Latest Cute Kid Quote

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The boys were at their Occupational Therapy, and it was Isaiah's turn. Ethan and Sophia were playing with a game in the gym, which abuts the therapy room. This was late enough for the room to be empty, since they do their therapy from 5:00-6:45 pm, and this was after 6:00. The sanitation engineer, a woman wearing a pink shirt, came in the room to change the trash bags just as I was poking my head into the therapy room to see how Isaiah was doing. When I went back, Sophia said the following:

Daddy, we were sitting here, and that pink lady came in, and she said hi, but we didn't either, because we were too shy.

1. Sophia still refers to people as having certain colors not because their skin is a certain color but because they're wearing clothing that color. She used to do this regularly when she was just beginning to speak in complete sentences. She clearly knows how to distinguish people according to skin color, but she's got a clear enough sense of accuracy not to call anyone black or white, since no one actually is those colors; Mommy is brown, and the rest of the family is peach. It still doesn't stop her from saying a person is the color the person is wearing.

2. The word 'either' seems to be doing the job of 'also' or 'too', either of which would have sounded very strange, so she substituted something that sounds syntactically ok even if it's semantically crazy. Her error-correction has problems in terms of its positive solutions, but she certainly can catch something that doesn't sound right.

3. Many kids are shy. Some will admit to it occasionally if you ask them. What kind of a kid will volunteer her shyness as an explanation for not saying hi to someone, when you didn't ask for an explanation, didn't know to begin with that the person had said hi and she'd refused to respond, and really wouldn't have noticed if you'd never been told? She realizes that she's being shy by not speaking to the woman, but she has this compulsion to tell us not only that she didn't respond but that her shyness is the explanation why she didn't respond. It's as if she has to speak her inner monologue aloud all the time whenever she's just with us, but she won't say a word to other people. That's a weird combination of being shy and being very much not shy.

4. She doesn't just tell us the events that occurred. She's engaging in behind-the-scenes explanation of why she does certain things, and she attributes it to a somewhat abstract quality of herself, her shyness. Do three-year-olds typically engage in such second-order reflection? This is new for us. Since her brothers are well behind her in such things, we have no idea when this sort of thing normally begins.

3 Comments

Mark H. told me that when his daughter was young he took her to play basketball at the local courts. (This was in Dallas.) When they were leaving, his daughter said something to him about the "black man" that was playing nearby. Mark made some remark about her description and she replied: Well, daddy, he's wearing a black shirt.

Not quite as funny as 'pink lady', but interesting all the same.

She asked me once what colour a character in a book was. My response was something like, "Er, peachy, orangey, pinkish?" To which she replied, "No he's not!He's blue!" The fellow was wearing a blue coat.

I think the bit about being shy comes from people commenting when she refuses to speak to them that she must be shy. That kid's not shy. She just takes her time when evaluating new people in new situations.

My eldest did a sort of introspective reflection bit where he would try to decipher the motivations of others (my wife distinctly remembers him trying to decipher the crucifixion at a very early age of 2 or 3 before breaking down in tears) although I don't ever remember him deciphering the motivating factor behind his own (in)actions. He was happy when he realized that he obeyed but to this day he'll do something and I'll ask him why and he tells me with some frustration "I don't know."

I wonder what he'd do if I got all Calvinistic on him, and unload the doctrine of original sin with a fair measure of determinism. Probably rebel in his teenage years with some Open Theism. heh

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