This evening, while getting ready for bed, Sean pointed out the lamp on his dresser and said "I have a book about that bear."
The lamp in question is a ceramic sort of thing, the body painted to look like a tree, and the broad base painted to look like grass. On the grass there's a rather mopey looking Eeyore, and Kanga and Roo, and about three quarters of the way up the tree there's a somewhat faded bear, trying to look innocent, with a paw buried inside a hole in the tree.
It's quite an old lamp – I'm pretty sure my mom bought it to decorate my room before I was born, or perhaps a bit after – and it's the reason there's a Winnie the Pooh theme to Sean's room.
Sean has never so much as mentioned it before, ever.
"Yes," I said, "I'm pretty sure you do have a book about that bear. Would you like to read it for bedtime?"
Sean frowned. "No, the book is at school."
(Sean has a very… proprietary relationship with the small classroom library at his pre-school.)
"We have one here too," I explained, and pulled out a very hefty Complete Winnie the Pooh hardcover book from the bottom of his bookshelf. "Do you want me to read you a story?"
"I wanted a super hero story…"
"Well," I said, checking the clock, "I can read you one of each, as a treat."
He considered this, somewhat suspiciously, but seemed moved by the offer of extra stories. "Okay."
So I read the very first Pooh story, in which Pooh climbs a tree for some honey ("Like on the lamp!") and falls back down, and gets help from Christopher Robin in a rain cloud-based bee deception. There was a lot of giggling and complete concentration from Sean.
It's pretty long for a four year old: twenty pages, with only small illustrations, and probably the longest single story he's sat still for, as far as I know.
We finished the story and, as I've done in the past, I told him the title of the next story in the book, so he'd know what to look forward to, and turned to check out the selection of "Golden" super friends stories.
Sean kept looking at the opening illustration of the next story (something about Pooh getting stuck in the door at Rabbit's house… you might have heard of it), and fingering the pages.
"Do you want me to read another Pooh story, or a super hero story?" I asked.
He paused, really giving it some thought. It's no small thing, if you're this kid, putting Batman on the back burner even for one night.
"I want another Pooh story," he whispered.
So I hid a smile, we read, and when we were done Sean climbed up, retrieved a stuffed Pooh-bear from a shelf above his bed, and tucked into his pillow without a word of complaint.
First couple steps into the hundred-acre woods. A pretty good night.