Wednesday, January 17, 2007

the truth about trucks

Once we made it to the board book section of the bookstore, all hell broke loose.

Apparently, Isaac's truck obsession is shared by one or two other little kids, since on the shelf were parked about two dozen books on various trucks, these books taking the shape of the truck they starred, wheels afixed to the bottom.

Isaac arranged all 24 on the floor like some emergency scene/late night truck stop, while I perused the other books, humble though they were without the benefit of parts to make them ambulatory.

“There are trucks for all kinds of jobs,” I read aloud while Isaac crashed a cherry picker into a gift collection of Harry Potters in Spanish. “This dump truck is hauling coal from a mine.”

“Oh,” I continued, still speaking aloud, “I wonder what kind of health insurance the miners have, Isaac. Mmmm, yummy. Burning coal,” I added sniffing the air. My son ignored me, a tractor book in one hand, fire engine in the other.

Isaac's fascination with trucks knows no bounds. It is his sole purpose for getting in the car – to look for big trucks (“dig ducks”). He has had a personal relationship with the garbage man since he was 16 months old. Construction sites send him into peals of joyous laughter. He can hear a truck that's thinking about turning up our street from blocks away. “Vrrrrrooooom!” he narrates gleefully and races to the window. His little feet stomp and dance when he catches sight of the phone book in anticipation of the towing section. But both of us tired of the same old flatbeds in the yellow pages, we had headed to the bookstore.

In the middle of the store, before we had journeyed as far as the children's section with its fleet of mobile literature, Isaac suddenly and uncharacteristically broke free of my hand and ran pell nell toward a display just ahead. “Dig duck! Dig duck!” he squealed, clutching a jigsaw puzzle box to his chest. When I could finally pry it from his arms, I discovered the picture on the box showed dump trucks and backhoes positioned about in some sort of quarry setting – clearly a fantasy destination for my boy.

My mind is far, so far from what you could ID as simple or innocent, far from this pureness of fascination. Sometimes I worry that I am the wolf put in charge of the sheep, raising this child. Whose version of the world will win out? Will his, in its enthusiasm, lurch forward ahead of mine, its darker sister? Will it have to be me who tells him, “Isaac, those trucks bulldoze the trees you love, and those over there pollute the air so that we sometimes get sick.” Or will he pull me over to his side in one clean burst of ferocious, simple love?


Anonymous said...

If my child-rearing experience is any example, he will find an incredible blending that will make peace between the two visions of the world. He will surprise and impress you. And when he's all grown up, he'll make sure YOU keep growing.

bobbie said...

A powerful piece.
And by the way, I like Judy's answer very very much.

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