Theo wrote a book with Savannah this week. It's titled "Roo Maked a Potty." Transcribed by the author to his most receptive and gifted co-author and illustrator, this book reflects Theo's interest in setting goals (a story about potty-priming, to mirror his own) as well as his understanding that inspiring role models can make all the difference (Roo is triumphant over the potty with the help of Thomas the Tank Engine shirt and underpants).
For as long as I can remember, Theo has been interested in the authors of his books. He always wants to hear their names, consider their photos and maybe even contemplate the person who created the experience he is having. This book unifies author intrigue with his two, greatest passions: The cast of Winnie the Pooh characters and the Thomas the Tank Engine entourage.
Speaking of French words, Ali at Starbucks taught Theo to say "Enchante" this week, and he has learned very quickly this word's social currency in creating ripples of delight around him. Claiming to be shy, Theo will occasionally spend about 30 seconds with his face in my neck at the start of a social encounter, then move right along to asking every grown up their name. At the eye doctor last week (to check out some exaggerated blinking--all is well), the medical staff was astounded at Theo's capacity to calmly sit still and rest his chin on the funny machine, take his eye drops like a champ, and even flirt with anyone willing to tell him their name.
Today, after asking me what "furniture" is and listening intently to my answer, Theo requested, "Keep talking about furniture, Mommy." He must have said this six or seven times. And so, I spent a half hour at least riffing on the possibilities of furniture. This kind of request for "more talking" happens often over here. (It's an interesting opportunity for this introvert, living with a person who would be delighted to have a nonstop flow of conversation). I think Theo enjoys feeling included in dialogue that draws him into the adult realm of experience, and he'll gladly listen to stories about pretty much anything, including -- earlier this week -- Mommy's speculations about which cat peed on her bed. (Theo thinks Blablio -- aka Diablo -- did it, by the way.)
Master of the narrative form, Theo regularly speaks to/of himself in the third person -- as if he were one of the grown ups who love him -- offering the questions and prompts he would like to hear. For example, he'll do something he finds comment-worthy, and then he'll ask loudly, "What are you doing, Theo?" Or, he'll offer himself praise, "What a wonderful train you built, Theo."
My son reminds me daily how very human the need for metaphor is in making sense of our experience. As he finds his own place in the realm of story, he gets clearer about who he is and what he loves. Speaking his truth to people who are eager to hear it seems to be giving Theo such pleasurable author-ity and confidence.
For this mother, every sentence my son speaks is an ache of pleasure drilled right down to my core. I stand with arms out and a face of exaggerated surprise as he carefully articulates, "I'm going to jump now, Mommy!"