Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ceiling Fans Go 'Round and 'Round

This is Not Normal. Normal boys are infatuated with tractors and bugs. They crane their necks to watch the tractor pull the tree out of the ground. They stare endlessly at bugs. Not my boys. No. The thing that captivates them more than any toy, more than any blue-collar worker’s job, more than nature, is ceiling fans. That’s right. We go over to their friend Nick’s house with tons of toys everywhere and what do they want to do? Stare at the ceiling, drooling, and whispering, “Ceiling fan goes ‘round and ‘round!” to themselves and then saying it to each other and then screaming it to whoever will listen.

I will admit it was cute at first. But now it is seriously troubling. When will they kick this habit?

We had a grand time with sidewalk chalk the other day. I drew flowers and the sun and a rainbow and a hippopotamus (yeah, that’s right, I have talent) and Brian drew a purple dog and a shark, but what did they want? You guessed it. Ceiling fans. So when I drew one they went over to it, squealing with delight, and asked me to turn it on. Not one of their brighter moments. So Brian started running in circles on top of the fan, which they loved, and then that became their version of turning it on.
So each time we went outside they wanted to run over to the ceiling fan and run in circles on it until they fell over. NOT ONLY did they constantly want to be on the drawing of the fan, they constantly wanted to be looking at the drawing of the fan. From their bedroom window they can see the sidewalk. They would constantly be running to the window and proclaiming that they had seen the ceiling fan and that it was yellow. As if the chalk could change color or draw itself or something. The first thing they’d want to talk about in the morning was the ceiling fan that was still down there on the sidewalk and the first thing they’d want to talk about after nap was the ceiling fan they could see through the blinds.

A few days later I took out the orange chalk and drew (gasp) a second ceiling fan on the sidewalk. Well, this was just more than they could handle. They ran back and forth between one fan and the other one, exclaiming their joy over the fans.

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Ceiling fan-gazing with Aunt Bean in Idaho
At Home Depot last weekend I was killing time waiting for Brian to pick us up after choosing some balcony flowers and so I took the boys to the lights and ceiling fan section. Good call in the killing-the-time department, bad call in the keeping-them-sane-and-quiet-department. They have two gigantic aisles dedicated to ceiling fans,  but the problem is that not a single one was turned on. Oh the distress! Oh the agony! “Turn on ceiling fan, Mommy!” Sorry kids, can’t do it. We had to escape quickly while I exchanged glances with people I thought might have had kids and understand…though no one seemed to know why they were wailing about the fans.

When we visited my parents in Idaho, the highlight of the visit was their ceiling fan. It is white, new, and has lights. My dad showed them how to turn it on and off. (The biggest regret of his grandfatherhood to date) Now when we Skype with them, the boys want to have the ceiling fan in the background and of course command my parents to turn it on and off at their whimsy.

They remember places based on whether or not a ceiling fan exists there. We go to Costco. BAM! They spot the one ceiling fan in the entire warehouse immediately and talk about it and point to it the whole rest of the trip. We go to our friends’ house to see their new baby. BAM! There’s a ceiling fan IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR LIVING ROOM! We spend the rest of the time trying to play down the fact that they are weirdos and stare at it and want it to be turned on and off the entire visit.
Some places that have ceiling fans offer convenient diversions: the restaurants in the airport that had ceiling fans that worked well for killing time, for instance.

Since ceiling fans really define the world to the boys, everything else looks like ceiling fans to them—the tassels on the top of drawings of birthday hats, flowers, propellers, shamrocks, wheels, windmills, you name it. They love to say, “not ceiling fan. Like ceiling fan!”

What will be next? Or will they be this way forever?

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