I spent an hour or so scouring my blog posts to piece together the trail of what I'll call "Easton's passion". It all started when he was 18 months old. Barely able to talk he managed to form the words "space suit" and "moon". He understood the conversation and concept of space long before he could verbalize it.
Here is the progression of vidoes that show the steady drum beat of his excitement for anything with wings on it. The Disney movie, Cars 2, was one of his favorites, but he wasn't excited about the cars. He was excited about the plane in the movie. He asked for that as a Christmas present. Then he spent several minutes trying to identify which aircraft it matches in his "100 Years of Flight" book.
We bought him a few gifts from our trip to Dallas last month. His favorite is a $2.50 Styrofoam plane. He's convinced he is smart. I am extremely happy to hear him speak positive words over his own life. That means he truly believes it.
And this most recent one from our trip to the library displays his passion for aircraft. I often show him the scenery of life, but I don't tell him what to see. That's for him to discover.
That is the video montage and here is the progression pictorially. From what I can tell it all started back at this age and here's the first indicator of his interest. He could choose a motorcycle or an airplane. Easy choice, right?
We successfully avoided taking Easton and Layla on airplanes when they were infants. Let's face it. flying with an infant sucks. there's no way around it no matter how well-behaved and perfect a little angel baby is, the pressure changes are just more than any baby can tolerate without some crying and unhappiness.
We waited until they were almost two years old to board a plane. They were used to traveling by car to Sacramento frequently so taking a 4 hour ride on a plane wasn't a big deal. You can see the fire in his eyes. or maybe this picture just needs red-eye reduction. either way it was his first experience off the ground.
From then on his conversations and thoughts were many times related to airplanes. Even his request for toys shifted quickly to flight-focused toys. As far as I can tell, this was the first airplane he flew.
He also started noticing them more in the air. This is Easton at the pumpkin patch. He was surrounded by pumpkins, but his eyes were focused up in the air and his ear tuned to roaring jet engines. He's touching his ear saying, "hear the plane, Mommy?"
and his favorite book became the one with cartoon planes on each page.
Then he got the 100 years of flight book, which led to identifying a large variety of planes in his toy collection, on TV and over our house.
Oupa and I took Easton for a boys-only trip down to Tucson to see the airplane museum. He was so young he didn't know enough to keep his mouth off the hand rail of the tram, but he was old enough to marvel at the incredible sights of aircraft.
The cockpit of a helicopter was like an overdose of visual stimulation for him. He was enthralled.
The idea of a plane landing and taking off from water was fascinating to him. See, even boats don't hold much appeal to Easton unless they are attached to wings and engines.
By the time our next plane trip came around he was ecstatic about flying.
Then I bought the remote control helicopter. He will watch for long periods of time as Jacob and I few it around. He was also able and willing to control one of the two steering sticks on the remote. Seeing his eyes light up when he realized the helicopter moved as he controlled it was one of the most enjoyable moments ever.
Easton had a choice of whatever Lego set he wanted (within reason). He chose... a fighter jet.
When we went to the dinosaur museum he had his choice of whatever poster to buy as a souvenir. Did he choose a T-Rex or dino poster? Nope. He saw the Space shuttle poster and instantly begged for it.
We spent a week at Disneyland riding almost every ride in the park. Easton's favorite was Space mountain. I know... real shocker, right?
He found astronaut food at a department store and only requested Kendra buy him this one thing. ice cream, none the less.
I took Easton and Layla to the local municipal airport for breakfast and a tour of the control tower. Layla was tolerant of the experience, but Easton was lovin' every minute of it more than Loverboy. Some of you 80's kids will get that reference.
Sitting in a bi-plane Easton hung onto the steering wheel and made engine noises. This is as close as he's been to flying a plane. so far.
Easton's been on more planes before his 5th birthday than many people see in a lifetime. He's blessed, but doesn't realize how much yet. He was holding his toy plane, flying in a real plane, and watching a movie about planes. Doesn't get much more emersive than that.
Then Kendra jumped out of an airplane as a skydiver. Before her trip up and drop down to Earth we were able to climb inside the plane and have a look around. Easton went straight to the cockpit to check out all the buttons.
Easton's costumes and play time were becoming more astronaut focused once he realized planes can go outside of Earth's orbit.
His favorite toy "Rocket" from the Little Einsteins proved his interest is mostly in stuff with wings even during cartoons about music and other science content.
Papa and I took Easton for his second trip to the airplane museum. He'd been asking about going back ever since we went the first time. He got to put his hands on a Blackbird SR-71. That'll light the fire in any plane lover's soul.
The airplane museum has a separate building for space travel. Easton's world was expanded by that trip where he was able to see real astronaut suits, rovers, and moon rocks.
During our trip to Oklahoma we spent a day at the OKC science museum. His favorite part was the space shuttle flight simulator. We climbed inside a pod and talked real-time with a guy outside who was pretending to be mission control.
Easton and Layla could barely stand tall enough to get their faces in the astronaut picture. He wanted to see this picture on the camera display, which he normally didn't care to do. He may have seen himself as an astronaut for the first time in this picture.
I told him he could buy one Matchbox or Hot Wheels. He passed by the cars and motorcycles to make a bee-line for the airplanes. He chose this one because it looks like the Spruce Goose.
I took the twins to a hot air balloon festival, which was mildly entertaining for Easton and tolerable for Layla. She was excited about the pretty colors. Easton was excited about the balloons lifting off the ground. I know it doesn't have wings, but his interest is mostly focused on getting off the ground by any means necessary.
The aircraft carrier was a big hit as a Christmas gift. He wouldn't have enjoyed it much without the runway and planes though. He just used the battle ship as a plane storage and landing location.
One other field trip we took was to the Titan Missile Museum. Here's Neill with the twins in the missile launch room.
After the tour was over we went top-side. We discovered two rocket engines on display. This is the closest Easton has come to space flight. so far.
the best, most used toy he's ever had was purchased at the Titan Missile Museum. The space shuttle detaches from the fuel tank, which is the key feature that puts this particular model in a category all on its own.
And finally, here Easton is on his first day of Kindergarten. Kendra asked him what he wants to be when he grows up. He said, "I want to be an astronaut!" We'll do this on the first day of each school year. It will be interesting to see how his passion and focus shift through the years.
It all makes sense now. The way his eyes and mind have been focused on the sky his whole life continue to shape the way he looks at the world and his focus for his own future. If he decides tomorrow that he never wants to talk about aerospace again, I'm perfectly fine with that. I wont' give it another thought. However, if he continues to show a passion for it, then I'm just here to be the rocket fuel for his passion.
See you soon!