I was going to write a funny post about how Breckin walked away from the Pacific Science Center's model train festival on a first name basis with three of the operators. Then I was going to write a nostalgic, sad post about how Breckin was in tears because Steve and Megan are closing Bounce It Up. And I've been working on telling you all how funny it is that Breckin is known by the bakery ladies at Safeway cause he always stops by for the free cookie and shows them each time he gets to pick a donut.
But the truth is, this is how life is with Breckin. Every day. I LOVE taking him to festivals and the store and museums and parties with grown ups cause he kills me. He chats with everyone about anything and can make witty jokes. And fart noises. And he tells grown ups (and probably kids, too) little details about his day or his new toy or his sister like they are already best friends and he's just updating them on his life. I am torn, as protector of him, by instructing him each time we go into public that people you don't know are strangers. And sometimes bad guy strangers dress as nice guy strangers to trick people. And you shouldn't just talk to every grown up and expect them to be as nice as Grandma. And you don't have to tell people your name or your sister's name or that you live next to Derek. I remind him of these things daily. Most of the time it sticks but sometimes he just can't help himself. The clerk at Walmart looks nice enough to say "I had a spelling test today and I got 100%. And I played with my ninja legos this morning. Kai had to use the sword of fire. My sister Ella farts like a foghorn." <---This was actually said to the poor teenager who got us as customers. She had no idea how to respond.
Breckin had no idea we were going to the train festival until we got off the Mercer St exit and he saw a billboard for the 38th Annual Model Train Show. He knew. And he remembered almost every detail from the last time we came to this one. When he was two and a half. No joke. But his memory skills are another post. After getting through the ticket line, the dinosaur exhibit for Ella, and the paper conductor hat station- we found the first train table. A cool little siding that the kids could push colored buttons to make the engine drop off and pick up coal cars and box cars. Breckin waited his turn patiently, chatting with the other kids in line about buffers and fireboxes, and when it was his turn, he fell into a natural conversation with the table operator. I have no idea what they were talking about as I was busy making dinosaur noises at Ella. But, when he stepped down from the table and said "Bye, Bill. Thanks for showing me about those magnets" and was answered with "See ya, Breckin. You sure know a lot about trains", I was not surprised. It happens.
It was fate that the young man at the coloring table was named Cole- that is, after all, the name of one of the Lego Ninjas- and therefore warranted a lengthy discussion between Cole and Breckin about earth dragons and whether or not the guy Cole got a new katana for Christmas. He was impressed that Breckin used the word katana. Mutual goodbyes were exchanged once our train was colored. And Cole said hello again when Breckin ran by to test out the light bulb bike- you know the one. I did smile extra wide when we rounded the corner into the main train room and the first table is one I recognize from the train festival in Ravensdale. An astroturf double loop for kids to test a big Thomas set. I didn't expect the hunched, partially senile gentleman in the brown grandpa sweater to say "Breckin! I knew you would show up here! You're my best customer!" Even Breckin was surprised. He turned to me and said "I remember him from last October. He loves pushing the button for James (as I look over, he's in line for the James button) and he always tells me about his latest train set." Sure enough, Breckin chats with him while he's taking his turn and after learning his name is Victor, he promptly tells him that the bad guy from GeoTrax is also named Victor and animatedly recaps the Geo story line. Victor is, once again, impressed and says he hopes to see Breckin next October.
Breckin's nerd name is Steve. Just go with it. And watch Despicable Me for reference. Breckin's favorite place on the planet is Bounce It Up. During our very first visit, we were lucky enough to have Steve as the employee in charge of walking around making sure everyone is doing ok. Breckin, sure enough, told him that his nerd name was Steve and was happy as a clam when the real Steve tackled him in the wrestling ring and pelted him with playground balls. We saw the Bounce It Up van in the parking lot at Safeway about two weeks later, Breckin saw Steve get out of the drivers seat, and yelled "Steve!" at the top of his lungs. They slapped each other on the back like they've known each other for years and Steve and Megan have been rock stars in our house ever since. Bounce It Up is closing it's doors this Sunday and Breckin cried when he heard the news. He has since told Steve not to do it. And he's serious. It's out of Steve's hands, of course, but it chokes me up that the bouncy toys are only half the reason why Breckin doesn't want it to close. He is concerned that he won't get to see Steve.
Breckin is on a first name basis with two Drews. The first works with Dustin and is on the cool list due to his collection of Nerf items and the dart board at his desk. Don't ask. It's a Seattle tech company stemmed from Microsoft and has ping pong in a conference room. Work Drew and Breckin must say hello to each other every time we stop by to see Daddy at work. They are pals.
The other Drew works at the Lego store. He was the employee who helped Breckin pick the best set his $10 from his piggy bank could buy the very first time we went in that store and Breckin asks for him each time we go. He spent so much time asking Breckin what collections he liked and who his favorite hero from Hero Factory was that I wrote a generous thank you note via their website to his boss because I've been in a lot of toy stores. Most young employees are there to make enough money to take their girlfriend to the movies and don't give a rip about the kids. This guy made me proud. He and Breckin have fantastic conversations and he makes a point to show Breckin the unique piece that each set has and how you can't get this piece in any other set. Ok, we go to the Lego quite a bit. We don't always get to buy stuff but we let Breckin put things on his wish list all year long and that satisfies him. If Drew isn't working that day, it's a short trip. If his is, it's not. Drew knows Breckin by name now and knows him well enough that when the skeleton version of Ninjago was getting discontinued and they only had one Dragon Sword of Fire with the sheath backpack left, he held it in the back room until he happened to see Breckin come in next with enough money to buy it. It had been marked down from $20 to $4 as time passed but Drew held it. He could have sold it, I'm sure, several times. He asked me, before mentioning it to Breckin, if we could spend money that day and once he got clearance, he was excited to show Breckin. Of course we would like it. We love Drew.
The ladies at the gym know him and greet him warmly when he comes in. He is part of the social circle amongst the grown ups in our neighborhood- even if he's having a rough patch with one kid or another. He used to walk into kindergarten every day, put his hands on the inside of the door frame, and say "Mrs. Blevins, I'm here." For crying out loud, when I go through the drive through at Starbucks, the lady at the window leans out to see if Breckin's in the back and asks for him by name. He has shown her every toy in his hand every time we drive through. I'm sure there are other grown ups who know him, if not by name, by character. His character might be my favorite thing about him. What a kid.