Favorite Quotes:

Child sitting on parachute: "Don't shoot me up too high, okay?"

Monday, February 1, 2010

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

I’ve often wondered what goes through a young child’s mind when he is too young to express himself verbally, yet can understand and process a lot of information. Sometimes the memories compiled in the non-verbal years have ways of coming to the surface while the child is still young, but not old enough to have forgotten some of those experiences.

For example, when conducting a “firefighter” theme camp this past summer, we discussed fire safety, and the responsibilities of a firefighter (see my entry, “Fire-farter Frank”). During the course of our discussion, a three year-old boy said,

“When I was a baby, my bum was on fire…but the firetruck didn’t come. My Mommy fixed it.”

There was a general look of shock among the other children in the circle. There was no laughter. This was serious news. Who knew that your bum could catch on fire? Sheesh. One more thing to worry about in the world. Was it some sort of accident, or was it a spontaneous combustion thing?

Anyway, the likely cause of his flaming bum was diaper rash. Not being in a position to view the actual flames, or to articulate his fears, his five-alarm diaper rash got filed away in his memory, and the topic of firefighters brought it back to light. And we wonder why we as adults develop weird phobias and O.C.D. Who knows what we experienced back in the early years that got filed into the way-wrong folder? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go throw away some fruit before it starts flying around.

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