18 June 2011

Dis Way!

So, apparently, most of you people out there have something called an “internal compass,” which keeps track of whether you’ve turned right or left and keeps you from getting lost in Patrick Henry Mall even though it only has two long hallways and you’ve been going there for about 19 years.

And apparently it is not common for a 31 year old woman who has been, more or less, generally successful in life to still not actually know her right from her left without seriously concentrating, and even then only getting it right about 80% of the time.

So, if you have never made a turn and found yourself utterly confused because even though you can acknowledge that the buildings and scenery in front you look VERY familiar, you have NO IDEA where you have seen them before…then you might not get why the following information makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief.

When Eamon was less than a year old, we would drive down Jefferson Avenue to get to Target or Babies R Us, passing the entrance to Kiln Creek, the neighborhood where my parents live. Eamon couldn’t talk back then, but he compensated by making this weird fish noise that meant (why not?) “Grandpa.” One day, we passed by the Kiln Creek entrance and heard that fish noise from the backseat.

We just laughed. He couldn’t possibly know. My parents’ house is back deep in the neighborhood, requiring several more turns, and anyone, he could barely see out the window. Coincidence.

Well, that same coincidence happened so many more times that we felt sort of silly calling it “coincidence.”

So we figured, hey, he goes there every day. That’s why he knows.

But it turns out, Eamon knows a lot more than that. In fact, the older he gets and the more he talks, we have come to the realization that Eamon Wolfe always knows where he is. He not only has that internal compass, but I’m pretty sure he also has an internal birds-eye-view map. I admit that I just laughed when I heard that some people’s brains naturally work like this, since I can barely even read and interpret an actual map.

But I can come up with no other explanation for why Eamon always knows where he is and where he needs to go.

In fact, about three months ago, Eamon and I went to the Tabb area to visit a friend. We had never been to that area before. We came back on Victory Boulevard, a street that we often drive down, but from a direction we had never before taken (I have confirmed this with everyone who has opportunity to drive Eamon in their car). We stopped at the K-Mart shopping center at the Hardees, and Eamon immediately asked me, “Gym?”

I just sort of stared at him. The My Gym, where he goes once a week, was on the complete opposite side of this rather large shopping center. We could not even see it from where we were. But he knew. Finally, I said, “Um, no. Chicken.”

This happens a lot. As long as we have been somewhere once before, we can come at it from any direction and Eamon knows where he is. Moreover, even though he doesn’t know the words “left” and “right” yet, he has started giving directions by yelling, “Dis way!” and can lead almost any expedition quite faithfully…although it always ends up going either to Pet-Co, to see the cats, or to Toys R Us.

I feel ambivalent about this. On one hand, I am thrilled that he did NOT inherit my directionally-challenged brain. I won’t have to worry about him like my parents used to worry about me when I started driving: not because I wasn’t a good driver, but because I was forever getting lost…even in the parking lot of Target.

On the other hand, I am a bit embarrassed because I am realizing that my directional capabilities are on par with those of a two and a half year old, and Eamon will probably surpass me before he turns three.

And on the third hand, I’m just really, really glad that I will have someone in the backseat who can get me where I’m trying to go. Even if we always have to detour by a Toys R Us first.

14 June 2011


Aaron is out of town. Work is stressful. I am tired. But Life, it marches on. We must march on with it, though I think it is fair to stop the procession long enough to appreciate another Momentous Event in the Story of Eamon Wolfe.

Therefore, without further pomp or circumstance, I give you: The First Joke.

(Wait, one more aside. Before I tell you the joke, please remember: he is only 2 1/2, and we all start somewhere. Be kind in your judgment. End aside).

This joke was told on the way back from the zoo with my parents yesterday.

EAMON: Knock, knock.
NINI: Who's there?
EAMON: Ninon (Lion)
NINI: Ninon who?

Okay, well, so the concept of a "punchline" is perhaps a bit elusive for our young comic, but he is trucking on nonetheless.

In fact, just this afternoon, he told his Second Joke.

Eamon had just put his alligator in his playhouse. He ran up to me, holding out his arms. "Where alligator?" he asked.

"Why, I don't know," I pretended. "Could it be...on the MOON?"

Eamon looked at me blankly. "Noooo," he said, slowly, as if speaking to someone of small intelligence. He pointed to the playhouse and said, "In house." He then took the alligator out of the house to show me, obviously worried that he had inherited half his DNA from someone who thought that alligators could somehow be magically transported from a playhouse to the moon.

A few minutes later, though, he hid the alligator in the house again, ran up to me, and repeated the process. "Where alligator?" he asked.

"I don't know..." I started.

But before I could finish, Eamon exclaimed, "On moon?!" He then devolved into giggles over what was apparently now *his* joke, therefore completing another Important First in the Life of a Comic: Reappropriating Others' Material.

If he keeps up with this rate, I figure that he will be doing open mic nights by Labor Day and have his own HBO comedy special by Christmas. Let me know if you want tickets.

03 June 2011

Almost Learned Behavior

When I taught third grade, we spent a lot of time going over the difference between an instinct and a learned behavior. I tried to use as many examples as possible, and relate them to the children’s lives.

“How many of you have a younger brother or sister?”

Many would raise their hands.

“Raise your hand if your brother or sister was born knowing how to drink milk.”

They all raised their hands.

“That’s right. Knowing how to suck milk is an instinct. Now raise your hand if your little brother or sister was born knowing how to talk.”

They all giggled, but none raised their hands.

Well, we’ve spent plenty of time covering Eamon’s quest to learn to talk in this blog, but there is another related learned behavior that we have been working strenuously to teach our little man: manners. We sound (and feel) like broken records, always prompting him to say “please,” “thank you,” “sorry,” or “excuse me,” and it is starting (finally, months later) to pay off.

Unfortunately, though Eamon now knows these words, he sometimes misjudges how to apply them to social situations.

For instance:

The bagger finished bagging our groceries and handed me the bag, so I said, “Thank you.” Eamon overheard these magic words, and piped in, “Thank you!” And then, just for good measure, added, “I love you!” Luckily the bagger just thought it was funny.

Eamon was watching a dinosaur show when my mother told him that I had come to take him home. Eamon, without missing a beat, said, “No thank you,” and resumed watching his show.

We were listening to one of my and Eamon’s new favorite songs (Janglin’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes), and I was dancing along. Eamon, with just a hint of pity in his voice, said, “No thank you dance, Mommy. No thank you.” And just in case I didn’t get it, he also threw in, “Please.”

Well, I couldn’t really blame him on that one.

Anyway, we’re going to keep plugging away. We will civilize this child yet. And if you see Eamon, please remind him to use his manners, okay? Thank you.