Thursday, September 15, 2011

Changing Names?

Over the summer my little guy earned some new nicknames. Right now I refer to him almost exclusively as Prince Charming. He truly is a charmer and he’s so dang cute that your cheeks ache from smiling at him. Now, there is his other personality… I call him Grumpy Badger for a reason. He has earned that name, for sure! He can be hell on wheels when he wants to be. It’s hard to believe that such opposite personalities can exist in one small body.
I noticed sometime during the summer that a new habit was developing. At first I thought it was a comfort thing or just a way for him to have fun, but I think ultimately it was a sensory thing for him. He began to sit with his legs pulled up tight against his abdomen, and then he would pull out his shirt over his knees. Once he pulled his arms inside his shirt, his body was encapsulated into one little mass. I’m sure there was some nice compression on his body, which probably felt good to his overactive sensory system.
It took me a while to figure out what prompted this new behavior, but then it hit me one day as he was tucking his head inside his shirt while dialoging some semi-familiar sounds. His speech was slowing down as he was forming himself into a small bundle and burying his head in his shirt. I realized that he was acting out a scene from the movie Wall-E when Wall-E was losing power and had converted back into a cube as he shut down.
Prince Charming had been making little noises here and there for a few weeks at that point, including the famous electronic, “E-va-ah” from Wall-E as he was trying to wake up Eve from when she was protecting the plant. He nailed the inflection and tone perfectly every time. His constant rendition of Wall-E reminded me of last winter’s obsession with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam.
As the summer continued, I would occasionally refer to him as Wall-E when I saw him tucking himself into a little ball. He always quickly objected and then Monkey would pipe up with some comment reminding me that his name was actually Badger and not Wall-E. We would laugh over the nicknames and then continue on with our day until it happened again.
Then, one day I saw him in a little heap on the chair. His legs and arms were all tucked inside his shirt and he was in the process of also trying to get his head inside the shirt to form a perfect Wall-E cube. The difference was that he was wearing a green shirt that day. I was watching him wiggle around to get inside his shirt, and all of a sudden it popped into my head. “You’re my little Turtle, aren’t you?”

His head jerked up and he exclaimed, “Turtle? I’m not a Turtle!” I told him that he looked like a Turtle because he appeared to be hiding inside his shell, which was green. He laughed and told me I was silly. But, the funny thing is that he immediately came out of the Wall-E fantasy and began acting like himself again.
I tested the theory the next time I saw him withdraw into his shirt. “There’s my little Turtle!” His arms and legs flew out of his shirt and he immediately sat up straight. He was Prince Charming again, but with a funny look on his face like he didn’t know what to make of me calling him by a new nickname. I have since called him Turtle several more times and each time it snaps him back to reality. Hmmm. We may be onto something here…
Turtle, Wall-E, Grumpy Badger, and Prince Charming. Each of these names definitely fits my little boy. I wonder what the next one will be?      

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