The mind of a child
I was reminded today of my propensity as a little kid to get things entirely confused.
When I was in second grade we had a fire safety day. And I stood before the class and told them that my Grandpa (the one I had never met who died years before I was born) died in a fire. I found out within the week I was wrong. Now honestly at this point in my life I don’t remember how I found out I was wrong, either my teacher told my parents who talked to me about it or more likely I mentioned it to one of my siblings who called me dumb and told me why I was so wrong.
But the reality is my Grandpa was a smoker and died of lung and throat cancer. My parents had told me that he died from smoking, in a plea for me never to pick up a cigarette. I somehow translated smoking into smoke inhalation and as we sat in class talking about how smoke can kill in a fire I assumed this is why he died.
In third grade I was talking about my other Grandfather and how he had one of his legs amputated. I somehow got it in my head that he ate too many eggs and that caused his leg to fall off (I guess in my head it was like an allergy but the result was losing limbs). In reality my Grandfather got a blood clot in his leg and he collapsed while he was shoveling one day, they had to amputate. My guess is some point my parents were talking about high cholesterol and how my dad shouldn’t eat so many eggs since his Dad’s high cholesterol added to the blood clot problem. To me that was a direct line to eating eggs was the cause in him losing his leg.
I was a pretty smart kid, and where I didn’t have answers or understand what was said to me I made connections that made sense to me. I sometimes ended up with ideas that were quite out there, other times I figured out connections that no one thought I could understand.
When M&P had that epic conversation with me back in the fall and we talked about how to talk to J, they told me a story about how one day one of them was talking to J about the cross-stitch I did for them and asked J where the picture came from and J said “mom”. When they asked him what he said, to repeat it, or asked the same question again, J would never repeat that answer so they decided they had misheard him. You see prior to our conversation although I was a part of their life, I had never been introduced as any sort of Mother. They never used that terminology and they never talk about my giving birth to J or anything similar.
But I am not so sure that J didn’t know precisely what he was saying. And I’m not sure J hasn’t been making connections and deciding relationships in his head already. I know he’s not even 3, and most would assume he doesn’t know any better, but I actually think he is picking up on a lot himself.
When M&P (right after our conversation) started integrating me into the story about how J came to live with them (instead of “we got a text message and went to the hospital to meet you, then we brought you home two days later” they say “we got a text message from ‘Racilous’ to tell us you were born and we went to visit you guys at the hospital and brought flowers for her. Two days later we met up again at the hospital and took you home”.) J barely reacted. He just asked for them to repeat the story and let it lie. I think it’s because he understood before then more than they gave him credit for. I think he didn’t learn much from that story other than that his Dads were okay with him talking about that relationship.
Anyways, I don’t know how the future with J will unfold, how he’ll interact with me and what sort of questions he’ll be asking his parents. But I do think he thinks about things, even now, and is doing his best to make sense in his own mind. And if he takes after me at all and my propensity to fabricate explanations in my head, his parents are going to have their work cut out for them.