I was driving along, my mind lost in the day's to do list, when I heard commotion in the back seat. I looked over my right shoulder and discovered I was in the cross-hairs of a one-eyed stare.
"What's the matter with your eye, buddy?" I asked Elliott, somewhat concerned that he had one eye pressed tight in a wink that looked like it might be permanently locked.
"I'm a pirate," he said. His voice gruff, his expression quite serious, and not even a quiver from the wink.
"Why are you a pirate?" I asked. I was relatively calm for a man suddenly carjacked into the world of 3-year-old piracy.
"Because I have one eye," Elliott answered, "you have two eyes and I have one eye and pirates have one eye so I'm a pirate." It wasn't until I was well removed from the terror of the situation that I could appreciate the logic in that explanation. What a world of difference a wink can make.
But, that is Elliott's world these days. Katie heard him growling in the living room while she was in the back room getting ready for work. He didn't appear to be in distress or in want; he was simply growling. She, being the brave mom she is, took her investigation into the teeth of the roar. Before she reached the scene, she was greeted at the end of the hallway by Elliott.
"Roar," he yelled, "I'm a Tiger. Roar. I'm a Tiger. Roar. I'm a Tiger." He repeated this many times. It made me appreciate the neighbor's large dog that barks constantly, but has never once felt the need to stop and inform us that he's a dog. I guess there are some insecurities when you take on new roles in life.
Katie and I realize this is a normal phase that Elliott is going through, and for the most part, we simply smile or laugh and enjoy it. But, we aren't without concern. Not for Elliott, mind you, but for Ian. As casually as Elliott's parents respond to this never ending parade of characters, Ian latches on to each and every one of them with a worship usually reserved for superheroes. But make no mistake, in Ian's eyes, Elliott is a superhero.
Maybe for his next trick Elliott will transform himself into a doctor. Then he can really tend to Ian. Ian has what we believe is an incurable case of "Tractee Deficit Disorder." The disease is brought on by the insatiable appetite for time spent in the presence of tractors. Its symptom is one: anytime the afflicted is outside the presence of tractors, he or she breaks into a simple but often annoying chant - "tractee, tractee, tractee." And it isn't like your normal protest chant, but more like a devastated pet owner searching the neighborhood for their missing poodle.
Ian was fast asleep recently when it was time for he and I to hit the road to grandma and grandpa's house. Katie was trying everything to wake him up. "Do you want to see daddy?" she asked, searching for movement. Nothing. "Do you want to see Elliott?" Nothing. "Ian, do you want to go to grandma and grandpa's?" she asked. The sound of silence. "Ian, do you want to ride the tractor?" His little eyes popped open; his face suddenly looked like he had been awake for hours.
"Tractee," he said. And thus the day had begun.
Ian had his almost-17-month checkup yesterday. Everything looked and sounded good. He is still long (35"), and his weight is average (25lb). We are so grateful that both of the boys continue to be blessed with good health.
Be sure to check out the new pictures.