Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2YO ISO Identity

Henry is definitely coming into his own lately. I sometimes wonder what he would be like if he didn’t have Luke—and I must admit I sometimes wish he weren’t so geared toward superheroes and guns at such a young age—but it is a fruitless line of questioning to pursue. What would Henry be like if he didn’t have me for a mama? Maybe not so quick to yell. But also maybe not so engaged with the people around him, so interested in the feelings of others. It is impossible to trace all of the nature and nurture and learning and genetics to explain away this little person that Henry is becoming each day.

But even though Henry absorbs many of Luke’s interests, he always puts his own, quirky, two year old, extroverted, not-quite-mastering-language yet spin on them. He's seriously wrestling with both language and his own identity, and the overlap of the two creates a whirlwind of crisis and hilarity.

Lately, he has been Batman. When we pass people, he strikes a superhero pose (see picture above: superhero pose and lilac "pretty princess" pajamas) and yells, “Yah!” or “ZZZZTTT!” or whatever noise he decides a superhero would make. The other day, a woman at the library gave him funny look after this routine, likely because he was making so much noise, and he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I just a black guy.”

You see, the problem with Henry’s Batman routine is that he seems to forget Batman’s name a lot. Yesterday in Starbucks he kept saying, “I the black guy! I the black man!” After a few sharp glances from our African American barista, I loudly asked Henry, “You mean you are the superhero Batman? The one with the black colored suit?”

“Yes, I Batman!” said Henry. “Batman! The black guy! I the black man!”

I’ve read about kids at this age having some crossed wires in their language mastery. Their brains can’t quite keep everything straight, all of these new and amazing words. Luke never seemed to do this, though, so in Henry I find it terribly amusing and sweet. Particularly when coupled with Henry’s tendency to mix up first consonant sounds (as in the great corn/porn confusion mentioned in a previous post).

Yesterday, Luke and Henry each got a new toy from the thrift store. After trying out his new Playmobile set, Henry was eager to try Luke’s Power Rangers, but for some reason he couldn’t remember the name.

“I done flaying with my my flaymobile. Can I flay with your . . . I flay with your . . . I flay with your yogurt, Luke?”

Luke was glad to let Henry play with yogurt, which, incidentally, we did not have in the car with us, but not so giving when it came to his new Power Rangers.

Today, the Ben Ten action figure Wild Mut was Walnut.

And last night at the dinner table we were about to say our prayer together when Heny started before the rest of us. I stopped him and told him that we needed to wait for daddy to start us off. The night before, on a lets-give-hubby-a-chance-to-be-spiritual-leader whim, I had told the boys to wait to begin praying until daddy started “since he is the leader.” So last night, after I stopped Henry, he said, “We wait for Daddy because Daddy is the King!”

And recently, while playing a modified version of Trivial Pursuit with the boys, I asked Henry, "Who is the leader of our country?" Henry's guess: "Henry?"

"No, Henry is not the leader of our country. Do you have another guess?" I asked. Henry's second guess: "Todd?" Todd is our landlord.

Oh Henry, black man, lilac-lover, loyal subject of Daddy the King and Todd the President, player of yogurt and walnut games, lover of porn: I love you, in all of your many forms. You are the apple of my eye. The porn on my cob. The walnuts in my yogurt.


Beck said...

Oh my gosh, this was so sweet and so funny - I laughed and laughed. The porn on your cob, indeed.

Nancy said...

I am just so glad for you that your little pale black man didn't start talking more back in the old neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing with tears in my eyes. I miss you. Mom

Jenny said...

Dear Ser,

What a hilarious wonderful post. Thank you for this treat tonight!


Julia said...

I'm laughing with tears too. I wish I could write comedy like you.

Anonymous said...

I believe that a new Erma Bombeck has been born. You go girl.

Bethany Torode said...

I am crying too! That last paragraph - what a wrap-up. You are GREAT.

(Hey, if Craig ever gets a job in LA once we're out there, maybe you can be a TV comedy writer.......)