I chose to spend the evening alone with Leelo.
I had been away from him too much lately, at a conference, at an out-of-town wedding with Mali, at an out-of-country family reunion with both girls. I wanted to spend some real time, some focused time, with my son. My son who is at his best, always, in one-on-one scenarios. My sweet son whom I have not seen at his best in at least two weeks.
Leelo and I watched as the rest of our family walked out the front door and on to a party. I closed my eyes in appreciation of the sudden quiet.
And then I heard singing coming from above my head. Leelo was belting out Bicycle Built for Two, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and The Green Grass Grew All Around. As loudly as he could. About an octave higher than he should. And with words not in the original songbooks. But recognizably, and with his usual unerring pitch. And only for as long as I was looking directly at him.
He came back down the stairs and sat with me. He puffed out his cheeks. "Say, 'Do this'!" I said, and then puffed out my own cheeks. "Do this!" he giggled, puffing out his cheeks. I complied, and he helped me make raspberries for a good five minutes, laughing all the while.
"I want you to sing!" he yelled. I sang him "Bicycle Built for Two, and he pounded the chair in perfect time to the off-key "music."
"Time to sing!" he yelled, and started warbling his favorite call-and-response vocal routine: "Looking at the XX." He kept singing variations on this line, moving the melody up or down in arpeggios and stair-stepping thirds, and having me repeat them back each time (and woe to me if my diction or pitch were off even slightly). But in the past the "XX" usually stood for three words: Teletubbies, computer, or eyebrows. This time, Leelo scanned the room and picked out a new word each time based on what he saw: Hat, Bear, Cat, etc. Intriguing.
"I want to go jump on the bed, Mom!" he yelled, running up to my room. I held his hands while he bounced high and then higher. "One, two..." he yelled. "Three!" I yelled back, and tossed him on the bed, mid-jump, flat onto his back. He laughed outright. This is a game we used to play in our old house. We hadn't played it once in our new house, not in the year since we moved here.
"Find the Double Bus!" he yelled (he really does only yell when he's excited), running into his sisters' room. Double Bus is another object he hadn't asked for in a while. I located the souvenir London tour bus, and handed it to him. He played with it on the floor for a while, then yelled, "Find CatBus!" We found CatBus in his toy basket. More pretend play on the floor. Then we had to find Double Bus again. Then CatBus.
Double Bus and CatBus alternating is a routine from at least two years ago, but then the language was different, then the language was always, "I want XXX," not "Find the XX."
Leelo is recalling previous routines -- routines from years ago in some cases -- and modifying them. Interesting. Different. Encouraging.
For both of us.