Saturday, June 13, 2009

Alternate reality

K, last week, trying to get out of going to preschool: "We can't go in. The doors are locked and no one's inside."

K, in response to being told that it's 8 o'clock and time to get ready for bed: "We don't have a clock."

There are times I really envy K's approach to things she doesn't like. When confronted by an inconvenient truth, she simply makes up a story she likes better and sticks stubbornly to it. Sometimes, it's clear that she's doing it because she thinks saying absurdly wrong things is funny (e.g., insisting yesterday that her blue socks were black). Sometimes she's trying to explain something that she doesn't quite understand, like figuring out the function of an object she doesn't recognize (what's the object I'm sewing? It's a blanket for her brother's cradle, of course. Even though it's in fact a diaper liner, but she can't wrap her mind around the function of a diaper liner). And other times, she does it to deal with something upsetting she can't deal with. I've been talking with her about what will happen when the baby comes, and attempted to come up with the cheeriest explanation of a c-section I could manage. Unfortunately, it wasn't good enough to keep K from finding it upsetting, so she started insisting that her brother was at the hospital, and we were going to pick him up. The next day, I was told further that her brother was sick, and was going to be in the hospital until the doctor made him better. You have to admire the utterly logical elaboration of detail there.

I can't tell how much she believes the things she makes up. As I said, sometimes it's clear she joking. Other times, she seems pretty serious, and utterly unwilling to move from the explanation she came up with for herself. We've learned that the best approach is to correct her once, and then let it go. If it matters, reality will assert itself soon enough and she'll adapt to it. In the meantime, it's fascinating to watch her little mind figure out the world in her own eminently logical way.

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