Friday, March 23, 2007

The Baton Wielding Beauty

I love the absurd arguments that children get into. Well, I guess I don't always love the absurd arguments that my particular kids get into at the time that they get into them, but I definitely can appreciate the humor later. In our house, since Henry has recently been speaking much more clearly, the arguments have taken on new sophistication. Only three months ago, the verbal banter went something like this:

Henry: Gabba Gooboo!
Luke: No Gabba Gooboo!
Henry: Gabba Gooboo!
Luke: No Gabba Gooboo! (scuffling ensues, stage left)

But now since Henry is speaking so much more eloquently, and since he is recently becoming very, very opinionated, the arguments have taken on new depth, revealing much more character motivation.

Luke: I will be Schuyler "Sky" Tate, S.P.D. Blue Power Ranger, and you will be Sydney "Syd" Drew, S.P.D. Pink Ranger, the baton wielding beauty!
Henry: I Jack (translation, "I will be Jack Landors, S.P.D. Red Ranger.")
Luke: Baton wielding beauty!
Henry: Jack!
Luke: Baton wielding beauty!
Henry: Jack!

Luke always wants Henry to have the worst of things, and I'm not sure why. Even though Luke didn't want to "be" Jack himself, he didn't want Henry to occupy this imaginary position, since Luke himself likes red and Jack is the red Power Ranger. Henry must be the least desirable character, who is the pink, female, "baton wielding beauty."

This is a little game that Luke plays regularly, in fact, this game of deciding who he is and who Henry will be. In a recent reading of a Bob the Builder book (and no, adds that insecure angel on my shoulder, we don't only own television tie-in books) Luke decided on each page who he would be (always the truck) and who Henry would be (always one of the accessories). On one page Luke was the truck named Muck, hauling away Henry, a chopped up log.

Maybe it isn't that Henry must have the worst of things, but that Luke wants to establish that they are different. I feel like Luke has never actually recovered from Henry's birth. Being yanked from his position as the center of the universe, Luke is still fighting to establish his new identity. Many children cling to the "big brother" or "big sister" role, but this was never very appealing to Luke.

I think Luke often feels like he is witness to a great love affair between Henry and the world. Henry flirts, embraces everyone and everything with gusto and glee. This is not Luke's standard mode of operation. So Luke looks on as our front desk clerks say, "Hi Henry! You just make my day, Mr. Smiley!" These desk clerks have long given up on Luke, who, for a whole year, said "GO AWAY!" when they tried to talk to him.

Luke looks on as Henry chats on the phone with Grandma and Grandpa; Luke himself isn't much of a phone conversationalist. Luke looks on as Henry works the camera. And all this looking is with a mixture of humor, jealousy, and discomfort

Luke isn't Henry. I'm okay with that, and I think Luke is working on being okay with that, too.


Dove Knits said...

We love Henry's smileyness and friendliness, but I don't know what we'd do in church school without Luke's dream du jour, and his incredible memory for absolutely everything we teach.

Ser said...

You are so nice to comment on Luke's strengths, Tanya. I hope my posts don't come off as overly down on Luke--I also so appreciate his flights of fancy and his intelligence, among other things. I'm glad he enlivens church school.


Dove Knits said...

No, they really don't come across that way at all! It just sounds like you're very well aware that your children are not the same person, and you're honest honest about the fact that sometimes your kids will drive you nuts. And that's ok.

He was so great yesterday at Mason's party! He really kept the conversation going.