Here is one of my favorite Ethan stories. I searched all my journals and Ethan’s, too, but I apparently forgot to write this one down. So I’ll have to tell it from memory. It happened around the spring of 2001, when he was four…
One evening after work, I had to rush to pick up Ethan so that I could make it to Haverty’s to buy some bedroom furniture before it went off sale. When I got to the daycare center, I was horrified to find him in his emergency clothes because he’d had an accident during naptime. It had been so long since he’d had an accident that the emergency clothes were a year old. He wore skin-tight, very high-water green sweat pants and an orange T-shirt, and he smelled like pee. I had no choice but to take him to Haverty’s like that because my house was too far out of the way.
When I arrived, I decided to carry Ethan on my hip; maybe he would be less conspicuous that way. But I had to wait for several minutes for the salesperson, and Ethan was getting heavier and heavier, and more squirmy. When the pain in my arm became unbearable, I finally let him down.
Much to my dismay, he immediately launched into his dinosaur impression. He had developed a fascination with velociraptors after watching Jurassic Park. Now, I realize that Jurassic Park is pretty violent for preschoolers (and their 30-something mothers), but after he’d watched it 38 times at his dad’s house, I finally relented and let him watch it at my house, also. He’d been perfecting his performance for weeks, and it was actually amazingly accurate. But the last thing I wanted, given his tacky clothes and unpleasant odor, was for him to draw attention to himself.
He crouched low as he walked, his elbows bent so that his hands were claws against his chest. His head jutted forward like a strutting chicken, and he jerked it from side to side periodically when he spotted his prey. His stalking was punctuated by guttural growls, and flecks of spittle flew as he darted around the formal living room furniture.
“Very good, Ethan. That’s enough now,” I hissed as I chased him. But he was in character now, and there was no stopping him. Just then, the salesman came back, accompanied by a middle-aged woman.
“Oh, how cute,” the lady said. I thought about explaining about why he was wearing his emergency clothes, but I thought that would be weird.
“He’s a dinosaur,” I mumbled. They responded with blank stares. “He’s doing a dinosaur impression…. You know, like the velociraptors from Jurassic Park? He’s really quite good,” I explained, averting my red face.
“Uh huh,” replied the salesman.
“Cute,” repeated the lady.
I scooped up my dinosaur and signed for my furniture. Then I called Bill and told him all about it. I laughed until I cried, and I still laugh like that when I tell this story.
Ethan can still do a pretty mean dinosaur impression, by the way. The pictures below were taken at Allyson’s birthday party, when Ethan was 11.