Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Firm Preference

As I turned up the block this evening, I saw neighbors sitting out on their steps, the husband on the porch steps, the wife and daughter on the steps down to the sidewalk. Next to the daughter was the little boy she shares a babysitter with; both children are about two and a half. The little boy was looking closely at an iPhone, which caught my attention. The wife began to catechize the boy:

W: What do you like better, a dump truck or a backhoe?
B: Backhoe. [Looking up, quite serious].
W: A fire truck or a backhoe?
B: Backhoe.

Apparently there is nothing on wheels or tracks that he prefers to a backhoe. This is a boy I saw watching the garbage truck with something like reverence this winter, so backhoes must be very important to him. He did allow that he liked something that sounded like "catch kids"; I'm guessing that this might be "Caterpillars"--he was gesturing down the block toward where a crew had repaired some pavement a few weeks ago.

This arose, my neighbor explained, because she had offered to draw something on the sidewalk for the boy, and he had asked for a picture of a backhoe. Not being schooled in the finer things in life, she had had to get her phone to find a picture; he had taken it over, and become absorbed in the picture or pictures.

I don't remember backhoes from my childhood. According to Wikipedia, they are not much older than I am, so they may not have been common then. More likely it was locomotives that held me in awe.

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