"He was a Wego man but he didn't have arms, so my mom got me a new Wego man who did have arms, but I didn't wike his hair. I took it off. But now I can't find it. I frink I left him outside, but the cat won't bover it. I hope. I don't know. Dad said she awmust kiwed a bunny what's not living in our house anymore. If I were a bunny I would not like that."
The Champ was standing in the driveway, in his pajamas, talking a mile a minute and waving a toothbrush for emphasis. He looked like an eccentric professor.
A grandmotherly woman is smiling at him and nodding her head. He takes a breath and asks her: "Did you see dat?" She looks up at me. Her smile has tightened and I realize she didn't understand a word of what he was so emphatically telling her.
I perform a loose translation: His Lego figure lost its arms and so I bought him another one, however he lost it outside and he's slightly worried that the cat — who attacked a young rabbit recently and brought its stunned but still living body into the house — also may be hunting his toys. He was wondering if you may have come across any bald Lego people?
She pats his head as he hugs her legs. He tells her he has to wear "Aqua Arms in the pool swim."
"He wears a life preserver when he goes into the swimming pool," I say, and then whisper, "which is next on the to-do list today."
The Champ starts to bounce. We have to move on.
Schedules must be kept. We're on the meter. And everything has to be just so:
He's got his underwear perfectly positioned backwards so the Super Hero is in the front (where you can see it).
He's wearing his black Spider-Man shirt (pajamas) with his dinosaur pants (also pajamas), although he's changed twice because he spilled a drop of water near a cuff when he was brushing his teeth.
He's wearing his favorite shoes (his "golf shoes," though no one he's ever met plays the game) that must be worn at all times with socks, which are never the first ones you grabbed out of the drawer. His feet, once property encased, can never touch water — not even slight dampness — lest he have to deal with the dreaded squeaking.
His "packback" must have at least one toy, which is different from the toy he brought three weeks ago yesterday. And it must be red. ... Or blue. ... Or green. Though not today. Today is anyone's guess.
He's sleepy at nighttime and "watchy" in the morning time. Curious George on PBS is his favorite show, although sometimes he wants to watch Lego Spider-Man movies on YouTube ... unless he wants to watch "Not Wego Spider-Man moobies" on Hulu.com.
Food is a whole other kettle of fish, and even my own understanding of what he'll eat is precarious.
Did I pack the right sandwich? Was it peanut butter on Daddy's Bread (wheat) that he wanted or was it Turkey Lurkey on a Pillow (roll)?
His father, holding out a buttered bagel the boy had just begged him to make, doesn't understand why he's now so upset.
"YOU FRENCHED IT!"
"He didn't want his bagel toasted," I explain. "He likes it hot with butter, but not toasted. The brown bits make him sad. Microwave, 20 seconds."
Everything seems to get lost in translation, especially patience.
"Why does he get to do everything HIS way? Someday he's going to have to put his two feet on the ground even if it's raining," complains his sister, who only recently began wearing her left and right shoes on their proper feet.
"Because, little miss 'I-Don't-Want-To-Wear-Jeans-Because-They-Feel-Ichy,' you know as well as I do that some battles aren't worth fighting.
"And besides, I'm saving my energy for clean pajamas and brushed teeth."