The sincerest form of flattery

Kids can be scary to watch sometimes. At first you think they are just doing random little kid things, like banging your mobile against they face and singing a funny song, and suddenly they will press it up against your ear and it hits you that they are talking on the phone.

“Hello? Dave speaking… Stop the train — how did you learn to do that?” I asked him. I suppose from watching me… “Wait, what else do you know how to do?”

Xavier is shockingly smart — I mean, within the limits of being a tiny person who doesn’t yet speak or walk or use a toilet — but smart nonetheless. He figured out button pushing at an early age. First, because it was fun, and then because little lights blinked when he did it, and ultimately because it turns on the TV, the playstation, the DVD player, etc. His sense of cause and effect is pretty well developed, and has led to some good deductive ability.

For example, a couple of weeks back, Sarah took X to visit a friends place, and Xavier happily wandered around the living room turning everything on.

“Don’t worry”, Tom said, “He won’t get into that much trouble, most of the on/off buttons are locked away.”

And so Xavier looked for a minute, and then wandered over to a drawer, pulled out things that he had no reason to believe were remote controls, and methodically turned everything else on before going on to do something normal, like playing stand-up-fall-down, while the adults tried to figure out how to turn everything back off again. Smart kid.

Most recently, he’s worked out how to use the ‘spinny-noise-machine’ by watching us as we do our laundry. Figuring out the on and off button was a natural step, as it makes fun noises and blinks lights. Spinning the dials came a few days later, and just the other day he reasoned out that the door has to be closed before the last button does anything. He’s going to cost me a lot in hot water.

So telephones, home electronics and major appliances he’s worked out. He even has character traits of his parents shining through (like removing his socks when/where ever possible), but still not a lot in terms of words. We are working on those too, just a little slower. Every now and then you’ll catch him mimicking a new noise that he’s heard you make, or a sound he hadn’t heard before. Last night while we were watching a funny commercial, he started making this crazy noise. After a few refinements, we realized that he was laughing. Or, more accurately, guffawing. Laughing he’d already learned from his mom — a little giggle with a bit of a nasal chortle when things are especially funny. It’s cute. This was not. This was imitating Dad.

HUH haw!

and so he went, while eerily watching me for confirmation that he was doing it right.

I think I should be flattered. But, I’m also pretty sure my son thinks I sound like a Donkey with a bronchial infection, so I have mixed feelings.

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