Hanging with Logan

It’s that time of year when we start to hear the familiar whir-whir-whir of Logan’s battery-operated tractor. Lately, I’ll often find myself looking out the front window to see him cruising a wide circle between his yard and ours. He drives round and round the trees out front, and I understand from what his mom tells me, that he’s been busy chasing imaginary stray cats out of our Maple tree.

I worried last fall that Logan would grow up too much over the winter, during the long, cold months when we tend not to see much of our neighbors. I wondered if he would outgrow that sense of trust and excitement he had last summer whenever he’d catch sight of us. But spring arrived, and although Logan is taller and talking more, he’s still cute as a bug and full of wonder, and still thinks we’re some of the coolest people around.

Friday night, I wandered next door to hang out with Logan’s parents and a couple of other neighbors who were sitting around enjoying the beautiful weather. I chatted with the adults for a while, but eventually ended up blowing bubbles with Logan. He handed me his extra wand and we competed to blow the biggest and the most bubbles. Then he wanted me to blow all of the bubbles. He waited for them to land in the grass and then stomped on them, making himself giggle. The more bubbles I blew, the faster he stomped them, and the harder he laughed.

When he got bored with stomping on the bubbles, he began to chase them around as they floated in the air and tried catching them with his own bubble wand. Finally, we ended up in a “sword fight” with our wands. He was giggling so hard by then, he could barely catch his breath.

Afterwards, he asked his daddy if he would build a bonfire in the back yard. When his dad said that he would, Logan turned excitedly to me. Jumping up and down and swatting his thighs with his hands, he shouted, “Tee, you come-a bonfire?”

I had some things to do at home, but I promised Logan I’d come back for the bonfire if I could get my chores done before it got too late. I left him as he continued making the rounds with his invitations. “Jo, you come-a bonfire? Erbody come-a bonfire!”

We’ve been insanely busy here at home this weekend, tearing carpet out of the three upstairs bedrooms so the new carpet can be installed tomorrow. As I was working yesterday, I heard the high-pitched whirring of Logan’s wheels again and went to the front door to see if I could catch a moment with him. We’d found an old Fisher Price multi-tool in Jake’s closet while cleaning things out. Jake used to love pretending to build and fix things with it. I thought Logan might like to have it.

Just as soon as I could get to the front door, Logan had disappeared already. His dad was busy doing yard work on the side of their garage and I could see the tractor parked in their driveway, but no sign of Logan. No worries. I knew he’d be back around again soon enough.

I went back to working in the bedrooms. It was a beautiful day and all of the windows were wide open. It wasn’t long before I heard the hum again. This time I followed the sound to our back yard. I walked outside onto our deck and saw that Mark had opened up the big double gates so that Logan could drive in and out. I rested my elbows on the deck railing and looked down to see Mark strolling the yard with a shovel, and Logan wheeling around, pointing out spots of doggie doo for Mark to pick up.


I asked Logan if he was being Mark’s helper, and he responded in his little toddler voice, “Yeah.” But before he could say anything more, his attention turned to battling the barrage of kisses Lucy was laying on him. He hit the “gas” pedal to escape her wet, slobbery affection and was off once again to his own yard to help his dad. I never did manage to give him the toy tool I meant for him to have, but I’m sure I’ll have another chance again soon.

In Logan’s World

It was gorgeous outside today. The weather pendulum swung back toward summer again.

I was just winding down after dinner when I heard a little boy voice right outside the open living room window. I peeked down from the window sill and saw our next-door buddy, Logan contemplating our concrete bird bath. He likes to throw the landscaping rocks in there. Let’s them plop in the water and then giggles at the resulting splash. If his mom doesn’t stop him sooner, he’ll fill the thing right up before he runs off to find something else exciting to do.

“Logi!” I called out the window. He looked over one shoulder and then the other, but not up. He didn’t seem to realize I was talking to him through the window screen. And he’s so bashful! The sound of my voice so near sent him running back to his own front yard where he face-planted himself between his mom’s knees as she stood talking with Mark and Logan’s dad.

I wandered barefoot outside to join them. Logan cast me a shy smile and then craned his neck, looking up at his mom.

“Mommy! Wann get me?” he pleaded.

“Okay,” she said and he took off running around the locust tree. Logan’s mom, Susie chased him around a couple of times before the game ended and she came back to join the adults. Logan continued to hang on his mom’s legs, stealing shy glances at me now and then. Finally he worked up the courage to ask me to play.

“Tee! Wann get me?” I was surprised. Logan likes us, but he likes us to keep a respectable distance. He usually doesn’t invite me to get too close. Except for that time he threw a tennis ball at my head when I didn’t realize he was playing catch with me! Good thing my reflexes were quick that day!

“Sure, I’ll play,” I agreed. Logan giggled and began to circle the tree again, checking over his shoulder to be sure I was chasing. He hadn’t gone far when he dropped to the ground and rolled forward in the grass, his toddler legs and feet curling up in the air behind him with the momentum of his fall.

“Whoa!” I said. “You okay, buddy?” I asked as I scooped him up by the armpits and set him upright again. He giggled and said, “yeah” and was off and running again in a split second. He hadn’t gone maybe fifteen feet when his body dropped and rolled in the grass a second time. This looked suspiciously intentional and I scooped him up again, this time swinging him high up in the air before standing him up in the grass once more.

Over and over we chased and there was no doubt in my mind now that Logan was purposely hurling himself on the ground so that I would scoop him up and swing him around. Eventually I wound up swinging him higher and higher, and twirling him in circles until we were both dizzy and he began to tire out. He feigned an injury after one fall and I picked him up and held him in my arms, him facing me so he could point out his owie. And “anahr one” and “dis one” and so on before he wriggled out of my arms and back to the ground.

