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I try really heard to keep a lid on competitive parenting, but some days it’s very hard. Monday was one of those days.

Simon and I were watching old Thomas and Friends videos when he stunned me into silence. On this video, stills of trains and other vehicles with their names spelled out below appear between stories. There is no narration; only the theme music can be heard.

Usually, Simon and I both ignore these little interruptions until the next story begins. Monday, though, out of nowhere Simon narrated thusly:

T is for Thomas;

P is for Percy;

E is for Edward;

H is for Henry;

G is for Gordon;

T is for Toby;

B is for Bertie


Now, this may be the simplest thing in the world. Simon knows quite a few letters, and he knows the regulars from Thomas and Friends. So it may be the most natural thing in the world that he put all this together and said to himself, “Hey, I wonder if those are the trains’ names printed there? I know the trains’ names. Let’s see if I can recognize the letters the names begin with.”

But somehow at the time—and a little bit still—this struck me as a huge cognitive leap on his part. One that seemed, dare I say it, advanced for his age. I don’t know if it is, and I don’t plan on finding out, as asking would only disappoint me, feed my vanity, or both.

I call these instances my Lake Wobegone moments, reminding me as they do of that mythical world where all the men are strong, all the women good looking, and all the children above average. It’s a bad scene, and one I don’t want to get sucked into. Plus, all those babies in the Your Baby Can Read ads are sitting down and practically reading Chaucer by Simon’s age…

One Response to ““S” is for Surprised”

  1. bethnbobinnc says:

    The question is, “are they really understanding Chaucer?” Those ads are creepy! It is cool when they make a leap like that! It always takes you by surprise.

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