When you’re half the height of an adult human you live in a completely different stratum. Instead of teetering around on stilt legs you scuttle around near the ground like a millipede. Falling down is no problem—you can practically bounce back up again. The world is a place of vertical planes, soaring trees, legs with faces far above them, and expansive floors. And the floor is where you can find much enjoyment. Lost items, invisible to the stilt people, are close at hand. Why, here’s an old Cheerio! And a fossilized piece of mac ‘n cheese! How about a shard of glass or a ball bearing? How do those things taste?
For Number Two the ground is a place to drive cars, an endless tarmac/off-road course/racetrack/runway/construction site. I remember as a kid the joy to be had finding a long highway devoid of carpet or obstacles. Model planes would come in for perfect flared landings, cars would have drag races, and balls bowled down the funnel of one-point perspective. For many months everyone in the house has been prancing, leaping, and skidding over a minefield of wheeled vehicles left on the floor by Number Two. No more! Yesterday some friends of ours gave us a train table, something resembling a broad coffee table with a retention lip and two massive wheeled drawers underneath. My wife and I wondered, would Number Two enjoy playing with his cars on here or was this a parental buzzkill? We brought over armfuls of Matchbox cars, wooden trucks, and mini trains to the table, dumped them, and stood back like observing scientists. Number Two walked up, grabbed a car, and began making engine noises and guiding his car around the painted track like a Formula One driver. Success! Now we have to instill in him the absolute euphoria to be had putting away toys and cleaning up after yourself. [alert—alert—parental buzzkill in progress—alert—alert]