I’ve mentioned before that Thomas doesn’t know colors.
Actually, let me rephrase. Thomas refuses to conform to the names society has given colors.
Instead of using the names of the colors that you and I use, he came up with his own. For example, instead of red, green, blue, and yellow, Thomas would say David color, grass color, police color, and golden color.
Since Thomas is four years old, and some kids his age are joining Mensa, I decided to really focus on colors last summer.
I tried to be low-key about it. Instead of drilling him, I made sure colors were part of our conversations. I made it a point to frequently use color names — Do you see that red car? Can you hand me that yellow spoon?
It didn’t work. He would always correct me. “Oh, you mean the golden color spoon? Here you go, Mommy.”
Summer ended and Thomas was only leaning into this system harder. Instead of conforming, he was working to force me into his new system. “Thomas, do you like this grey shirt?”
“You mean concrete color?”
When school started, I gave his teacher a heads up. She only grinned and shook her head.
There has never been a kid like Thomas.
I kept using the correct color names, but didn’t worry about Thomas’s resistance. I knew it would come one day. And, honestly, if he grew up refusing to say “purple” then I suppose there are worse things that could happen.
The other day I was finishing up some Etsy orders, and Thomas wandered over.
“I like that spike ball, Mommy!” he told me, picking it up and looking at it.
“Oh, really?” I asked. “Why do you like it?”
“It’s pretty. I like the green and the blue,” he said. Then he put it down and wandered back to his toys.
Just like that, he says green and blue.
When your kids are babies you obsessively track milestones.
When they first smile, sit up, crawl — it’s all photographed and chronicled on iClouds and mommy blogs.
But the milestones never stop, they just become quieter. One day your child will learn to put on shoes, buckle their carseat, do a ponytail without any help.
These milestones are victories, evidence of the passage of time, of growing up, and into someone independent, someone new. These are the inches and feet of our children taking steps out and into the world.
One day he was a toddler, picking color names out of his imagination. The next, he’s a kid who says green, and who will go to kindergarten very, very soon.
Right before my very eyes.