Wednesday, January 31, 2007

time for an elephant?


Here's a pic from earlier in the week, kids still in their jammies playing with a lego set.

When Jacob was just a little dude, before we started working with RDI and unlocked his inner communicator, there wasn't much he said that wasn't completely scripted. Mostly lines from Kipper (yes, WITH a British accent, don't think that didn't fool a few people!), Blues Clues, or Finding Nemo. What wasn't scripted was generally held to one or two word demands. Like "want cookie".

So imagine my surprise the day, while riding in the car on our way to the pre-K class we had recently begun with him, he suddenly out of the blue said, thoughtfully, "Mommy, time for an elephant?" I nearly drove off the road. I adjusted my mirror to look in his face, and said "What?! Jacob, what did you say?" Calmly he repeated "Time for an elephant?" I slowly pulled the car off the road so I could turn around completely in my seat. He was absently kicking a foot, playing with a snap on his jacket. "What was that again?" I asked one more time. He met my eyes and said, again, "Time for an elephant?" I'd heard him right, but I had NO idea what it meant, what my expected response was, where this bizarre question had come from. I muttered "I don't know what that means" as I turned around and went back to driving.

The next day, in the same exact location, his voice piped up from the back seat. "Mommy, time for an elephant?" The effect was equally flooring to me. As I sat there silently contemplating this as I drove, he repeated "Time for an elephant?" Realizing he was waiting for a response, I said "I don't know what that means." He seemed satisfied with that answer.

It happened again, the following day, and every day after that, on our way to school, in that same exact spot. It happened when he was with The Map Man at that same spot. We kept responding with "I don't know what that means", said with a bit of an exaggerated voice which had started eliciting giggles from him. He started giggling before he even said it, knowing that it now was a big joke. Sometimes we added another question "Jacob, time for a tiger?" to which he'd giggle and respond "I don't know what that means." He also started varying it -- it always started with the Elephant, but sometimes the 2nd time around he'd say "Mommy, time for a Monkey?" to which I'd respond "Honey, it's ALWAYS time for a monkey." This went on for the better part of a year. Once we started RDI, The Map Man and I dreamed of the day that Jacob's communication skills would be advanced enough to be able to ask what it meant -- and why in that particular location?

The elephant has since been long forgotten, but we drove past the location the other day, jogging my memory about it. I looked in the rear-view mirror and said "Jacob?" "Yeah?" he responded. "Time for an elephant?" I asked, with the same inquisitive tone he'd used. His eyebrows went up, and he laughed and said "WHAT??" like I'd flipped my lid. I repeated the question. He laughed a nervous my-mom-has-completely-lost-it-and-I'm-trapped-in-the-car-with-her kind of laugh and said, sincerely, "I don't know what that means."

Nor will we ever, apparently.

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