Having four-year-old Grady here for the weekend is good for one’s innate sense of play. How else could I justify spending hours watching those cinematic marvels called Toy Story 1, 2 and 3? I appreciate the underlying innuendo and adult theme.
I can relive the early days of my own parenting through the featured toys. There’s a certain satisfaction in telling Grady that his dad Greg used to own a slinky dog, pull telephone, etch-a-sketch. In an era of toddlers playing with smart phones and tablets I ache for the simpler days when toy soldiers, wooden blocks and connecting plastic monkeys demanded imagination?not mastering levels. Baby dolls, plastic animals, and toy trucks need a child to animate them.
Hilary still has her Mr. Potato Head. Even though we were eventually able to dispose of her troll collection, I smile when I see the pink haired beauty in a blue bikini that was her first acquisition in a supporting role in the movie.
Grady has now matured to the point that when I beat him at Snakes and Ladders he doesn’t cry. He thinks one of his hockey trophies should be awarded to the winner.
We also spent time at our gravel pit where Grady climbed the piles like a mountain goat. The kid is extremely strong, wiry, athletic, and fearless. You don’t get the nickname ?The Blur? on your hockey team by accident. He had a ball?and a day’s quota of fresh air and exercise.
Next we headed down the road to the small creek about a mile from home. Tossing rocks into the water has been a fun activity for him ever since he could walk. With improved strength and aim the challenge for him is amped up. I wonder if either of us will ever learn to skip a stone. I pointed out deer tracks in the moist gravel on the road. On the way back to the truck I pointed out my footprints. I asked him if a mother deer would note my tracks to her baby.
The south side ditch was still iced over. I showed him how the dead dry grass had been frozen in place. We tried unsuccessfully to crack the ice with larger stones. We laughed at the sound of the rocks hitting and skidding harmlessly across the surface.
He also grabbed a branch of pussy willows and a fistful of rocks for my collection. He mistakes quantity for quality. Because he’s not as discerning as I am they will never make the cut.
Because we got locked out of the house I had to show him the secret hiding spot for the spare key. I told him about keeping the secret from crooks and bad guys otherwise the old Star Wars toys might be the first things grabbed during a break-in. Naturally he pointed it out to his mom when she picked him up. Apparently my days of teaching him are far from over, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..