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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Conversations with Atticus

Who knew that a seemingly-mundane trip to Target could yield such entertaining results? Atticus has been making really great choices lately, from becoming fully potty-trained to displaying stellar behavior when returning to school this week, so I decided to reward him with a new toy. The trip to the store provided so much insight into my little man's personality, that I just had to share this series of events with you.

It all began on the short drive over. I tuned into one Pandora station or another without really thinking and pulled out of the driveway. Now, I should note that Atticus loves music. If I forget to turn the radio on, even for a short trip, he will demand to hear "songs." His latest favorite is "Lakehouse" by Of Monsters and Men, because it's simple enough for him to recognize and the refrain, "where we are, where we are" is easy for him to sing along to. Well, an Of Monsters and Men song came on Pandora and Atticus said, "Mommy, I want the other song like this." Not knowning what he meant,  he started singing "where we are, where we are" until it clicked. I know that this may not seem like a magic moment, but those of you that know us well know that there are few things in our lives as important and influential as music. And for a just-turned-three-year-old to recognize the similarities between two songs by the same artist...let's just say it's impressive. And as soon as I started the song, he recognized the guitar riff at the intro and immediately thanked me. That would have been enough to blog about, really. I was immensely proud of this guy, especially when he started singing along in key, but this was just the beginning. I linked a live performance (on Seattle's KEXP) of the song below so you can check it out. It's pretty catchy.

When we got to the toy aisle, Atticus was chattering away about wanting a new Lightning McQueen because he had recently lost his original. When we got to the Disney's Cars display, though, I could see the little wheels in his head spinning:

Me: There's Lightning McQueen, bub. Do you still want him?

Atticus: No.

Me: Did you change your mind?

Atticus: I want that one (while pointing to a small orange car with an angry look on his face).

Me: Ok (I get it down and hand it to him). What made you pick that one?

Atticus: He's mean.

Me: Oooooookkkkkk. Why do you want the mean one?

Atticus: Because he's sad.

And then I get it. I feel I need to back up a little for you to fully understand what he means here.  Atticus has spent the summer dreading the start of school. He's in a class full of very rough-and-tumble boys who have far more energy than Atticus and he spent most of last year misreading their tackles and yells as anger. He thought all the boys in his class were mean and didn't want to go back to a place where the kids were always angry at him. I get it, but tried to explain to him all summer that the boys were just playing and that he should give them another chance. When he got back from his first day of school on Thursday, he told me, without any prompting, "my friends are not mean! My friends are nice!" and then chuckled to himself as is misjudging them was the silliest thing he'd ever done.

So the conversation continues now that I understand his motivations...

Me: Why is he sad, bub?

Atticus: Because his friends are all gone. I need to take him home.

Me: Are you his new friend?

Atticus: Yeah!!

proudly holding his new cars
And here's Atticus, our little peacemaker, resolving conflicts in the world of Cars based on his own experience of misjudging his friends at school. In that 30-second conversation I witnessed growth, empathy, and real-world connections from my son and I swelled with pride. I bought him Lightning McQueen, too...the kid earned it.

At the register, he's chattering away to the cashier about his new toys and how old he is and how Quinn is his little brother and he loves him. The cashier says, "well aren't you a little ham?"

Atticus says, "I not a ham! I a strawberry!"

Once again, I don't get it.

"Why a strawberry?"

"Strawberries are sweet!"

Surely someone has taught him to say this, but I've never heard it before and clearly neither had the cashier because I've never heard anyone laugh so loudly. And I realize just how much this little boy is his father's son. He's full of silly jokes, empathy for the misunderstood, and a general desire to encourage smiles and laughter. I don't think I can be any more proud of him than I am at this moment, until he points to a Hummer in the parking lot and says, "that car's TOO big!"

It sure is, buddy. It sure is.

1 comment:

  1. Are you the same person who had posted about having postpartum depression months later? If so please email me at
    My name is Jennifer by the way!