Last night, we got together over dessert with my dear friend Craig, whom I hadn’t seen in months, his new girlfriend and his young son. Craig has custody of his son only a few days each month and a few weeks each summer, so I’d never before gotten to see the boy in person. A truly delightful kid, Chase exhibited a presence well beyond his “three and three-quarters” years, as he so exactingly put it himself. While he didn’t lack for the typical exuberance of a toddler, displaying stores of energy I don’t think I’ve personally had in at least thirty years, he also was extraordinarily poised, polite almost beyond imagining (he met us at Craig’s door with a handshake and a greeting… a three-year-old), and exceedingly verbal and bright. I felt like I was able to engage in real conversation with him at times, exploring his likes and dislikes and talking about common interests (Justice League and Teen Titans cartoons, for example), rather than only the parroting of memorized information, though that of course was present, too–he has an odd delivery of knock knock jokes, for example, that not only does not rely on two-party interaction, but specifically forbids it; a knock-knock joke for him is rather a monologue, with him taking both roles and even providing some foreshadowing of the punchline (“I’m going to say orange in a minute”).
I tend to adore kids anyway, and get along fairly well with them in general (since I can be such a big kid myself), but had an even better-than-usual experience last night. And Craig emailed me today to say that Chase told him he had “fun” with us last night; could there be a better compliment from a three-and-three-quarters-year-old?
Craig’s new girlfriend was quite special, too, and I felt immediately at ease with her, and she and Craig seem well-suited; she has a comfortable and clearly mutually adoring relationship with Chase, as well, that bodes well. I hope that the four (or five, when Chase is around) of us can socialize more often.