Every weekend, there is something going on in my house called “play”. My son does not have siblings his age (he has an adult half -brother and half-sister on his dad’s side, who have never lived with him). In effect, my son is an only child. I’ve written before that we live in the country and there are no neighborhood kids anywhere nearby. As a result, my son spends most of his free time at home without playmates. It’s not a bad thing. He has a lot of fun.
Yes, yes, I know how important socialization is but he loves his weekend play time. He doesn’t express any desire to play with other kids. And he gets his socialization other ways. So weekend time is for us at home.
My child lives in a toy store. For many years, he would fixate on a few select toys to the exclusion of all others. Recently, he’s switched into a toy playing (over video games) stage. He’s actually disappeared into a large walk-in closet where a lot of the toys are kept and spent up to 30 minutes at a time, by himself, playing with different toys.
I will often walk in the area looking for him, step on a Hot Wheels car, trip over a remote control, and run an obstacle course filled with a Spongebob “laptop”, toy cars, mini pinball machine, and drumsticks. I may set off a “phaser” gun. Sometimes, when I actually get to him, I will find him using a remote control to spin the wheels on his car or staring at the light up headlights. Other times, I will actually find him playing something, usually, a remote control car in an appropriate manner.
He asked me, while I was writing this, to help him gather all his “Lightning McQueen” toys so he could watch Cars 2 and play. He abandoned the toys and decided to sit on the bed and watch the movie. (and that lasted about two minutes til he was on to the next thing…) But the thought was there and it was a first. It seemed like he was going to use the toys to try out some language from the movie. I don’t know whether it would’ve just become more echolalia or morphed into some pretend play…
Along with all the new toys he received for Christmas (many of which he maintains in the boxes they came in, ala The 40 Year Old Virgin), my son has been picking out and playing with toys he’s had since he was teething before he was one year old. He’s pulled out a little V Tech “Learn & Discover Driver” that he played with before he could sit up on his own. He wanted it for the steering wheel action. Another one was his “Fridge DJ” by Leap Frog. That came out of the bottom of a usually ignored toy box with an old electric “Camp Rock” drumset. And the ever popular Alphabet Town, a loud and obnoxious toy that quizzes him on letters, spelling and alphabet order.
You could find the common denominator to be toys that make sound. Unfortunately, just about every single one of my son’s toys make sound, have lights or, in the vast majority of cases, both. I remember as a kid, I would pretty much play Barbies or color if I wasn’t outside. Of course, my toys were Etch a Sketch, Spirograph, Easy Bake Oven and Barbie. Once the batter for Easy Bake was gone, I wanted to go outside.
With all the toys everywhere, I’m also getting “treated” to listening to two (yes- count them two) songs. He is currently obsessing on “Burning Love” by Elvis and “You Might Think” by The Cars. I have to hear the first four lines of each song – oh – I’d say about 80 times a day. He’s found them on You Tube in addition to sweet talking his way into getting them downloaded from iTunes. He is his own DJ and plays them over and over again. Stop. Begin over again. Stop. Begin over again. Bop head and smile.
Interspersed with this musical background score of my life, are the questions.
“Who’s singing that?” when he knows full well who it is. Or I hear:
“Sing that mommy.”
“What’s he saying?”
“Hi Elvis!” “HI ELVIS!!!” (Face in front of mine – “HI ELVIS!!!”)
We walked by a large poster for Abercrombie & Fitch with a young man in black and white and he got all excited and pointed, saying, “That’s….” repeatedly and in an excited voice but wouldn’t finish his sentence. Turned out, he thought it was a picture of Elvis. Apparently, he has decided he wants to be Elvis for Halloween next year. I don’t have the heart to tell him how it all ended for Elvis right now. He’s got a happy young Elvis in his head – and I’m going to let him keep it there. Oh, and yeah, I never was a big Elvis fan – naturally…