You never know with kids. That is what I am learning.
Zeke turned four on Tuesday, and we had a party for him yesterday. Shanti and I gave him a scooter. Knew he would love it, and in fact he did love it. Grandma Martha and PopPop Bob gave him a giant fire truck with all kinds of remote control ladder-raising and water squirting capabilities. Knew he'd love it. And of course he loved it. But the rest of his gifts were a toss-up. Very thoughtful offerings from his little school friends and our other family members: Legos, blocks, a Star Wars logic game (which Shanti and I are enjoying), a puzzle, an outfit, some books, a mini computer mouse, some origami, and a small wooden turtle from his Grandma Mira.
And if you had asked me to rank the remaining gifts in order of popularity, I'd probably have put the puzzle and Legos at the top of the list, followed closely by the blocks and the books, the Star Wars game, the origami, the mouse, the outfit (which is adorable, but which Zeke automatically dismissed as a non-gift because it cannot be played with), and then bringing up the tail end would be the wooden turtle. Not because it wasn't beautiful, but because it seemed more like décor than a toy. Something we'd put on Zeke's shelf and smile at when we looked at it.
Boy was I wrong. The turtle was the sleeper of the gift parade. The come from behind story. The seventh round draft pick that winds up in the Pro Bowl. For reasons that I cannot explain, Zeke loves that turtle. He pets it. He cuddles it. He brings it over to the fire truck so it can enjoy the lights and water squirting magic with him. It accompanied him to breakfast. It watched Dora with him before bed. And I am just amazed. It is a wooden turtle. No fur, no lights, no electronic sounds. But he loves it and seems to want to parent it. And I love him all the more for being such a complex, wonderful, imaginative little human being. Way to go Grandma Mira! Great gift.