After every thrift-store trip where he’s been allowed to pick out a new (to him) toy, Deaglan asks me, several times in the following hours, if I think he’s made a good choice.
Of course I always tell him that yes he did indeed make a great choice, and this always seems to mean something to him; I see it in the way his head sort of tilts, a faraway satisfied look on his face.
How can I say otherwise after watching him deliberate over which thing to choose?
There’s usually one wall filled with bags of small toys – grab-bags if you will, odds and ends you can partially make out but don’t know the full contents of which until after you’ve paid and are sitting on the living room floor with ample room to spread out.
Sometimes one of these catches his attention – once an assortment of green army men, just like the ones from Toy Story, a few Hot Wheels and a yo-yo – and he asks me if he should get it as his “pick”. I remind him of the other wall, shelves lined with Monster trucks, cars, games and puzzles. Often he does his best to make the case for two toys because in his opinion one is absolutely necessary to the other. And once in a while I find myself indulging him, against my better judgement – that voice in my head warning me that I’m spoiling him – because it’s worth it to see his delight.
For the next few days the new toy is his constant companion. He keeps it within reach when eating or going to the bathroom, and at the end of the night I usually have to pry it out of his sleepy grip, place it on the night table beside him so that it’s the first thing he sees upon waking when he'll again appraise it, ask me a few more times if I feel he's made a good decision choosing it.
I've been thinking so much about this notion of authentication, how we all need to feel like we’re on the right track, doing the right thing. How nice it is when someone reaches over squeezes our shoulders and says, “Hey, you’re doing a good job.”
We forgot to take pictures of Deaglan on his first day back to school. I was going to take them on the second day and pretend it was the first day figuring he would never know when he looked back, but I forgot to take those too. I didn’t take them the next day or the one after that. I was going to take them tomorrow morning and call it a day. But I just remembered it’s a PD day.
On those thrift-store toy days Naveen could care less what I think of his choice. He always picks the same thing. If they don't have one, he finds something that resembles it. In the past year we've owned seven toy vacuums and four odd looking plastic contraptions that you push around. I'm hopeful that this just means he'll be obsessive about keeping our floors tidy.
Mostly I'm wrong about these things though.
Pictures we did remember to take. We went to the beach one last time this past weekend and finally rode the train in Port Stanley.