Friday, August 13, 2004

Speaking the Truth

It is easy to ascribe prophetic powers to very young children. For some reason, it's hard *not* to. In those first few weeks of taking care of my children, I felt like every song I sang would influence them, that the first eye contact I made with them would be a memory they carried forever.

And of course to some extent that is true. But it's funny that I feel that when toddlers are just learning to speak, everything they say is true.

I don't mean the comments you hear from older children who say what everyone else is thinking: "That man is fat! Your shirt is weird looking! Why does your breath smell funny?" And so on.

I mean the almost mystical pronouncements that children under three can give us when we least expect it, that show just how very new they still are, how unused to living in this world.

The other day we drove through the little town where John and Maia were born. "We're going past a special building soon," I said.

"What, where?" cried John, looking out the window. Then he saw the sign and said, "The hospital! Where I was born and Maia was born!"

"Do you remember that?" I asked him.

"I remember when Maia was born. But not when I was!"

"Well, where were you before you were born?"

"In your womb," he said.

"I mean before that. Where were you before that?"

He stopped and thought for some time. Then, "I don't remember."

I turned the rear-view mirror so I could see Maia. "How about you, Maia? Do you remember where you were before you were born?"

"Yah," she said, nodding.


"There," she said clearly, pointing out the window at the sky.

I believed her.


  1. That made me smile.

  2. Me too!

    Thanks for visiting my blog.