Posts Tagged ‘The Girl’

Where’s The Boy?

May 27, 2008

The Boy was a bit precocious in his language skills. He started talking at 8 months and seemed to keep a steady conversation going. When he was 3 years old, he used the word ‘dilapidated’ in a sentence…correctly. It was that moment I knew I was going to have trouble keeping up with this one.

The Girl followed 2 years later and I expected the same thing from her. Besides being unfair, I was also wrong. She didn’t talk until she was about 14 months old. She only spoke when absolutely necessary and then with a great economy of words. Instead of talking, she seemed to hang on every word spoken by The Boy.

There was a transition event which changed all that.

When The Boy was 5 and The Girl 3, a trip was planned to visit a so-so great aunt who had a house on a river. On the trip there, The Boy kept up a non-stop discussion of all the things he was going to do when he got there. The Girl, in consistent fashion, listened attentively.

And it was a great trip, with both kids running, exploring, and playing to their hearts content. Mid-afternoon, The Girl collapsed for an afternoon nap, but The Boy continued to run amuck.

On the trip home, as night fell, the seemingly endless energy of The Boy was finally depleted. The Girl, perched high in her car seat and refreshed by a nap, looked out the window. In the darkness of the back seat, The Boy slumped over in his car booster seat in exhaustion and fell asleep. Without him talking, the silence was surreal.

And in the midst of that silence, The Girl found her voice. She started talking about her day, continuing for 5 minutes using words and phrases I never thought she knew. Finally, she took a breath and, intently looking left and right, inquired:

“Where’s The Boy?”

With him slumped down in the seat and the darkness now complete, she couldn’t see him. I told her that The Boy was asleep next to her and she found his shadowed form in the dark. So she continued her monologue on the day’s adventures. Another 5 minutes of near endless talk, a quick look left and right, and the question again:

“Where’s The Boy?”

Now quite bemused, I again assured her The Boy was sleeping in the back seat with her. She found him and, satisfied we didn’t leave him back on the river, picked up her discussion and talked quite a bit longer. And, yes, there was at least one more

“Where’s The Boy?”

I was just too amazed that this previously quiet, reserved child could carry on such a rich and long discourse. Made for a great smile for me.

Post Script: Not unremarkably, today it is The Girl who does most of the talking while The Boy has become the quiet one. Oh, he’ll still talk, but now he’s the one exercising economy of words.