G__ d_mn it!, G__ d_mn it!
Never underestimate the intelligence of a child. Their cognitive senses are operating at full blast long before they can communicate or comment. And the memory of what they see and hear stays with them.
My son, Bill, still in diapers, had a favorite cozy nook, between a cupboard and a hall where he could see what as going on in the house, and one day I found that he heard and remembered far more than I thought possible.
His older brother was usually busy with his stuff, Gram in her favorite chair, and as I went about my daily chores, she and I talked about lots of stuff and later on, after Bill talked, I found that there had been another pair of ears hearing, all we said. And remembered it, too.
Yeah, one day, after he could talk, he said, “Mom, do you remember when you and Gram were talking about. . . . ?” and he then went on to tell me about that day, and, surprised, I answered, “Yes.”
“Well,” he said, “that isn’t the way it happened.” And that dang kid went on to tell me exactly what had happened and Gram and I looked at each other in disbelief. The child was right, and my ideas of the abilities children, barely out of infanthood, took a great big turn-about.
I looked at Gram with eyes agog, and said, “Okay, thanks,” and the child casually went on with his play, but Gram and I knew then that it had been no unthinking child hearing our conversations, and I began wondering what else he had heard. And stored away. Plenty no doubt.
I knew kids copied what they heard, for his brother had proven that roundly. He, too, was still in the diaper stage, and was sitting on the middle of the kitchen floor (where else?) and was swinging a small play plastic hammer his Dad had bought him, and was pretending he was hammering with it.
And of all thing, over and over he was saying, “G__ d_mn it! G__ d_mn it!” Well, I hurriedly found something else for him to play with, hid the hammer, and couldn’t wait to tell his Dad that a few changes had to be made in everyday ‘shop’ language. Who told us that parenthood would be without shock?
And, later on, I saw a daughter of a niece of mine do the same. Oh, not the cussing, just the awareness of what was being said. My niece was sitting near me with her less than two-year-old daughter on her lap. She was telling me that she was expecting another child, but decided not to tell her daughter (the one sitting on her lap) about it for a few more months.
I laughed and told the expectant mother that she’d already ‘spilled the beans’, and that the child on her lap understood what she had said. She looked at the child, the child looked at her, and the looks in the eyes of both, child and mother, was hilarious for both of them were surprised.
The mother to know that her child had understood, and by the look the child gave to me, it was evident that the child was surprised to know that there was an adult who knew that she understood. I laughed again in delight.
Stupid kids? No, they’re all the same, and if you think not, you’re only fooling yourself. No, they don’t have the ability to talk, but my oh, my, they have the ability to hear, and remember.
Think back on your own life, you simply listened to what was being said, and it became part of you. You knew and remembered. There are no secrets around children. They might not know all the inner meanings, or have the ability to comment upon it, but, boy oh boy, do they ever know the facts. And have good memories, too.