I tried to join the adults again when Logan was done being chased and done pointing out all of his owies, but soon he was beckoning me again.

“Tee! Wann draw chalk wif me?”


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He scampered into the open garage and soon returned with his bucket of sidewalk chalk. Next, I was being directed to make a rainbow, a fish, a jack-o-lantern, flowers and a tree. The driveway was quickly covered with colorful chalk drawings. He’d watch me create and then he’d add his own flair of colorful lines and circles to my etchings. The fish needed pink eyes, he said. The rainbow needed white lines. The tree needed to be circled. Every drawing became a combined effort between Logan and me.

The sun began to set. Logan stopped chalk-drawing abruptly and stood up straight like a little tin soldier. He pulled his shoulders back, puffed his chest out and beamed at the sky.

“Tee! Iss dark!

“It is getting dark,” I agreed. “Logi, do you like this jack-o-lantern?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he sang, agreeably, then ran to his front door where a big orange pumpkin sat on the front step.

“I got punkin!” he exclaimed, waving his arms toward the pumpkin with a dramatic flourish.

“It’s a good one,” I agreed.

Logan continued to dance and skip around me, running on his tippy-toes, clutching a wedge of chalk in his little fingers. He pointed out the solar lights along the sidewalk beginning to glow. “See dis one? See dis one, Tee?” He reminded me several more times, “Iss dark!

The mosquitoes were beginning to bite and the ground was getting cold beneath my bare feet. Susie told Logan it was time to go inside. As usual, he resisted her. He wanted to play more. He wanted to show me the dark and the solar lights again. I could still hear him chattering happily to us, even as Mark and called out good night to him, and headed back inside our own house.


It was a beautiful day outside today. So I’m not sure why I spent it closed up in the house, cleaning the lower level and doing laundry. It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow. I should have saved the chores for the rainy day.

Lucy is shedding buckets lately. I’d just finished vacuuming her fur from the furniture in the family room when I noticed movement outside the window which sits at ground level. Ethan was toddling around in the landscaping rocks in front of the house. Mark had put the water fountain out again last week. Ethan loves the water fountain. Almost every day last summer when I’d arrive home from work, Ethan and his mom would be out playing in their yard next door and Ethan would come and crouch in front of the fountain, picking up rocks, dropping them in and pulling them back out again. His fondness for the water fountain didn’t diminish over the winter. But he was disappointed today to see that the water isn’t running in it yet. (It’s supposed to snow on Monday. We’ll wait until the chance of freezing is over.)

I pulled up the blinds in the family room and watched Ethan pick rocks up in his tiny hands. He’d study them for a moment before lifting his hand up high and letting them drop with a thud back to the garden. It took him a moment to notice me looking at him from the other side of the window, but when he did, his eyebrows raised in delight and I could hear him squeal, “CAH!” (CAR!)

See, last week we were enjoying one of those after work warm day visits with Ethan and his parents. Ethan’s mom said he spent many days over the winter, looking out their front window. He’d see Bob across the street and he’d point. His mom would say, “That’s Bob.” Ethan learned to say Bob. He’d see Mark and he’d point. His mom would say, “That’s Mark.” Ethan learned to say “Muck.” He’d see me and point. His mom would say, “That’s Terri.” Ethan learned to say, “Tee!”

While we visited in the front yard, Ethan showed me all the words he’d learned to say since last fall. We played basketball. Ethan wanted Mark to put the ball through the net. Mark stood below and tossed the ball in several times. Ethan pointed and said, “Dunk!”

Ethan loves vehicles. He stood in our driveway and pointed first to Mark’s side of the garage. “Muck truck,” Ethan said.

“Yes, that’s Mark’s truck,” his mom agreed.

Then Ethan pointed to the blue vehicle. “Tee cah,” Ethan said.

“Yes, that’s Terri’s car,” his mom said.

Ethan wandered between the two vehicles and pulled on the door handle of my car. Of course, he was too small and didn’t have the strength to open a car door. I helped him open it and together, we stared inside. Ethan turned and looked up at me standing behind him and then looked back into the car.

“You wanna go in,” I asked?

He turned to look at me again and nodded. Ethan is all boy. He climbed all by himself until he was in my passenger seat. He stared at the steering wheel and then turned to me again with a silent question written all over his face.

“You wanna drive,” I asked?

A smile spread across Ethan’s face and he nodded again, then climbed across to the driver’s seat. So Ethan drove (he had to stand up on the seat to see over the wheel) and I was the passenger. I talked to him while he drove and he pointed at the speedometer and told me, “clock.” He pushed buttons on the radio and tried to beep the horn, but couldn’t get it to make noise. He turned to look over his shoulder and make sure Mommy and Daddy were still out in the driveway waiting for him. There they were, talking with Mark while Ethan drove and I rode. I asked, “Do you want to go see Mommy and Daddy now?”

“No,” Ethan said, still driving somewhere far away and exciting.

Eventually, Ethan’s mom said he had to go eat dinner and our road trip in the garage came to a stop.

When Ethan saw me today, he remembered we drove and wanted to do it again. But before I could even get outside, his attention was drawn elsewhere and he ran between his yard and ours while his mom and I talked.

She told me they got an offer on the house. It’s been on the market for a few months. They got an offer today and they accepted it. They have to be out in six weeks.

I’m sad. I’m going to miss my neighbors. They are great neighbors. And I am sure going to miss my little driving buddy.