1. BOY, INTERRUPTS.
I was driving along, beloved Magnetic Fields playing medium volume, my daughter humming along in the back, when she asked:
Who is this again?
Magnetic Fields. He's kind of friends with Lemony Snicket.
All My Little Words. I love this song so much.
The shared moment was broken by the irked voice of our son from the next car seat over:
Will you guys STOP TALKING! I can't hear the music! Will you PLEASE START THE SONG OVER!
Thank you for saying please.
and complied, because I have a soft spot for people who deeply love music.
"You are a splendid butterfly /
It is your wings that make you beautiful"
We listened again, and then again, in silence. Except for my daughter's quiet humming, which we were okay with.
2a. YES, PART I?
Can a dragon make a snake melt?
Someday, perhaps we'll see a mashup of Reign of Fire and Anaconda and find out.
2b. YES, PART II?
Can Jesus see us when he's invisible?
I think so.
I said, sort of confidently.
3. BEYOND BAD AND EVIL.
We were building a fort, and he decided to expand vertically.
I'm building a dungeon,
It's where the prisoners will go. Darth
Vader will go down there because he's bad. Darth Maul will go down there too because he's evil.
What is the difference between bad and evil?
he thought quickly, deliberately.
Darth Vader is bad because he's good at first, but then he turns bad but then he turns good before he dies so he's just bad. Darth Maul is evil. He's really evil.
What is the difference?
Is really really bad and he doesn't turn good, so he's evil.
That is one of the best sermons I've ever heard. Thank you.
I'm building a dungeon.
4. BACK TO THE BASICS.
What is fourteen billion, three thousand and sixty-three times zero?
I asked him.
he estimated with confidence.
I said, watching as his ever-present advisor whispered in his ear. He looked up after she left.
I MEANT to say,
I think that is correct.
Why are we listening to music?
Because it's important.
I said, absent-mindedly.
Actually it's not,
he said, trying to get a reaction.
Music is not important to me.
He got the reaction.
Oh yes it is.
Music is important in this family.
I don't like Leonard Cohen. I don't like him at all.
As a matter of fact.
You do. In this family, it is mandatory that if you're three years old, you have to like Leonard Cohen.
I don't like Leonard Cohen. I hope that he eats a lot of chocolate and that it makes him sick.
That is not very kind.
I might like him if he played a tuba.
5. GOOD NIGHT, CHILDHOOD.
I love you kid.
I'm not a kid.
I'm an adult.
he said matter-of-factly.
How do you know?
When you lift me up, you can tell that I'm tough and important.
What makes someone important?
He answered without hesitation.
When they can go poop in a potty. That's when someone is important.
You know what kid?
Believe me, I knew you before you were pooping in a toilet, and guess what?
Even when you were pooping in a diaper,
And sometimes in between diapers...you were important.
he said, shrugging.
Now I go potty in the toilet, except sometimes I pee outside by a tree.
Are you important?
I hope so.
Can we please go to the jungle today?
Can we go to Canada then?
It's good to go Canada, and they have a good playground there.
How do you know that?
Uncle Jeremy told me.
5b. TRAFFIC MONOLOGUE.
Why is it taking so long to get there?!
he cried out in despair.
Why is that truck in front of us going so slow? It's taking like for an hour to get there! I wish that truck was broken! I wish I could chop it into pieces with a battle axe!
Does not sound extraordinarily kind or sensible to me.
Well I wish ice cream was on the truck, and I wish I had a big bowl of ice cream to eat.
5b. A SNEAK PEEK INTO TWENTY QUESTIONS WITH US.
I've got it.
Is it an animal?
And it lives in the sea.
You don't NEED to give us any clues. Just answer Yes or No to the questions we're asking, okay?
But it also doesn't have fur.
Is it a member of the whale family?
he thinks deeply, perhaps too deeply, and finally remembers. Or decides.
Yep. It is a whale.
I got it! Just out of curiosity, is it a gray whale?
Its colour is blue.
I remind him.
You can just answer Yes or No.
he nods vigorously.
I'll go again. Okay...got it!
Does it...have fur?
It does have fur. And it lives in the water and is bigger than a horse.
When he was born almost exactly four years ago, I wanted to totally love him right away, but we had such a great little triad going before he was around and it was hard to conceive how someone else could jump into that and make it any better. Well, he did. His personality, loyalty, infectious affection, and enthusiasm for conversation, hard play, tough questions, and joyous living just carved himself out an irreplaceable place in our family to the extent that it's challenging to remember how he once, not long ago, was not actually a part of us.
Man, I dig this kid. The best people often, I think, are the ones that just help you become a better and more interesting person just by their involvement and presence in your life, and by that metric - or any - this lad has just helped light up our lives in so many ways. And made the people around him better people.
Here's to you, kid. To decades more of fantastical conversations and Princess Bride-quoting swordfights.