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A couple of years later Emmett is at school, he’s in first grade now and Andrew and I are home playing together while the baby, Nellie, naps during the afternoon.  We are both very ready for this time together because it has been a rough day.  Andrew did not take the arrival of his little sister, a year ago, well, and has found it necessary, maybe as the middle child, to demand my attention rather dramatically.  Earlier today he locked me out of the house while I was holding her in my arms in the driveway and saying goodbye to friends who had visited during the morning.  He’s been known to hold us all hostage with a spraying garden hose, and to throw toy trucks and plastic wheelbarrows at me in fits of anger.  Besides locking me out of the house today, he has also locked himself out of his bedroom by turning the button on the knob and slamming the door.  Andrew is three and a half.

Andrew is not Emmett, so sitting at the kitchen table making up stories is not for him.  During our time together he has me down in the basement and we are building towers with big brick-like cardboard blocks.  We make the walls as high as we can considering the flimsy nature of these garage-sale treasures.  They wobble and sway as we tiptoe away, aiming for the other side of the room where I will announce Andrew’s arrival as block wall toppling king.

“And here he is, ladies and gentleman, Rock Canyon, arriving at the podium, ready to topple The Great Wall of China!  Rock Canyon, can you give us a show of power?” 

        And with that Andrew proudly steps up onto a footstool we’ve set in place and flexes his muscles while making a menacing face.  His older brother has demonstrated just how to look mean and strong and I see him mimicking the moves. Cell phones hadn’t been invented yet, so when I hear the phone ringing upstairs I ignore it.

        “Okay, Rock Canyon, approach the wall,” I command.

        Andrew walks towards the wall, looking at me for the signal, then poses for the big smash down.

        “Whenever you’re ready, Rock.”

        Making sure I am watching he leaps into the air landing dead center on to the tower of blocks sending them in all directions, seemingly indifferent to bruises and bumps that have to come with throwing himself down.  But that is Andrew.  Tough, physical, eager, risk taker. 

        “Rock Canyon, it’s a hit.  You did great!  Ten points for a dead on collision!  Can he do it again, folks?  Can Rock Canyon pummel the wall yet again?”

        Andrew doesn’t waste a minute setting it up again, with my help, and running back across the room posing for another, and then another, and then another round of “Rock Canyon Pummels the Great Wall of China.” Lately this has become our daily game together.

Other days he rides around the deck on his tricycle showing me tricks he can do like taking his feet off the pedals or closing his eyes on the turns.