At the risk of bringing down collossal bad karma on my own head, I'm going to go ahead and say I’m finally starting to get the hang of parenting, I think. Beth was at class tonight so instead of going straight home after daycare, John suggested we go “to the store”. I thought about it for a moment, then said “okay!” Somehow, two year olds can occasionally hit upon just exactly the right thing to do in a given situation. So I decided we’d go to Target, which features not only a mini Pizza Hut with little pizzas (which John helpfully told me he would like for dinner "and milk!"), but also happens to have a pretty OK toy department as well. So we went and had dinner first, and he ate like a champ, polishing off half a personal pizza with pepperoni (which he shunned until I said "it's like bacon", after which he gobbled it down instantly as well), and a whole bottle of his favorite dairy beverage. We then went to the toy aisle and checked out the Star Wars.
He recognized them instantly, and went through them as if unsure if he should ask for them or not. He looked at several and I suggested a Yoda action figure and a LEGO Star Wars set with Anakin Skywalker and R2D2. He immediately agreed and took them like a trophy as we went to get mommy a new coffee maker and daddy a new mouse for his laptop. He chirped out, "what about this?" pointing to a $0.97 matchbox car that was a bright green Lotus something. "Welll..." I said, trying to work his emotions a little, "okay." And didn't his little face light up just as big at the $0.97 matchbox car as it did at the $20 LEGO set. Anyway, so he's as happy as could be as we go and get some other stuff (the Mr. Coffee we got was of major interest to John as well, given its space-age look), and when we got home he sat happily at the table with me for forty minutes or so playing with the new figures while I put the LEGO spaceship together for him. Then we sat on the couch and watched the last 20 minutes of Return of the Jedi (the lightsaber battle at the end between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader mesmerizes him), and without a bit of protest he went straight to bed right on time.
I've been a Star Wars fan since I was probably three or four myself, so the fact that John loves it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone, but I really feel like I'm starting to be able to use this mutual love to interact with him in a deep and meaningful way. We have the same sort of thing when it comes to castles, which he also loves, but until he's old enough to enjoy something like Willow, he probably won't really "get" castles till later. Until then we have Star Wars, and with it, something special for daddy and Johnny to both love and enjoy together.