In the bizzarro world of motherhood, you get a few little gems like this. In my household, those adorable nonsensical statements are incredibly fleeting. Pumpkin lost most of the funny pronunciations at 2 1/2 — some even earlier. I’ll never forget the day that “crocodigo” went buh-bye. This was Pumpkin’s version of “crocodile” for a while and hubby and I thought it was so cute. He was 23 months old the day that hubby said we were going to the zoo to see the hippos, giraffes and “crocodigos” when Pumpkin responded, “It’s crocodile, Daddy. Say it with me: ‘crock – oh – die — uhl”.
So today my three-year-old told me has ants in him. I looked at him confused because this gifted kid would normally not make a mistake like this. “Ants?” I asked. He’s been really sick since the middle of last night. I figured that was it.
“You know, virus bugs. But I don’t know which. I think they’re walking in a long line like ants.”
After I failed at not laughing at the poor sickly toddler, I thought about how oddly my kids see the world compared to how I see it. When I was little, I never much thought about what made me sick, only that I was miserable. Ducky must categorize his bugs.
Later, when I gave Ducky some honey and cinnamon (it does work for most things, folks) Pumpkin explained how it is that a virus must run through everyone to die. “We’ll probably all have to be infected before it completely gives up.” Kind of a morbid thought. “Mommy will get it more than once since she takes care of everybody. But nobody takes care of her.” Whether that’s true or not, I’m uncertain. Science is not my forte. However, it was nice to know that he actually does notice that I take care of everyone and that it is usually a thankless job.
So then Ducky wanted to know if we fed the ants outside cinnamon and honey. Honey, yes. Cinnamon has too strong of a scent. I put borax in the honey. “Borax is poisonous to us, too,” Ducky said. Yep. Though in truth you’d have to eat the whole box to die from it. I still take no chances where the kids are concerned. “So if I ate a whole bunch of cinnamon, would I die like the virus ants?”
Uhhhh. And here lies the true conundrum of parenting gifted kids. They ask questions that you’d never dream of with a normal kid. And the information — parents know that some information is too much for a little kid. We eat lots of things that, in huge quantities, would be terribly toxic: garlic, cinnamon, salt, sugar. Truth is too much water can even kill you. And usually a small child can’t understand those subtleties. To them there is black and white. Good and bad. The in-between comes later. But a gifted kid can go either way depending on the subject. Pumpkin refused to eat strawberries for a while between the ages of 4 and 5 because I told him those little things on the outside were seeds and he’d helped me plant a garden. He became convinced that he’d have strawberry plants grow in his tummy. At the same time he already understood that there were precious metals in our bodies in teeny tiny quantities. He could even tell me what minerals we had in our bodies in a big long list.
So I settled for telling Ducky that many things are bad if we have too much. Even too much play time can be bad, especially if we don’t stop to take care of our needs, like eating and sleeping.
To my surprise, as he slurped down his cinnamon honey he said, “Take that virus ants. My mommy knows just how to fix you.”
I had no response to that.