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There’s an experience I’m sure all parents have had where your child says or does something, and you very sincerely wonder whether they understood or meant to do what it seems they did. With Simon, we get this all the time when it looks for all the world that he has “read” something. Did he really read the word “troublesome” on that book page? Or did he just make it out from gestalt? Or maybe he just recognizes the picture and it’s a match game for him.

Yesterday, Simon gave a contextually appropriate response to something I said that he was absolutely not supposed to understand. And while I’m 99% sure he simply recognized a pattern of conversation and spat out something he thought might just fit it, I’m going to have to watch my mouth on the off-chance he understood even a part of it.

It all began at bedtime with Matt, Simon, and me lying on the bed in the master bedroom and enjoying some quiet time together before Simon went into his own bedroom. Matt and I began to free associate about how old we’d be when Simon hit certain landmarks. High school graduation? 56. His likely marriage or family starting? Probably mid-to-late sixties. His fortieth birthday? 76 (Oh my God!) Then I looked at Simon and wondered out loud:

Oh Simon. When you are fifty and have a family and career of your own, are you going to go visit your 86-year-old mother in Four Courts (a nursing home) and take care of her? Will you make sure I’m not stuck in pants with fully elastic waists? And when the time comes, will you bring me my cyanide tablet?

Yes, yes, I know exactly how inappropriate that was. Then he looked up at me with a sweet smile and said:

Oh mom. Don’t talk like that. Close your eyes and dream sweet dreams of fast cars and be happy.

On the one hand, there’s no way Simon understood my reference to euthanasia. On the other hand, that reply made sense, right? I mean, he gave for all the world the appearance of understanding. So that’s it. I’m henceforth assuming that Simon understands everything I say—possibly even spelling—and am censoring myself accordingly.

2 Responses to “The Downside of Imitation”

  1. harriette says:

    That’s about the time that I believe in the theory of reincarnation that says that babies are born knowing all that they learned in their previous lives and eventually forget it it as they grow older. Sounds like a previous reincarnation coming through to me .

  2. blg says:

    I was too busy laughing at the thought of you in elastic waist polyester pants to even worry about euthanasia.

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