One of my favorite memories of Zach was when he transitioned from a crib to a “big boy bed.” He was feeling a bit apprehensive one night about going to bed. He had to have one more story read to him. He had to have one more drink of water. He had to try to go potty one more time (which of course he didn’t really have to). I thought he had finally fallen asleep and I settled into my spot in the living room to watch some t.v.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a figure slowly coming toward me down the hall. I pretended not to see him and thought to myself, “Now what?” I looked over and there was Zach looking down while shuffling his feet with his hands cupped in front of him, “Umm, umm, Mommy?.”
“Whaaat?” I asked.
“Umm….I smell a snake” he said with an impish grin, looking at me with big blue eyes out of the top of his head.
I had to fight the urge to laugh, “A snake? Did you see one?”
“Umm, no, but I know it’s in there. Maybe it’s under the bed.”
I went with him to look for the imaginary “stinky” snake in his bedroom. I wondered the whole time what a snake smells like? Zach sat on his bed as I shined a flashlight in his closet, then under his bed, then under his dresser, then behind his dresser and finally behind the door. Each time, I explained, “Nope. No snake!” Zach seemed to thoroughly enjoy watching me shine the light from place to place looking for his made up snake. Finally, he came to the conclusion that the snake must have crawled out the window or something. I tucked him in one more time. As I walked down the hall from his bedroom, I thought to myself, “Yeah, I smell a snake, alright!”
I know Zach was “playing” me that night, but I didn’t have the heart to be hard on him about it. He was nervous about the new bed and his new freedom. He just needed reassurance that I would help him if he needed help. I think it shows how big his imagination was even at such a young age. He often told me stories while we drove in the car or while I fixed supper. I wish I would have recorded them. He started speaking a little later than some of kids, but made up for lost time. Once he figured out how to talk, he didn’t stop. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although at times it wore me out. Being an introvert, I liked having an extroverted child.
Zach made friends wherever he went and he rarely met a stranger. He had a knack for small talk and most waiters and waitresses (especially waitresses) found it endearing. If something was forgotten from the order, he would very politely ask for it. One time, he was probably three or four at the time, we went to the Iowa Machine Shed for a family dinner. My mom, dad, sister (Mary), brother-in-law (P.J.), and brother (Danny) were all there. A very cute waitress in overalls came to take our order. Zach had been studying the menu very seriously (although he couldn’t yet read it). He very politely said, “Umm, Sir, I’d like the cow” and he pointed to a picture of a cow on the menu. He sure must have been hungry that night!