Saturday, November 04, 2006


Tabula Rasa

The other night, my son had a concert. We sat behind a girl who was between 16 and 18 months old. She kept us as entertained as the program did. She was playing with the contents of a purse. First, she had a tube of lip balm. She tried to put it on her lips with the cap on. That wasn't quite right, so she took the cap off and applied some. Then she sucked on the lip balm. Finding the flavor yucky, she spit and sputtered.

The lip balm kept her occupied for quite some time. She looked at us and waved periodically. My daughter made faces at her, which she copied. In trying to get my son's attention, she looked right at him, held the lip balm out over the floor and watched his reaction as she dropped it. Deliberate, she was.

Next, she played with a small bottle of hand lotion. She opened the cap and made the motion of putting some on her hands, then rubbed her hands to rub the nonexistent lotion in. The adult next to her showed her how to get the lotion out of the bottle. She tried and, when she met with success, her eyes popped open wide, along with her mouth.

Toward the end of the concert, the little girl pointed for something she wanted on the floor. The adults she was with offered her a water bottle and her sippy cup. Nothing they offered would do. She wanted her companion's purse. When she got it, she promptly removed the credit card. My children were in stitches.

The intelligence of very young children never ceases to amaze me. Tabula rasa, my foot.

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