I am in the car driving to drop off Will and Seth at their cousin’s house to play while Elise is at gymnastics. The topic of conversation wound its way from gymnastics to airplane rides and our upcoming move to Germany.
“Mom, how will we take our bikes on the airplane,” asks Will.
“We can’t,” I answer. “We can send some stuff on a boat, but other things we will just buy new there.”
“But what if some of our stuff falls off the boat?”
“They’ll put it in a place where it can’t fall off.”
“Will they put all the stuff where it can’t fall off Mom?”
“Yes, all the stuff will be where it can’t fall off.”
Seth pipes up in his special monotone list-making voice: “like boxes, toys, toy airplanes . . .” He trails off into silence, apparently these are the only three things he can think of.
“And crayons.” Will helpfully adds.
“We don’t need to take crayons. We can buy crayons in Germany. We will not take a whole lot of things, just some special things.” I say.
“Like some extra-special paper airplanes?” suggests Will. “We could take those right?”
“Or you could take your paper airplane making book and make new ones when you are there.” I say.
“Oh yeah,” agrees Will. “Then I can show them.”
“What is something very special you would like to take?” I ask.
“Special glue?” suggests Seth. “So we can glue things.”
“We can buy glue in Germany too.” I decide they need some help determining what is special enough to take, so I hold up Seth’s special lovey toy, which happens to be on the seat next to me. “Like this Seth. This is your special squiggles. You can take that to Germany.”
Now Seth has something special all his own, but Will doesn’t. I help him by asking him a thought-provoking question: “Out of all the things you have Will, what is your very favorite thing to play with?”
“Not my bean bag, you can’t take my bean bag,” shouts Seth. (He is referring to a handmade bean bag he got for Christmas from Nana. It’s been the cause of several run-ins lately between the two of them.)
“It’s ok Seth. You can take your bean bag,” I jump in before Will can get upset. “Go ahead Will, what is the one thing you like to play with the most?”
Will is still thinking, Seth tries to help: “Special squiggles?”
“No, Seth! I don’t have a special squiggles!”
“Seth!” Will is getting frustrated now. I seriously don’t know if Seth is trying to be helpful at this point or just annoying.
“Seth, let Will think of his own thing,” I say.
“Well,” Will says, “I like to play with my pretend sword.” (This, by the way, happens to be a stick, whichever stick he happens to find and make use of on any given day.)
“You know, they have sticks in Germany too. Maybe even better ones, because we’ll live close to the woods.”