But what’s even funnier is that he now has the vocabulary to narrate everything we do.
The complete sentence is still a ways off, but the staccato 2 and 3 word directive is now on display in full force. On a normal morning we walk to the garage and he starts with “Daddy’s car” then “Elliot’s seat!” Before we even back out of the garage he starts with the demands: “Elliot eat, cereal bar”. So I pacify him with food and back in to the alley. “That way” he emphatically shouts pointing towards the street. Once we are on the road it’s a steady narration of everything he sees “airplane, school bus, fire truck, dog…” After a few minutes (hopefully more) he turns his attention to entertainment when he realizes that what dad is listening to on the radio is not what he wants to hear. So then its “music, music, music” until I put on his nursery rhyme playlist.
It doesn’t stop there. Each day he has a specific playlist in mind and there is no reason to it. One day the ABC song is his favorite, the next day he is vigorously waiving it off shouting “no ABC’s”. I play DJ all the way to school - skipping and repeating tracks…catering to his every whim. For the most part it’s endearing, occasionally it can be annoying when he becomes insistent, but Lauren and I have acclimated to life with our little narrator.
This weekend my parents took Elliot for a couple of days and Lauren and I found ourselves running around town and something seemed off. It was too quiet. We laughed when we realized we were subconsciously adding in our own narration to fill the void. It wasn’t anything we were doing intentionally, it was second nature. We probably would sound crazy to anyone watching closed circuit TV of our car trips - two adults driving down the highway saying “airplane, red truck, tree…”
Another shock back to adulthood was at dinner. Since we were kid-free we decided to try a slightly more upscale destination. We even dressed up a little and were looking forward to a dinner that didn’t revolve around picking up food off the floor and Lauren bargaining with Elliot to remain in his seat. We walked in and the waiter was immediately apologetic for sitting us at a table adjacent to a family with a small child. He leaned in and said “I really can’t understand why anyone would bring a child here.” Lauren and I exchanged a wink because we had brought Elliot to this very same restaurant about 6 months earlier! But instead of calling him out on it I just said “yeah, unbelievable…these people.”
I think a little adult time every now in then is a great thing, but I’d much rather be having a white-knuckle dinner at casual-dining restaurant with my little buddy any day of the week!
Jordan Echols is a Communication & Image Zone Manager with Texas Health Resources and Dad to talker Elliot.