In which a fondness becomes an obsession (and then a mania?)

The MonkeyFish loves cars. This is no secret, as anyone who meets him is told “hi” and then promptly “car car car car!” or sometimes “truck” or “motorcycle”; but CAR is key.

In church, he often asks Bill or I to draw him a car on the back of the program, exclaiming in great excitement during the part where we draw in the wheels.

If we forget to pack one of his toy cars in the diaper bag, he treats us for the rest of the outing as though we have betrayed him and are unworthy servants.

Of course, the Fish has millions of cars. Bill and I bought him one (count ‘em, ONE!) – the noisy kind that drives on its own that we bought in an attempt to encourage him to crawl.

But MonkeyFish has still managed to accrue dozens of the shiny wheeled things – from his adoring grandparents, aunts, and other fans (not to mention thieving the remote control cars that used to belong to his father and me). During evening clean up, I’m finding the little things under chairs, around corners, set up on shelves. They all go into his toy basket at night, and they ALL find their way out again within moments of the MonkeyFish waking up.

So, naturally, Bill and I decided to take him to the annual Demolition Derby event in our spunky hometown. We went last year (Fish and all) and I have to tell you – I was surprised by how much fun I had. This year, we were all looking forward.

We began to prep the MonkeyFish days before the event. Telling him about all the cars that would go round and round and then crash! He immediately took to it, and any time we mentioned the demolition derby, he would chorus with “cars round and round, crash!”

But even that would not prepare him for the wonder that IS the Demolition Derby.

Grandpa Rusty, Grandma, Megan and her boyfriend Cleve joined us for the fun. We found our seats (with minimal struggle) and sat down just as the first heat was wrapping up. Once the action was over and all the old classic cars were banged up beyond the ability to move, I tore my eyes away to look at my son. I have never seen that kid so in love.

And now, every day, nearly every moment, Wyatt is playing what he calls the ‘molition derby’, which involves all of his cars set up in an arena, a countdown of random numbers shouted (four is often overlooked), and cars driving around crashing into each other.

The problem is that one can’t play molition derby by oneself.

So he is constantly grabbing our fingers and pulling us toward the miniature arena of destruction insisting that “molition derby, mom!” and who am I to argue?

I usually get to be the dump truck – though sometimes I’m promoted to Batmobile. Wyatt is ALWAYS ‘police car’ (the one Soup got him in Hawaii). It is heroic when the little Hot Wheels car manages to roll the Puppy Car, 10 x its size.

Anyway, the point is that while I tire of the game fairly quickly and am sick of cars constantly underfoot (I have balance issues right now, anyway! What with this overgrown bowling ball sticking out of the front of me), Wyatt loves each of his cars with all the great expanse of his little heart. They accompany us to the breakfast table until Mom notices, and then protectively watch over us from the counter while we eat. There is one for each hand when we leave the house. They are set up on shelves in the family room, facing the TV just in case they will get to watch Wall-E show. They sit next to him on the couch during story time.

Bill and I joke about his obsession and how we need to introduce him to other things. Like Lego’s (his dad’s obsession).

But secretly, we find his devotion endearing. Neither Bill nor I are into cars. I can’t tell the difference between a Honda and a Ford on the road (Bill can), and neither of us knows anything about engines or carburetors or really anything beyond oil changes and gas prices.

This is something that is Wyatts, and Wyatt’s alone. A strong vein of his personality that he is exploring on his own. I find that remarkable.

Also: I’m hoping that he’ll be able to fix my cars when he’s a strapping young man with car grease on his hands and I’m a fuddy duddy old mom who is slightly embarrassing, but is still the best cook he knows.


MikkSolo said...

Ahh! To be so committed as such a young age.