When we were on vacation in Alabama last month, I found a little yellow fish in the sand. I think it’s a fishing lure, but I have no idea because I don’t fish. All I knew was that it was cute, and it said “Shakespeare” on it.
Deciding this was a sign from the gods of the beach that I should be writing, I brought it inside.
Simon immediately stole it away to keep in his room.
Okay, that’s cool. I let him have it because I knew that once it came time to go home, I could take it back and keep it on my desk. Chances were, he’d forget about it once he had access to all his little toys.
We got home. I put it on my desk. It stayed there for a good two weeks.
Then, the other day, I’m walking through the living room, and I see it sitting on the coffee table.
“Where did this come from?” I ask Simon.
He looks at me like I’m an idiot (which happens more often than I’d like to admit.)
“The table,” he tells me. Because, duh, it’s on the table.
“No, before the table, where was it?”
He stares at me some more. Again, I’m being an idiot.
“On the paper.”
Yes, yes, he’s right, to be exact, it was on the pad of paper before I picked it up.
“Before that,” I say.
And he just stares.
“Was it on mom’s desk?”
“It was on the table.”
Apparently, I was just too dense to get it. It didn’t matter that it was once on mom’s desk. It had been claimed by Simon, and it was his. The only thing that mattered now was that it was on the table with his stuff. His. Not mine.
I finally got it, put the fish back down on the pad of paper, and walked away.
I don’t think I’m going to get Shakespeare back anytime soon.
Children are weird. No one needs to argue that point. But I’m going to anyway.
I was a totally weird child.
One of the best examples that springs to mind happened when I was seven or eight years old. My grandmother grew radishes in her garden, and I was one of those kids who liked to eat fresh vegetables, including radishes. But my mother had carved radish roses and put them in the salad that night.
I decided not to eat my rose, but instead to save it, and I somehow got it from the table to my bedroom without anyone noticing. There, I hid it in a dresser drawer.
My parents found out (probably my sister told on me), and they demanded to know why I had a radish in with my socks. My logic was flawless: it was pretty, and I wanted to save it – not eat it. I still stand by that impeccable reasoning today.
But I can also look back and admit that it was kind of weird.
So you can understand where I’m coming from when I say that sometimes Simon also engages in weird behaviors.
Like his sleep habits.
Simon likes to go to bed at 7 p.m. Doesn’t matter what we do to try to change it. At 7, he knows he wants to “scurry off to bed” (his words, taken from, I believe, Bear in the Big Blue House). Sometimes he’ll ask to scurry off to bed at 6:30. Sometimes he’ll last past 7 if something super fun, like going to fireworks on the Fourth of July, is involved. Generally, he goes to bed at 7, or he falls asleep on the couch.
But then he wakes up in the middle of the night.
Here’s the thing: he doesn’t leave his room. He used to, but then one year when we were on vacation, he determined that he should stay in his room until we got him, and then he kept that up when we got home. He stays in his room, falls back asleep (eventually), then wakes up at 5:20 on school days – early bus! – or 6 am on other days.
Okay, so where did the title of this blog figure into all this, you may very well be asking yourself.
Here’s the answer…
When Simon wakes up in the middle of the night, we can tell because suddenly there are noises coming from his room.
The sound of a child laughing.
The sound of a child singing.
The sound of a child repeating bits from TV shows at the top of his lungs.
It’s super weird to hear that. All of them are from children’s shows. For real. Which almost makes it worse.
Waking up at 2 a.m. and hearing a child telling you to hide in the shower or chase someone…yeah, it’s kinda like being in a horror movie where you realize that the phone call is coming from inside the house.
So…freaky noises from kids at 2 a.m. – weird. Am I right?
Simon has begun re-watching episodes of “Oswald” on his iPad mini. He loves using Amazon’s streaming videos because he can watch so many cartoons and shows that he likes, and he is in complete control of it. He wanders around with it, watching them on the couch, on the floor, wherever he goes.
For those who are not familiar with “Oswald,” Oswald is an octopus that has a pet dog (Weenie) and a number of friends, including a penguin (Henry) and a flower (Daisy). [Fun Fact: Oswald is voiced by Fred Savage! Yes, that Fred Savage!]
Anyway, so Simon has gotten into the show again in a big way. He used to watch it a lot, but then stopped. Now he really loves it. Watches an episode a day, at least.
Well, in one of the episodes, Oswald’s dog get dirty and needs a bath. And, being a dog, does not want to take a bath. Oswald has to find him and force him to take a bath.
Nothing funny yet, right?
Now let’s remember echolalia.
I was gone to Tampa for the residency period of my MFA. My husband took Simon to the store. Simon walked around, repeating only certain lines from the show. Those lines?
“Weenie’s dirty. Weenie needs to take a bath.”
Now imagine how you would react to an 11-year-old boy walking around saying that. Repeatedly. Apparently there were a number of very strange looks.
My husband tried to mitigate the strangeness by filling in the blanks, “Yes, Oswald’s dog, Weenie, is dirty, and he does need to take a bath.”