In Toby’s Brain: Six is My Favorite Number
I’ve been posting quite a bit about Lottie, but it’s probably because I’ve discovered I like two and a half as a parent. But, if you remember, I have a Toby, too.
Toby is six, and as a friend of mine aptly put it, he is very much “in his own brain.” He babbles and jabbers and all his thoughts come out of his mouth whenever I’m in his company.
When Toby was just learning to talk, I told myself, “I will listen to everything this kid says.” Well, I was wrong in promising that to myself. Sometimes, I just can’t handle hearing the sound of his voice because he goes on and on and on… Sometimes, this makes me guilty– occasionally, he has amazingly creative and ingenious ideas that I love to hear! But it’s usually surrounded by half-baked ideas that I end up using quite a lot of effort correcting. Or rehashing of PBS shows he watches and melding them with obvious ideas from the current video game he’s playing.
For several years now, he has talked about the restaurant that he will build when he grows up. By now, it has turned into The World’s Largest Mall; it has fishtanks lining the walls and a roller coaster in the middle… ugh, I’ve lost track of all the stuff he has said will be in his restaurant.
I’m also proud to say that Toby can carry a tune and make all the rude and cool sound effects that boys make.
I’m also kind of happy to see that he uses mild potty language because it means he’s a boy with normal feelings. I often worry that Toby will be gay. Sometimes he has feminine mannerisms and sometimes the things he says and feels sound distinctly feminine. I have decided that I will still love him and support him if he is gay, but he’ll have an awfully hard time in society, in spiritual matters, with friends, finding a job…
All the friends he talks about at school are girls, and he plays in a very feminine way by standing around and talking instead of running or shouting or being mostly physical. He loves cooperative play– working together with a group of kids to achieve a building project. He loves board games; today, he and I played four games in a row, from setup to someone winning, before his feeling were hurt and he ran off in a tizzy.
However, I remember when I first met Just’In and when I was first establishing a friendship with him. My first impression was that he was really hot. And as I talked with him, I recognized that he had very feminine hands and gestures. I asked him at one lull in the nearly-nonstop conversation: “So, not offend you or anything, but are you gay?” He just looked at me and said, “No! Why would you think that?” And I sighed a really big sigh of relief and told him why.
And eventually, I married him.
Also, my dad loves talking. As a kid, we’d all get out of church and head toward our cars. While walking through the parking lot, we’d see the men of other families waiting for their wives with their kids; their wives were inside, lining the halls, checking up on each other, renewing friendships, and laughing. My siblings and I would stand around the car or get into the car after Mom had let us in, and we’d all sit in the car and wait. For Dad.
This didn’t last too long before he drove the truck to church.
To counter this thought, there’s also this: we just got back from camping last week. While I was at our campsite, preparing food, there were three boys, climbing over huge tree skeletons and talking with each other loudly, as kids do. The boys were probably eleven or twelve, and they stopped on a huge log and just stood there, talking at each other, much like my six-year-old son does with his friends.
Their tone, their stances, even the content of their conversation sounded exactly like Toby’s, which made me wonder whether, like his academic skills and his vocabulary, he just has social skills that are very advanced for his age. Did I mention that he started reading on his own in preschool and he can now read at the end of second grade reading level? Yeah, I’m both proud and freaked out about that.
The worry that he may be gay is very similar to a worry that he might lose an arm or that he might get run over by a truck. I just don’t want to see him hurt. I want him to be more successful than I am, faster, stronger, smarter than I am. More socially successful, more financially successful, more spiritually in tune…
Six is my favorite number, but it is not my favorite age right now. I don’t want to be in school myself anymore, but I love school because Toby can talk someone else’s ear off for many hours every weekday. Or he can be silenced by being freakishly well-behaved in public all day. Right now, I don’t care which one it is.
Toby is my investment. I pray for patience every day, and I know it works when Toby tells Heavenly Father in a prayer that no one got mad that day. He has small endearing moments, and I still love him.
Can I get a hallelujah?