April 2018

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Talker and The Reader Growing Up

This summer when we saw our nephews Willie and Hayden at the beach, we were especially surprised by how much they've grown up since last year. Though they've just moved one year, from ten year old to eleven, they seem to have aged out of childhood and into early adolescence.
They were constant companions this summer. It's fun to see their friendship developing.
“What are birds' wings made of?” That's my sister's youngest son, Willie, when he was three years old. He's always asked the most amusing questions. He's a talker.

He's always been a fun one to watch. When he was small, he would crawl into my lap when we played board games with his older siblings. I lost significant years with him when I had my tumors, which is hard, but he's too old to climb into my lap anymore anyway.

Last year, on the way to our wedding, Willie lost his favorite quarter, so Ann and I sent him a new Canadian quarter when he and his family left. He wrote us the first thank you note we've ever received from any of our nieces and nephews: “Thank you for giving me what I really wanted.”
On the drive from New York to the North Carolina beach last year, Willie said he didn't like carrots, and--bored with the drive--his mother, my Sister Jen, told him she had been putting carrots in his cereal. When he doubted her, she said that she had been bleaching them and cutting them into cereal shapes for years. He was flummoxed. “That seems weird, but I know my mom wouldn't lie to me.” Such trust, even after the tooth fairy betrayal.

This summer when I played Scrabble with Willie and his older brother Jack, Willie decided that it would be better if we didn't keep score for him, so that he could just learn to play. He talked aloud to himself the whole time: "OMG is a word now!" and "I could do 'BIG E' (my dad's nickname.)

Like his siblings and his father, Willie loves tennis. Sister Jen says that when Willie plays tennis, he talks to himself the whole time. She quoted him: "Okay, Willie, I'm going to say this one time and one time only. No double faults!"

I wonder if he listens to himself.

Willie's cousin Hayden is my brother's oldest. He is blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. He is a big fan. Last summer, even though all of his cousins love the Red Sox, Hayden wore his NY Yankees hat the whole time he was at the beach with all of us in North Carolina. For the World Cup, he bravely cheered on the Netherlands while the rest of us cheered for Spain. That takes spunk.

When Hayden and his younger sister Lucie were looking at old pictures a few years ago, they saw one of the two of them together when they were younger. In the photograph, Hayden’s young arm was wrapped affectionately around little Lucie. Hayden said to Lucie, “See, Lucie. I used to like you.”
Hayden’s always got his nose in a book, a characteristic of his mother and his aunts and now of his father.

I suppose he'll Scrabble royalty before long.

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