It's all about collections right now.
Ben is constantly inventing and describing and assembling collections of books, collections of DVDs, collections of video games.
Thanks to the marketers who know that bundling products together is the best way to get customers to spend a little more than they were planning in the first place, he's become fascinated by things like the pamphlets that come in DVD packaging or promotional cards tucked into magazines or the "Also by this author" lists on the back covers of books.
The idea of creating or completing a collection must feel so satisfying, so compelling, for someone who is, like Ben, both a pattern-seeker and completist.
Every time I come around a corner these days, I seem to encounter a neatly laid out grid of DVDs or books, arranged into a collection: in the middle of the living room floor, the hallway, on the sofa.
He now asks for books and DVDs based on how they would enable him to complete a collection rather than an interest in the content.
And he invents his own collections. Several times a day we have a conversation like this one:
"Mommy, have you ever heard of the 3 DVD set called The Dr. Seuss Complete Collection?"
(I take the bait) "No, I haven't. Tell me about it."
"On Volume 1, it has Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat and the Cat, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back..." (He lists five or six, or ten or twelve more titles, organized into volumes.)
"Wow! That sounds like a great collection!"
"And... have you heard of the Dr. Seuss Complete BEGINNER'S Collection with special BONUS FEATURES?"
And we continue like this for some time. He enthusiastically pitches and I ooh and ahh and say, "Tell me more!" as if on the set of our own QVC show.
Sometimes, from another room, I'll hear him in his announcer voice burst out with: COMING SOON TO OWN ON DVD, THE GREATEST DISNEY BLUE RAY COLLECTION OF ALL TIME!
If only the copywriters who slave away on package copy or voiceover scripts for video trailers knew how much he appreciates, and believes, their tired hyperbole. If only they knew what a devotee they have in a hyperlexic, echolalic child.