Anyone who has ever spent significant time around a toddler has probably experienced sharp correction from said small person. My son is no different from the typical child in this age range, and while we’re trying to teach him to interact generously with others, we do get quite a kick out of the way he naturally paves over our opinions as he learns to assert himself. Just the other day, while reading a book about birds, I asked him which one was his favorite, to which he replied, “The blue one.”
“That’s great,” I said. “My favorite is the red one.”
“No,” he informed me. “Your favorite is the yellow one.”
I say all the time that I had no idea my husband and I spent several decades developing such skewed perceptions until we found ourselves parenting a 3-year-old. Our little boy rebukes us regularly in a tone that suggests he’s skeptical about our abilities to, say, order from a fast food menu or make it from the car to the kitchen without a map. I’m confident he’ll grow out of this communication style, but in the meantime, we don’t take it too seriously, and it brings about regular hilarity in our household.
Such levity took hold on a recent outing, and we have not stopped talking about it.
We struck out on a Saturday evening not long ago in search of an outdoor labyrinth we had read about in nearby Rome. We arrived where we thought it should be near the Rome Civic Center, and as we wandered around in search of the actual attraction, we enjoyed the historic sights around the visitors center — a preserved cotton gin, an enormous Civil War-era metal lathe and two cannons, which were like a magnet to my son who exclaimed “I wanna see ’em! Do they shoot??” before he went scrambling up a hill in their direction. The rest of us had the shared thought that we were glad the cannons did not, in fact, shoot, but he probably figured working cannons were exactly what his 3-year-old self needed to make a Saturday night complete.
We eventually found the labyrinth behind the visitors center, but we did a lot of walking to get there.
On the way, we experienced a classic toddler correction that I hope I’ll always remember. My son, at one point, gestured toward a round manhole cover in the road and asked what it was. When my husband told him, my son’s immediate and confident response, delivered in a withering tone, was, “No — no, no, no, no no. That is a big money.”
He had assumed the manhole cover was an enormous coin, or in his words, “a money.” Duh.
My husband and I hung back, rocking with silent laughter as our little boy swept past us and huffed up the road, obviously indignant at having to correct his caretakers again. And there was no arguing with him. From that point on, every other manhole cover he saw was quickly categorized as an oversized coin, and he later said his favorite part of the evening was finding “the moneys.”
When we laugh, he sometimes seems to be in on the joke, although this time he was dead serious. I think all kids say funny things, but he really comes out with some zingers. I look forward to seeing how his sense of humor develops as he gets older, and I anticipate finding out many more times that I am completely mistaken about things I thought I knew.
As a side note, if you’re in the Rome area, I definitely recommend a trip to look at the labyrinth. It’s a circular pathway of bricks laid into the ground of what was once an outdoor amphitheater. The length of the spiraling pathway comes to over a kilometer, according to romegeorgia.org. You can read all about the labyrinth’s history on the site. Combined with the historical attractions at the civic center, it’s definitely good for an evening’s entertainment if you have kids. Just watch out for the moneys on your way there!