Monday, April 16, 2012

Parents don't know anything, either

It’s kind of crazy when you think about the fact that kids are born really knowing nothing. From the moment they are out of the womb, they start absorbing everything around them and begin to learn how to exist as a (hopefully) normal human being. Our son Elliot, now 13 months, constantly amazes me by how perceptive he is. He doesn’t talk yet, but that doesn’t mean we are not communicating with him by every action we do. Lately he loves to mimic. If he sees my wife using a lint roller to remove pet hair from the couch, the next time he gets his hands on that lint roller, he goes right to the couch to clean it. In his own way he’s trying to become helpful, which is incredibly endearing.

But every time we think he’s really the gold standard for baby intelligence, he goes and does something so baffling you have to remind yourself that babies are born knowing nothing. They have not been clued in to the amazing power of gravity – especially as it relates to stairs – or the many ways one can injure oneself with electricity.

So far this probably all seems like common sense. Babies are born. They know nothing. Their parents teach them. Well, what we’ve alarmingly come to learn is … parents don’t know anything, either.

Lauren and I couldn’t help but laugh at our ineptitude over Easter weekend. Elliot’s daycare was having an Easter egg hunt on Friday, and Monday he came home with a note asking us to bring 12 plastic eggs filled with goodies to class with him for the hunt. We were all over this. We both take great pride in punctuality, and my wife went to the store that very night, 4 whole days early, to buy the eggs and some Hershey’s kisses to put in them. We assembled everything, and when I dropped Elliot off Tuesday, I deposited the eggs and we were done, ready for a successful hunt.

Friday rolled around, and the kids were having a blast finding the eggs. The hunt was carefully segregated so that Elliot’s class had its own cordoned-off area to hunt eggs in relative safety. It was then that we started to notice a troubling trend. All the eggs Elliot was finding had age-appropriate items in them. Things like Cheerios or maybe a handful of Goldfish crackers. Hershey’s Kisses … what were we thinking!? Elliot doesn’t eat chocolate, especially not chocolate wrapped in tinfoil, in a perfect choking-hazard size! Then we begin to notice parents rapidly confiscating “our” eggs from their kids. Oops.

Despite the fact that we feel great about all that we are “teaching” Elliot, we learn things from time to time, too. And honestly, we learned it in the exact same way. We saw what all the other parents were doing, made a mental note and purposed that next time we would do it that way … you know, the way the “adults” were doing it.

Jordan Echols is a Marketing Manager at Texas Health Resources and Dad to 13-month-old Elliot.

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