Tuesday, August 01, 2006



This is a story of my little buddy Bob. I am not sure if that is his “real” name or not… I mean, it is not the name on his birth certificate nor is it the name most everyone called him before he was born, but if you ask him what his name is, he will tell you, with no hesitation, “Bob.” Now whether he is Bob the Builder, Bob the Plumber, Bob the yard man, Bob the janitor, Bob the fireman, or just plain old Bob I guess depends on the time of day and the mood he is in.
He is Andrew by birth, which was not even 3 years ago. Yes, that is right, Bob is not quite 3, not until nearly the end of November. Prior to his birth, his name, to many of us, was Harley. Not that they really were going to name him Harley and not that there is anything wrong with the name Harley, but his Dad jokingly said he was going to name his son Harley Davidson because it was the only way he would ever have one. A Harley, that is. So, many of us called his mom’s big tummy Harley.
I took my sister and her husband to Maine in October of 2003 and we visited, among other places, Bar Harbor. There is a little store in Bar Harbor that specializes in Harley, uh…, stuff, including Harley receiving blankets and new born sets. For real! So I bought him a baby outfit that even included a baby sized dew rag with tiny Harley things on it. I must admit, that was funny seeing him in a Harley dew rag! Later I found a pint sized “leather” Harley jacket complete with all the zippers and chains.

I remember his mother saying one time that they were not sure if Andrew would end up being a “Drew” or an “Andy.” Time would tell. Little did she realize at that time he would end up being a “Bob!” But, one day, that is what happened. I am not sure if it was because of his Bob the Builder stuff or because he met so many men named Bob – the plumber, the guy that cuts grass, a mechanic, a fireman – you name it – it seemed every other man was named Bob. So it must have seemed natural to this little two year old that to be a grown up and use all these toy tools and things he had, one must be named Bob. I don’t know. I don’t remember how my mind worked at the ripe old age of 2, so I will not even hazard a guess. Just one day he announced his name was Bob. And he stopped answering to Andrew, well, most the time anyway.

Whoever wrote the first dictionary with the word precocious in it had to have had Bob in mind. Well, yeah, there was Mozart, too, and probably a few others. Personally, I hope Bob is nothing like Mozart, although the world would be a bit emptier if he had never been, but I believe from all I have read that he was not a particularly happy person except in his moments of musical creativity. I hope Bob will be a lot happier than many of the geniuses we know about. One thing in his favor (and he has so many things in his favor) is that he has a sense of humor. Bob has made jokes about things since he turned two! Not just repeated the silly baby level jokes, but he has displayed a true sense of humor! Wit! That’s the word I was looking for – he has wit. It that a correct sentence? I am not sure, but to me wit implies far more than just being kid-silly. It takes thought and comprehension and the ability to play with a subject. It also takes a certain fluency of thought as well as speech. Not gonna find that in a 2 year old little boy, you say? I must admit, it is rare. Plus, boys usually speak later than girls. Boys generally have a harder time verbalizing concepts. No problem there!
Maybe it is because I have been around so many, ummm, slow kids for so long that I am just so impressed with Bob’s conversations. Maybe I just have not seen enough normal kids in the last 20 or 30 years to know one when I see one. After all, the 2 year olds they bring to public school are there because they are so handicapped, most of them have no speech capabilities at all. (We had 3 classrooms of these kids in my old school when I retired, or about 30 kids out of a school of less than 600. Do the math on that one!)
Anyway, Bob is, well, fluent comes to mind. He may not always be grammatically correct, and sometimes his mom has to translate because he speaks so fast and still has a bit of a – umm, I was going to say a 2 year old’s accent, but that would be incorrect, his speaking ability is way beyond a “normal” 2 ½ year old. But he chatters away about things in a way that is probably more comparable to a 5 year old. He has good manners. If he wants to see something or play with something, he asks first. He puts toys away after he is finished playing them, and he offered to cut and weed whack my grass for me. He did a mighty fine job, too, I must say. Unfortunately he is faster than the camera, so the pictures are not that great, but you get the idea. Note the ear protectors! He even picked up some of the deadfall from the storm a couple of nights ago.
Bob likes the cats. But only one of my cats seems to enjoy Bob. No, not Rascal. Rascal was intimidated by Bob’s energy. Hadji hid most of the time. But good old Snuffy came out to see who was visiting (most people NEVER see Snuff) and stayed near by even putting up with a bit of tail tugging - not hard, but Bob had one of the possum puppets and the possum wanted to play with Snuff.
Remember the pictures of Hadji in his cube? Well, now we have one of Bob in the cube. He must be a bit of a contortionist to have gotten in there, but he made it. Good thing his mom is a chiropractor! That even made Rascal come in out of the hall to look at him.

Now it may sound stupid to some folks, but there are many of you who will understand the importance I place on the fact that I used to dream about Bob before he was born. Sounds like an Indian thing, I know, but I had numerous dreams about this little boy back when he was still “Harley!” And I have been interested in every stage of his growing. If you believe in reincarnation, you would guess that we knew each other – before.

In some ways I can hardly wait for Bob to grow up just to see what he is going to be like.

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