Today something rather monumental occurred.
One of my nestling's showed he has wings and is going to start to fly. And by this I don't mean in the air as the picture below implies. This photo documents Wyatt's normal behavior, which I regularly try to stifle, but with limited success.
But then I digress.
This story of growth and maturity started this morning when Wyatt begged me to use a black Sharpie brand pen that he snuck out of the house. You know these kind. They make permanent writing (or scribbles as the case may be) on whatever object they touch. And given my son's recent propensity to draw on the front door and various other objects around our house, I would relinquish a Sharpie pen to him with no little trepidation.
As we were walking leisurely out to the barn to clean up the horses stalls and paddocks, Wyatt reveals, "Look what I have in my pocket, Mom." He says this since he can't keep a secret to save his life yet. At the rate he is going it's going to be a while until he can be trusted with any information along the importance of national security...
"I don't like you using the Sharpie pens, Wyatt," I calmly respond, trying not to overreact and rip the pen away from his grubby little mitts.
Wyatt says, "Please, PLEEESE, PLEEEEASE, PLEASE, Mom, can I use this pen." His emphasis on each additional "please" is getting annoying to me since he is working this tactic with all of the adults at the King compound.
I reply, "Why should I let you use that pen? You just finished writing your initials on the front door of the house with a blue ball point pen. I don't trust you." As just this week Wyatt found the need to claim our house as his own by inscribing his initials backwards as "KW" into the door, and to add a random "W" just for fun.
Since he is learning to be a manipulator, he injects, "But I promise not to draw on the door any more." Then he adds in the requisite, "PLEASE, PLEEEEEASE!" since he feels that the more he says please the more likely he will be to succeed. Which by the way is not true in most cases.
So, I roll my eyes back in my head for a moment and arrest my immediate reaction which is a staunch, NO. I breath deeply and let out a "mom sigh" and I acquiesce,"OK, but you CAN NOT write on anything but the extra wood scraps behind the tack room. OK?"
"OK, Mom," he swiftly replies. Then running off to draw four-year old style graffiti, he darts to the scrap wood area to busy himself. One child completely occupied, I should be glad right?
So I began the drudgery of forking up piles of manure into the wheelbarrow from the horses paddocks. My "mules" have been on a vacation for the past few weeks due to my painful attack of bursitis in my hip. When I am injured I think to myself, "Maybe, I could do without the horses," but then know I can't give them up. They are an old habit and I have been riding since I was ten years old.
Ella made her way out a few moments behind me and Wyatt, bringing up the rear of the procession pushing her powder pink Tonka dump truck. She must be the only girl in the world who has one. Daddy Mike carefully taped off the tires and plastic handle, then spray painted her truck so it could be truly hers. A girl's truck. However, this has not stopped the four other boys from liberally borrowing it. They apparently do not care they are pushing around a pink dump truck either. Abandoning the dump truck, Ella went to work playing with a horse blanket, trying to make it into a coat for herself with very limited success.
Suzi, my sister-in-law, meandered out to the barn a few minutes later too. It was turning into quite the barn party. Everybody came by to watch me scoop poop.
"Where's Adam," I questioned Suzi as she came into the barn.
"He's sleeping already," she said with eagerness, "It's a good thing since I have to go to Luke's class today for a reading presentation. He'd probably be tired otherwise."
"He can stay here if he wants to," I offered as I climbed in between the rails of the horses paddocks.
All this time Wyatt was not seen or heard from. This is normal since he gets free range when he is unarmed at the barn (i.e. when he does not possess a black permanent marker). As Suzi was standing in the bright sunlight shining into the barn aisleway, Wyatt came hopping around the corner holding a small block of 2x4. Arm extended he said, "Here Suzi," then bounded quickly away like a jack rabbit running from a coyote.
Suzi looked at the block and smiled, then turned it so I could see what was written. In clearly readable print, the word "LOVE" was scribed in permanent black ink, from the Sharpie pen Wyatt was wielding.
We both starred at each other for a moment in stunned silence, then irrepressible grins emerged on our faces simultaneously. Suzi and I were rendered smiling speechless.
Suzi then yelled in Wyatt's direction, "Hey, Wyatt. What does this say?"
From the other side of the tack room we heard his voice. Wyatt replied simply in one word, "Love." And nothing more.
"I can't believe it. Well, he was talking about the word love last week and was asking me if he was spelling it out loud correctly, " I offered up. I could not help but feel proud that the first word I am aware of, that Wyatt has written by himself, without any guidance from an adult, is LOVE. He can write his name but I really don't count that.
Suzi said, "Wow. That's pretty amazing."
I could only respond while shaking my head, "I'm totally shocked." Then after a moment of reflection I thought out loud, "I guess he is going to be the writer in the family. His handwriting might be a mess but I bet he will be able to put words together." Then I went on, "I guess we'll have to shellac it too." The boy made an E with four arms but that was good enough for this Mom. The fact that he thought to write the word love was just fabulous to me.
I went to the area where Wyatt was working with his pen later on. He had occupied himself drawing circles and lines and other illegible scribbles on the wood scraps. There were no other written words or even discernible letters. Wyatt turned 4 last August and knows all his ABC's and can write most of the alphabet. I have read to him every day since he was little and he goes to preschool where they teach him too. He recognizes words by sight frequently. But today, he had the wherewithal to put "Love" in writing. I really hope it is a sign of what is yet to come. Most of all, I am so glad that I have been there to witness another milestone in my son's life.
And to think, I almost took that pen away...