Thursday, August 9, 2012


My son has developed a very strong sense of logic of late. Unfortunately, it is his own unique kind of logic, which does not always jive with my ideas of logic. Most of the time, his logic is circular logic: If he says he doesn’t want to take a nap and I ask him why not, he answers, “I don’t want a nap because I don’t want a nap.” Or if I ask him why he’s crashing his cars, he tells me, “I’m crashing my cars because I’m crashing my cars.” Technically true, I suppose, but not really the kind of logic that makes a particularly convincing argument.

Sometimes, though, he surprises me with “true” logic: “Mama, this truck is a bad guy because he’s making a scary face.” OK, that’s actually some pretty sound reasoning right there. But then he follows it up with something relatively nonsensical, like, “And he’s making a scary face because the zoo has a red door with zeroes on top of it and yellow triangle.” Huh? I’m sure that makes sense to him, but it doesn’t make much to me. I’d swear that sometimes he’s just saying random words in succession, except he’s so sincere about it.

But it’s only fair that I can’t follow his way of thinking, because he very often can’t follow mine, either. He has no concept of how my mind works. This is actually very helpful to me at times, since he has not figured out that protesting his innocence before I’ve accused him of anything causes me to accuse him of something. If I walk into a room where he’s playing and he immediately jumps up and announces, “I wasn’t doing anything,” I know he was doing something, most likely something like writing on the table with a crayon or taking a juice box from the pantry without permission or driving his trucks along the wall. If he’s playing in a part of the room that I can’t see and I go over to check on him, and he heads me off and announces, “Mama, don’t look at that blue thing,” I know immediately to look at “that blue thing”, which might be anything from a Sharpie stolen from my desk drawer, to a DVD taken from the bookshelf, to a tube of sunscreen that is now spread all over his legs and the wall. (Yes, those things have all happened.)

Fortunately, he is beginning to understand logic enough to understand – however vaguely – the concept of consequences. He knows that if he whines after supper, he’ll be sent straight to bed with no tubby time. He understands that throwing his toys results in those toys being taken away. He knows that sassing Mama or Daddy means sitting in a chair with no toys for a few minutes. And he also knows that being well-behaved in a restaurant means we might get dessert, that sharing toys with his sister gets him big hugs and kisses from Mama, and that asking politely for something vastly ups his odds of getting it.

I look forward to the day when his logic is developed enough that he will know without my explaining what kind of consequences certain behaviors will bring, and I can’t wait to hear him give a logical explanation for something. But until that day arrives, I will enjoy listening to his own unique brand of toddelogic.

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