Thursday, April 17, 2014

How a Boy's Mind Works

Ezra goes home today. He's been here nine nights, and would have gone home Tuesday except Lynda took sick and couldn't take him, and I couldn't get off work to do so. He's three, and has all the negatives of a 3-year-old. He resists potty training, and we more or less gave up (though we had a few successes with it while he was here). He wants his food at a perfect temperature, and served in the form he likes, though he eats almost anything. Don't stick his cantaloupe wedge with a fork, we discovered. He does not like holes in it. He doesn't like the taste of the toothpaste his parents sent with him; consequently it was a battle most mornings and evening to brush his teeth. Also, whatever book you pick to read him is the wrong book for that time.

But, he is a joy to be around most of the time. It's been amazing to watch him play. He loves the iPad, and, if left to his own devises, never do anything but watch it. So we had to be careful about how much we let him watch it. He's very adept at pushing a button or two and using the touch screen to get the game or children's show that he wants.

One thing we noticed is that he doesn't get into things he shouldn't. He seems to understand what are his toys, and only plays with them. All week he never touched any glassware or papers or things we have strewn about our most un-child-proofed house, all the more so right now as we are dealing with Lynda's mom's papers and surplus things from her moving to her smaller apartment. This is so unlike his older brother, Ephraim, who when he's here is always picking up glassware or trinkets to see what they are. We have some glass bells at different places around the house, and don't think to put them away before Ephraim comes. He's broken one, when he was about Ezra's age. But Ezra? He could care less. Toys and iPads are what he wants.

One day Lynda said he couldn't have the iPad, that he needed to play with his other toys. So he took his vehicles and made a line out of them. A bus was first, a tow truck second, and a helicopter was the last of the fifteen or so in the line. Once he had them all in a line, he moved them across the room, one at a time, and formed a line in another part of the living room, in the exact same order as the first line. Then, vehicle by vehicle, he moved them back to the first location. Moving them one direction he rolled them across Lynda, who was laying on the couch, going up the "hills" her knees and hips made. Or, if she wasn't there, he did that to me where I was sitting with my legs crossed in my reading chair. He did this for what seemed like a couple of hours.

What's going on in a boy's mind that causes them to be so organized, so methodical about their play? How does he do that same thing over and over again, with only the variation in the words or noises he's saying? How does he make his decisions? When we went on walks he always wanted to go downhill on our circle, not uphill. Then, on the other side of the circle—the "big hill" going up—I always had to carry him up the worst of it. When we finally got out to the next road, which takes a fair amount of traffic, he insisted on going all the way to the end. Then, on the return trip of the 1.5 miles total, he wanted to be carried some. Why insist on going the full distance and then want to be carried. A boy's mind. Who's to understand?

Yesterday when I got home from work I drug him away from the iPad, out to the driveway with his cement truck, airplanes, and trikes. He played with them for a while, but then wanted to walk. Fortunately, he accepted going up the circle from our house instead of down, and off we went. At the main road he wanted to go to the right instead of the left. We did, until we were getting ready to go down the big hill that takes you to the foot of the dam. I told him we had to go either left or right at a crossroads before going too far down the hill. He chose the right, and we walked down this road I've never been on before. It was a very pleasant road, with gentle grades and expensive, well kept houses. It circled back to the main road, and we turned left and headed home.

Except, when we came to the road to turn on to go home, he wanted to walk straight ahead, on this main road, as we did other times. I said okay, and we continued. Now, I'm walking on the edge of the pavement, but Ezra wants to be off the pavement, down in the grass, the leaves, the ditch. So his walk was harder on him than mine was on me. But he goes slowly, plodding through, having fun ducking under mailboxes and stepping over sticks, looking in culverts under driveways, sometimes picking up a rock from a xeriscaped yard and dropping it in a slightly different location. We went almost to the highway, but I talked him into taking a certain side road that looped back to the main road, and then to head home. I pointed to the sun low in the sky, and he understood darkness was coming and we had to head home.

As we got closer to the house he walked slower and slower. Yet he insisted on climbing up open areas on the back side of the ditch. He still resisted my taking his hand when cars came in our direction. I finally explained to him that I did that not because he might bolt out into the street, into the oncoming car, but so that the drivers of the cars could have confidence that he was under control. After I said that, he didn't object again. When we got to the house he still wanted to play some in the driveway, iPad within the house far from his mind, supper seemingly unimportant.

I eventually got him inside, he ate an enormous amount of food, and went back to his line of vehicles. Getting him to bed was a challenge, as he was over-tired, but all in all it was an evening I can't complain about. I figure we walked about three miles in just under two hours. I observed him closely, wondering all the time how his mind was working, never figuring it out. I hope, however, that my mind will always be as active as his, my methods as organized, and my energy as high.

1 comment:

vero said...

Organized thought and high energy are good things to hope for.