and great memories . . .
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. And sometimes they surprise you with what they not only saw, but heard and later on understood what was said. Wow, wow, wow.
My son, Bill, while yet in diapers, had a favorite cozy nook, between a corner and two hallways, where he could see pretty well what was going on in a good part of the house, and so, one day, I found that he heard and remembered for more than I thought possible.
His older brother, John, kept busy with ‘grown up’ stuff, but Gram and I talked about lots of things and people as I went about my daily chores. Later on as Bill learned to talk, we also found there had also been another pair of ears taking note of what we said. And was good at remembering, too.
Yes, one day, after he could talk Bill 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. Bill, I do.”
“Well”, he said, “that isn’t the way it happened.” And that dang kid went on to tell us exactly what had happened and Gram and I looked at each other in disbelief. And if he, the child was right, then my ideas of children’s abilities, in fact, 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 understood. And stored away. Plenty, no doubt.
My sister tells of a like happening to her. Our mother, Nettie Ohlin, and her friends, did their summer quilting outside in a tree arbor of ours, with Bernice as a child, playing under the quilting frame the women used, and where she heard the women’s talk. She now tells me she knew story after story about our neighbors, long before she knew what it all meant. But, oh, what a foundation of learning.
I knew kids copied what they heard, for Bill’s older brother had proven that, also. 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 given him, and, of course, was pretending he was hammering with it. And of all things, over and over he was saying, “G. . D. . . G. . D . . .”
Well, I hurriedly found another toy 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 parent hood 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 (yeah, the one sitting ritht there on her lap) about it.
I laughed and told the expectant mother that she had 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 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, (that’s how we learned to speak and say words) and it became part of us. We knew and remembered. There are no secrets around children. They might not know all the inner meanings, or have the ability to comment, but, boy oh boy, do they ever know the facts, And have good memories, too.