Help! My Three Year-Old Has ESP

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That is what I’ve thought, several times in the past few months, when Mbot says something that I thought I’d only thought. “Maybe I was talking on the phone when he was in the back seat,” I’d explain to myself, knowing I hadn’t had my phone with me. “Maybe I talk to myself,” I concluded, after the fourth or fifth time Mbot mentioned something that I’d seen or heard or thought.

The first time he did it was about a year ago, when one day I was working on a rewrite of the novel, and he announced that his stuffed animals had shot a potato gun and an avalanche had come down.

But how do you know that’s how the novel starts? I wanted to ask my then 2 1/2 year-old. I had not read it aloud. I had not even talked about it to anyone over the phone. It was old news to Husbot. So where did he get the idea?

Not that I don’t believe in ESP. But I also believe in more mundane explanations.

Tonight, I got a flash of understanding about Mbot’s superpowers.

We were driving home from Grandma’s after a very long day of zoo-going, playing with the new rubber snake, William (a nice snake), and the new wolf grabber toy, Edgar Hochenwaller (their uncle bought them, do not ask me where the names came from), and running after Charlotte, another uncle’s Boston terrier. I had acquiesced to requests to watch Max and Ruby which is on, unfortunately, at 7:30. 7:30 is traditionally bedtime. I knew better.

Past 7:30, Mbot gets upset at anything remotely upsetting, and many things not even remotely upsetting. Tonight, he was upset because Husbot put him in Gbot’s car seat. After the switch, he was upset because Gbot had a stuffie and he only had a plastic cat (William was long forgotten in Grandma’s backyard, and wouldn’t have done anyway, because William isn’t fluffy).There was lots of wailing regarding the plastic cat’s lack of fluffiness. So I did what usually helps me feel better when I’m feeling tired and whiny: I turned up the music. I was all classicalled out for the day, so I had on the beat music.

“Is this Lady Gaga?” Mbot asked, his quavering voice calmer than I’d heard it in twenty minutes.

“It is,” I replied.

“I love this song,” he said. “What’s a pokah face?”

I explained. I attempted to demonstrate to the backseat without endangering our lives. We were going forty-five between stop lights. We were going the long way home. Gbot was already asleep. It was my fervent hope that Mbot would be, too, by the time we pulled up to his bed.

“But I still don’t know what Lady Gaga looks like,” said Mbot.

“We’ll look at a picture on the internet tomorrow,” I promised. “She wears lots of crazy costumes, like superhero costumes.”

There was a thoughtful pause from the back seat.

“Does she wear a net over her face? I think she wears a net over her face.”

Step back. Now how in the name of all the Grammy winners in history did he know that?

Because that’s just what I was thinking at that very moment. That was the picture in my head: Lady Gaga with a black net over her face. Why? The split-second image flashed on screen last Sunday during the Grammy’s after Adele’s win. The announcer had pointed her out to us.

We’d been over at Grandma’s that night, too, for our traditional Sunday night dinner. The owners of the Charlotte the Boston terrier had turned on the Grammy’s. Everyone, including Charlotte, had plopped down in front of the TV. But the Bots were playing–they were horsing around with their uncles, they were patting Charlotte, they were struggling while their pajamas were applied, they were asking for juice and more crackers, neither of which they were given. We went home forty minutes into it.

But Mbot must have seen that image, and heard the name, and put the two together. And then remembered them.

So this is the key to my three year-old’s ESP: Although he appears deaf when I am asking him to put on his socks, he’s taking in gigabytes more than I have given him credit for.

it is a good lesson for me and for all of us: Paying attention actually makes a person appear to have superpowers.

Are you paying close enough attention?

2 thoughts on “Help! My Three Year-Old Has ESP

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