#953: More than meets the eye

Because we have a pretty great home theatre system, we usually catch movies on quite a delayed timetable. So four days ago, we finally got to see what all the kids were talking about, when we watched Tranformers (and yeah, not even the sequel, but the first one). It’s just as well that we waited so long, because now it meant that we could watch it with the Boy, who at 4 1/2, is not going to be too traumatized by too much in that movie.

And what an effect it had on him. I mean for the rest of us, it was just all right. But for him, he started talking about the robots, their names, their motives, how they transform themselves, asking me to sing the theme song to the 80s cartoon, etc.. It reminded me of how much enjoyment my younger brother got when he watched the cartoon all those years ago. So the next day, I decided that I’d do something generous: I’d actually buy the Boy a Transformer action figure. (Originally, I thought that only our Boy would be interested in one, but it turns out that our Girl thought it would be cool to have one too.) So the “new toy moratorium” that has been in place in our house for about a year, went out the window. By Saturday afternoon, both kids were in the back seat of the car, happily clutching “Bumblebee” (for the girl), and “Soundwave” (naturally, a Decepticon for the Boy).

For the next couple of days, the Boy would clutch one or the other Tranformer, and play with them continously. He talked about the other Transformers at the store that he couldn’t have, asked when he could expect to have another, and made plans about how future Tranformers coming into our house would interact with each other. And when I told him very clearly to not expect other Transformers any time soon, he thought about it for a moment, and then started a whole speech about what he would do when he lived in his own house, and how many Transformers he’d buy all for himself. Great, I said, knock yourself out, if you want to buy action figures over paying the rent.

I didn’t realise how much the Boy had been transformed himself, by this new love, until he told me today about buying Transformers for not only himself, but for someone else. Now, it should be noted here that although my son is a very loving (most of the time) and agreeable (most of the time) and even kind (most of the time) boy, he’s not as generous as his sister is. I mean, he’ll share toys with her, and give her a bite of a cookie . . . but not always. All of sudden, here he was, saying not only, “When I live in my own house, I’ll buy myself the big Transformers”, but also, “I’ll buy it for someone else, too.” Our conversation went like this:

TB: Mama, do you think that L. [a neighbour’s child, with whom he plays quite often] would like Tranformers? Because I’d buy him one too. Even if it costs $25.”

Me:  Well, that’s very nice of you, honey. But let’s not buy him one yet. Remember, he’s younger than you, and he still puts things in his mouth.

TB: [Pauses to think.] Okay, then I’ll buy him Optimus Prime. Because that’s a big one, and it won’t fit into his mouth too easily. Also, it’s red and blue, and he likes red.

I was very touched by that conversation. It meant that the Boy had discovered something that really made him happy, and truly wanted to share that feeling with a friend. Here, I had had initial doubts about bringing into my home a bunch of toys about warring robots, and it turns out that they had transformed my child into a better person than he was, four days previously. Huh. Who’d have thought.