Of Firetrucks and Fakers
Our son Judah is all boy. His favorite book describes types of tractors and the different sounds they make. That’s right, there are different types of tractors. That’s what they don’t teach you on your way to earning 4 college and graduate degrees.
And he continues to gravitate to the firetruck that makes siren sounds. It’s so clear to me that his choices are purely nature because I’ve been pushing the Good Night Elmo doll my aunts sent him literally for months now with little to no success.
I say little because one time I did observe Judah hold Elmo to his shoulder, pat his back, and move his tiny torso back and forth as if he’s was trying to rock Goodnight Elmo to sleep. But then he took Elmo and threw the doll in the kitchen garbage.
I should mention here that Judah has a very distinct throw (maybe common for all babies?). He throws the object as if to say, “I am very intentionally making a statement by throwing this food/doll/book/bottle on the floor/in the garbage/at your face. That’s right, let there be no ambiguity that this is physical commentary on what I think of that doll/meal/you.”
I do wonder if my deceptively sweet baby lays awake at bed at night with a crafty, diabolical smirk on his face, satisfied with how well he’s successfully manipulated us all. A few months ago I realized that when we were driving in the car and Judah perked up, pointed his finger out the window at yelled “ugg uggg!” it wasn’t because he was lost in a clueless baby world, he remembered and recognized the tractor from his book and was pointing at it parked or working on the side of the street!
Around the same time I clued into the fact that the reason Judah was stopping on the sky bridge in the same place every morning wasn’t because he was too dull-witted to understand that in order to get to school, we had to make our way across the bridge to the car.
Instead, he saw the firetrucks at the fire-station across the street! And the clever boy, at just over a year old, only stopped in that spot on days when the station’s garage was open to see the trucks.
Which, consequently, makes me wonder how much of what I say he’s pretending not to understand. The boy can remember and recognize a tractor while calling out the sound it makes from the obstructed, sunken view of a car seat while driving at 40 mph, but he can’t communicate to me whether or not he has a poop in his diaper?
Or when I say, “Judah! Get away from the toilet!” And he promptly licks the inside lip. (Try. to. recover. from. that.)
His feigned ignorance is the same as my maternal grandmother’s, who would pretend she couldn’t hear you whenever you tried to question her about something she didn’t like or comment on what she was doing.
She’d just go about her business or provide you with some nonsensical answer whenever she didn’t feel like responding:
“Grandma did you put lard in these Matzo balls?”
“Grandma, how old is that sponge?”
“Grandma, what’s that smell?”
“I’m just waiting for God to take me, dear.”
(Side note: she lived 15 more years after she started using that phrase.)
Here’s our favorite picture of the little faker as of late: