Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rise of the Humpdacat

Four-year-olds have healthy imaginations. They don a superhero cape and magically develop superpowers. They're able to spend hours playing inside pirate ships or fortresses that to the rest of us looking cardboard boxes. And they think that having ice cream for dinner is possible if they ask enough times. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the existence of the humpdacat - a creature birthed from Benjamin's very active four-year-old brain.

A month or so ago, I noticed a figure popping up again and again in Benjamin's drawings - it looked vaguely anthropomorphic with wide-set eyes, two arms, two legs, and a thick torso. After watching him furiously putting the finishing touches on yet another one of of these creatures, I finally asked Benjamin what it was. He shrugged his shoulders, and said, "It's a humpdacat." I assumed that "humpdacat" was a mouthful of gibberish that Benjamin made up on the fly, so I didn't think I would hear the word again. But I was wrong. Colorful humpdacats continued to show up in his watercolors, hastily doodled humpdacats decorated the margins of his workbook, and the word "humpdacat" peppered his speech. The humpdacat was here to stay. 

I decided it was time to get to know the humpdacat. What is it? What makes it tick? I sat Benjamin down for a humpdacat Q & A.

Mommy: How big is the humpdacat?
Benjamin: THIS BIG. (spreads arms out wide and stands on tippy toes)

M: What is the humpdacat's favorite color?
B: Black and red and orange and brown and purple. That's a lot of colors.

M: Is the humpdacat quiet or loud?
B: The humpdacat is very quiet and very loud and very noisy.

M: What is the humpdacat's favorite toy?
B: Messy dump trucks.

After that last question, Benjamin stood up and demanded ice cream for dinner. The interview was over, and I felt as though I were no closer to understanding this enigmatic creature.

One day, I saw Benjamin writing his name in large letters right next to a humpdacat. A-HA!!! I excitedly asked him, "Benjamin, are YOU the humpdacat?" He rolled his eyes at me and said, "No, Mommy, CALLIOPE is the humpdacat." Hmmmm...

She does have humps...

...And she does sort of look like a cat.

I can't believe I didn't see it before!