My little Batman has a very unique personality. Where his big sister is quick to talk, move, and assimilate, he likes to take his time. At everything. When he is focused on a subject is is nearly impossible to redirect his attention or energy to something else until he is good and ready to move on.
His methodical approach to bathing, for example, which invariably involves a huge variety of plastic, rubber and occasionally stuffed animals often takes up to an hour. He refuses to be rushed, whether it is in eating his morning waffles or putting on his shoes. He steadfastly plants his feet when he hears the word “hurry.”
In fact, I think he believes by this point that “Hurry” is his middle name.
Batman has an absolutely amazing aptitude for remembering seemingly meaningless details, and will often recite these details months after an event with startling clarity. He recently mentioned a little dog that was in Winston’s puppy training class almost six months ago. Although Batman only attended the class for one night, the little dog and her owner apparently made a big impression on him, and he asked me out of the blue the other day how I thought Corky and Suzie were doing. This question was prompted by us driving by the Canyon County Animal Shelter where the puppy classes were held. He shares the ability to remember locations, even those rarely visited, with his sister, and they can associate events with a building or street a year or two later. It is amazing.
Another area that Batman is very focused on is that of information gathering. If he is trying to figure something out he will not give it up until he feels he has satisfactorily gotten all the knowledge there is to be had about the subject. He will stand in front of me and ask a question 42 times, in varying ways, until I finally give in an make up an answer, or better yet, look it up on the internet. He has already figured out that the internet is far smarter than his mother.
This wonderful sense of curiosity is beginning to manifest itself in my little boy’s observations of the differences in the way that people look. This can be extremely embarrassing.
We were at Wal-Mart some weeks ago when we saw a young man with no hair. Batman proclaimed at the top of his lungs to every shopper near the milk (also coincidentally the wine) section that “THAT MAN HAS NO HAIR!!! MOM, LOOK, THAT MAN HAS NO HAIR! HE IS TOTALLY BALD!!” Luckily, the man and his buddies laughed, but it was sort of embarrassing.
Today it was worse. First we came across a young woman who had her hair cut very very short. Or it might have been growing back from being bald. As we approached her, exactly halfway down the stationary aisle (i.e.: no quick exit available) he boomed “MOM! Is that a BOY or a GIRL?!” “A girl, son,” I said softly, in my please-keep-your-voice-down voice. “WHAT? YOU DON’T KNOW?” he practically yelled. (I think he realizes that I am not as young as most of his peers’ mothers and feels that I may be going deaf). “No,” I said louder. “She is a girl.” Of course you know what followed. “WELL, WHY DOES SHE HAVE HER HAIR LIKE THAT. THAT IS BOY’S HAIR. WHY IS HER HAIR LIKE THAT MOM?” I smiled at the woman and walked away as quickly as I could, telling him that people all looked different and that she just happened to have very short hair. “Think how cool it would be when it’s hot, right son?” I asked him.
Next we went to get diet coke. Which is also, coincidentally, right next to the wine aisle. In the diet coke aisle we encountered an elderly woman walking with the assistance of a cane. “MOM, WHY DOES THAT LADY WALK LIKE THAT? DON’T HER LEGS WORK VERY GOOD?” I smiled at the nice lady sheepishly, and told him that sometimes people needed a little help getting around. I finished my shopping with lightning speed, wanting to get out of there before he really offended someone.
We almost made it out of the store. I had paid for my groceries, and Zach was blissfully quiet though that whole process. As we started to exit the store, a couple of Wal-Mart employees walked out from an aisle and started down the walkway in front of us. Batman took one look at them and asked, really loudly, “MOM! WHAT ABOUT THEM?! ARE THEY A BOY AND A GIRL OR TWO GIRLS? MOM! IS ONE OF THEM A BOY OR ARE THEY BOTH GIRLS?” Luckily, the two women were walking in front of me, so I hope they didn’t realize we were talking about them. Although, truth be told, one of them did look a little, well, mannish.
I tell this story partly to document this precious point in my son’s development. I remember clearly his sister’s passage through the “no filter” stage, though Annabelle has always been pretty quick to understand if I want her to quiet down and ask me something later.
I also tell this story so that the next time you see Batman you won’t be surprised or offended if he comments on your hairstyle or the way you walk, or asks you to provide a gender determination for yourself. It’s nothing personal. He has no filter.