Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

When Dylan Speaks

Oh, how fondly I sometimes recall the early years when I wondered if Dylan would ever learn to talk.  It's not that he even talks that much now.  It's just that his call-it-as-he-sees-it approach has a tendency to leave me feeling a bit raw.  And now that he's old enough to spend more time at friends' houses, I'm learning it isn't just me who can leave an encounter with Dylan feeling a bit like I was on the losing side of a war.  These stories have recently become a hit at book club, and I figured I had better write them down before I start forgetting them.

I guess technically it is Alex's eighth birthday, and I should probably write about him, but I've never really liked to do something just because it is expected.

Instead, here is a collection of as many Dylan stories as I can recall (or as many as I can write down before Kirk and the boys get home from baseball practices).

Between the Lines

Within the same week as Dylan's 5th birthday, Adam was invited to his friend Trae's birthday party.  I already knew Dylan was disappointed with the small gathering of family I had invited to have the family tradition of cake and ice cream.  Let's face it - Dylan is frequently disappointed with my plans.  When we drove into the parking lot of the skate park, the party's location, D took one look at the large number of people (and did not at all account for how many of them just happened to be at the skate park) and stated, "Wow!  All those people seem to be having so much fun at Trae's birthday."  Sure, the words are pretty innocuous, but the meaning was easy to infer... "And the lame party you planned for me will clearly pale by comparison."

Just My Size

Dylan loves to go shopping with me, but I really don't know why I let him come.  He has incredibly strong opinions and horrible taste!  I had a bit of birthday money to spend and had decided I wanted a pair of fun, casual pants to help fill the gaping void in my wardrobe that falls between pajama bottoms and business dresses.  Dylan walked through the stores with me, pointing out every bright, multicolored pair he saw.

At first I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I tried just telling him the pants weren't my size.  But then he started measuring me.  He would hold two fingers up at the height of my waist, then count aloud while he moved his fingers down to the ground.  Then he would start again at the waist of the hideous pants, counting as he ran his fingers along their length.  Somehow, every pair of pants seemed to be exactly my size!

So I started to tell the truth, admitting that I really just didn't like the pants.  "But they're beautiful, Mom!  I just want you to buy something beautiful."  I soon discovered that his definition of beautiful seemed only to apply to wild patterns featuring many colors.  And if there was velvet to be had - all the better.

We left the second store without finding anything that fit his needs and mine, and I announced that we would probably just head home.  He burst into tears, explaining once again his strong desire for me to leave with a colorful purchase.  Thank goodness for the teal skinny jeans with contrasting mustard colored belt that happened to be on sale at Forever 21.  Fun, bright colors for Dylan - wonderfully solid for mom.

But It's Funny

Dylan recently spent a few days of preschool hanging out with his BFF Emily.  During one visit, Emily's mom, Cheryl, was working at her computer.  Dylan walked by and noticed an unflexed tricep hanging below her raised arm.  He walked up, poked it, and giggled.

"Hey, stop that!" Cheryl laughed back in surprise.

"But it's funny!"  He replied, as he continued to tickle her arm fat.

She's Stronger

During recent one-on-one outings with Grandma and Grandpa Casdorph, Adam and Alex have each constructed an item of their choosing out in Grandpa's shop.  At the conclusion of Adam's special day, he brought home a birdhouse, ready to hang from the front porch.  Unfortunately, our porch has no exposed wood into which we could screw the hook.  So the birdhouse sat on the ground inside the entryway, waiting for a home.

I guess I wasn't all that surprised, then, when at the conclusion of Alex's big day, he and Grandpa unloaded a tree they had built.  Grandpa stepped onto the lawn with a post hole digger and got to work.  The first few inches went well, but then he found the fun layer of rocks that seems to lurk under every inch of dirt in our area.  Working a little harder, he was starting to make progress toward breaking through this layer when Dylan decided to offer his advice.

"Maybe you should let Aunt Michelle do that.  She's stronger."

Judgement Seat

Pretty much everything Dylan says is dripping with judgement.  He even has a special way he scrunches up his face when he is about to let you know how much of a disappointment you are to him.  At least I can occasionally feel comfort from knowing he does not reserve these judgements exclusively for his mother.

About a month ago, Dylan found out that Michelle is pregnant and will be having a baby girl in May.  Curious about how these things work, he asked Michelle, "How did that girl baby get in there?"

Tactfully, Michelle responded with a question.  "Do you remember how you used to think that Ryder got in my belly?"

Dylan's response was simple.  "Yes.  You ate him."

I imagine Michelle smiled as she continued the conversation.  "Well, then how do you think this baby got in here."

"You ate her?" he asked, pausing thoughtfully to process before calling it how he saw it.  "You seem to eat a lot of babies."

More to Come

Of course, for all the funny things Dylan says, I have at least one funny story about something Michelle has said to him.  Like the time she refused to tell him that the meal between breakfast and dinner is called lunch, because she felt she had told him enough times already.  Or the day she wouldn't let him say "basically," requiring him to restart his sentence each time he forgot.  Or the day when I told him he had to be nice to her, and she replied, "It's okay.  We're kind of fighting today.  I don't want to be nice to him, either."

Michelle and I have been telling these stories at pretty much every social function for the last few months.  So if you have a Dylan story that I didn't cover, please share it in the comments so I can do a follow up post.

Because I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that his fine-tuned ability to make me (and occasionally others) feel small and incompetent is just a phase I'll look back on fondly.

If not, I'll just keep this handy as blackmail.