we are working through the inevitable tears when someone else wins (”But I wanted to win!”), and the concept of luck and random dice rolls, and the idea that it isn’t the end of the world if someone else wins; we just set the board up again and start anew. It’s the fun we have playing that counts.
When the boy is about to sing something (which is often these days; he is all about the singing), he lifts his fist to his mouth and clears his throat with a tiny soft sound. I have to try not to laugh every time. In the past week he has become obsessed with “Yellow Submarine,” which is both fortunate and not. It’s an easy song, so we know it and he learned it really quickly, but it’s not exactly deep. On the other hand, when I put our Beatles “1″ CD on in the car the other day, he sighed contentedly and said, “This is my favourite music.” Not bad for a kid who’d only heard it once about a year ago.
He met t! and Jan’s year-old husky/shepherd/collie dog Carter over the weekend, and was throughly thrilled. Carter has experienced a streak of bad luck and has gone from a splint to a cast to another splint on his right foreleg, and is currently wearing a Victrola-style collar so the splint doesn’t get chewed. None of this fazed Liam. He giggled and crooned and patted and ruffled the dog’s fur all day. At once point the dog leaned against him with a deep sigh, pushing the boy into the wall, but after a look at HRH to make sure everything was still okay Liam set to scritching the blissful dog with great enthusiasm. At home after a long day, he was eating his grilled cheese sandwich when he said, “What was your favourite part of the day?” I told him what I’d enjoyed, and he said thoughtfully, “My favourite part of the day was meeting and playing with Carter.” And in fact, he has named the small stuffed dog he’s had for two years (previously known by the imaginative name of “Puppy”) Carter. Also while there, he spent a couple of hours jumping around the muddy side field as it was being prepared for the orchard, splashing in puddles, testing various bits of bark and grass and dead leaves to see what floated and what didn’t, and inspecting the family of baby field mice that was found as one of the holes was dug. When he came in for lunch, thoroughly soaked and happy, there were three inches of muddy water in each rainboot. If you can’t be a kid in a place like that, where can you be one?