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Quirk or Stage?

I often wonder how many things I attribute to Simon are, in fact, symptomatic of a specific developmental stage and vice versa?

For the most part, I’ll never know. But a friend’s blogging has just turned up one instance of something I thought peculiar to Simon. Of late, Simon has been enthralled by games of hide-and-seek. Only there is a catch: He either does not hide, or he tells me where he’ll hide. Just Wednesday I picked him up from school and took him straight to a park. Before long, we were playing hide-and-seek. Each time, he’d tell me where he was going to hide, insist I count down from 10, make me “look” for him, and then squeal with delight when I found him exactly where he told me he’d be! For added measure, he “hid” behind a very skinny tree. A few months ago, he “hid” on our living room couch. To be fair, he did cover his eyes….

I assumed this was a Simon thing, then just tonight read about a friend (Hello Katherine!) whose nearly 5-year-old son does the exact same thing. This can’t just be a coincidence. What’s going on here?

Thankfully, a friend of a cognitive psychologist writing at Open Salon encountered something very similar and wrote it up. It seems it all comes down to kids this age working out the complexities of spatial relationships, thus hiding behind a skinny tree, and not being able to take a different perspective, thus assuming he could hide by covering his eyes or thinking the game was still fun if he told me where he’d be.

Fascinating! And really, a good reminder that interesting developments are on display even amid seemingly tedious play. The catch is, as with all scientific pursuits, you have to know what you are looking for.

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