Friday, August 28, 2009

Cucumber Daddy and the Boy Genius

Thumper was calling me Cucumber Daddy for a while this morning.

Oh, but wait! First, I have to tell you: one of the ladies at the child care center at the gym asked me today when I picked him up, "How old is he again? I mean, I know he's two, but when does he turn three?" When I told her, her jaw dropped. "He JUST turned two? He's so smart! He knows all his colors, and not just the easy ones! He even knows black and white! And he was counting. He said, 'One, two, three, four, five... Five million dollars!'"

"Yeah," I said, "I don't know where he got that five million dollars thing. I ask him if I can have some, and he says, 'No...'"

She was still gushing. "And he told me that the red pick-up truck on his shirt was 'Kinda like a fire truck.' He's so smart!"

Yep. That's my boy!

Oh, yeah, anyway. Cucumber Daddy. We went to the playground, and we brought his scooter. Man, he loves that thing. He's actually getting pretty good at it, too, pushing with one foot and scooting along. He has a hard time scooting and steering simultaneously, though. This is the second time we brought it to the playground. Last week, one mother, after watching him work it, said, "I thought those were for three- and four-year-olds!"

I thought the scooter might be a little advanced for him, but he's proven me wrong. There was a four-or-so-year-old there with a tiny bike with training wheels. When the kid had abandoned it, Thumper went over to investigate. The kid's mom told him, "I don't mind, but you have to ask your dad if it's OK." Thumper walked up to me, nodding, and said, "It's OK." So we experimented with the bike for awhile. After a few minutes and a seat adjustment (the mom whipped out an adjustable wrench and lowered the seat for him! How cool is that?), he was climbing onto the seat by himself, placing his feet on the pedals, and doing his best to push. As with his tricycle, he couldn't quite get the rotary motion going, but my two-year-old was riding a bike today.

Oh yeah. Cucumber Daddy. I keep going off on Boy Genius tangents. After he scooted for awhile, and before he discovered the bike, he played in the sand box. The sand box has this thing in the middle that makes it look like it used to be a water feature, like a mini-splashpad, but that they filled it with sand at some point to save money. Or something. Let me see if I can find a photo of it... Ah, here! The thing in the background of this photo.

So Thumper's climbing on the tall part in the middle. I get distracted doing some people watching on a family that gave all appearances of being prolific breeders that homeschool, with the dad sort of nagging his older kids in this cheerful, sing-songy voice. "Don't push Baby Ethan so high on the swing, Princess. You'll scare Baby Ethan. Of course you have to wear your shoes, Goofy. I know they get rocks, but they're protecting your feet." Etc. Suddenly, a mom near me jumps to her feet and gasps, covering her mouth, and I hear Thumper say, "Oh. Uh. Yeah." I look over at him, and he's done a sort of flip over the top of the sand box thing. He's doing a handstand, with his feet at the top, and he's trying to figure out how to extricate himself from the situation.

I say, "What, are you doing gymnastics now?"

"Yeah," he says.

"Do you need some help?" I ask. But he gets himself free and gracefully lands on his feet before he can answer. Grinning, he starts climbing up again.

"Wow," says the mother who leaped to her feet. "That's one cool-as-a-cucumber daddy. My heart almost stopped!"

"Yeah," I say, "he takes a tumble now and then. He's already scraped his elbow this morning with that scooter over there."

"I know," she says. "I saw." Maybe with a not-so-subtle tone of disapproval. Maybe. I think about telling her that he can be a nervous kid, so I try not to teach him that the world is a dangerous place by reacting too strongly to minor incidents. Then I figure, eh, what's the point? She probably won't bother to call CPS on me, anyway. So I keep my mouth shut and look back at Thumper.

"Cucumber Daddy!" he says. He's climbed to the top again and is leaning over so that his feet start to rise. "Do it again?"


Jennie said...

I know I probably sound like I want to sniff the baby smell right off his head, but: "ohhh, that awesome boy." He sounds like a great kid.

I, Rodius said...

Thanks; he is. Sometimes I forget it, and blogging about him helps me remember.

anne said...

Rodius, you and Aerie are doing a great job of letting Thumper learn and grow at his own pace!

With proper safety gear (like a helmet on the scooter) and close (but not hovering) supervision, your boy is building self-confidence that he can try anything! The fact that he is so verbal for his age is due to you reading to him so much, and having real conversations with words he can understand. You are exhibiting respect for his individuality, and that will carry over to so many facets of his life!

My kids were great talkers at an early age also - people were amazed at their speech patterns and huge vocabularies at 18 months and 2 years. This has carried over to reading today: my second-grader is working on a book with words like "engulfed" and "shards". He is just getting used to a scooter and to a bike without training wheels - we have never pressured him into doing things he did not want to do (except for bathroom business - that took some work!) He is learning and growing at his own rate, and we do our best to give him the freedom to do that.

His just-turned-eleven sister recently learned to ride a bike. Yes, she is behind in that respect, but after practicing balancing on her cousins' scooters for a few months, she just got on the bike and started riding, to the amazement of us all! She is also academically advanced for her age... kids brains seem to develop in all different ways, and it is so fun to watch them do something new.

keep up the good work, and thanks for posting!

I, Rodius said...

Thanks, anne, we're doing out best. It means a lot to get positive feedback. I hope we can continue to help him love discovery, even after he starts in dreaded public school.

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