Yesterday I shared with Mary a story about Maggie and how much she understands. She's not quite eighteen months old and doesn't say a word yet, but she can understand complex directions.
It happened when I was in Maggie's room and had just finished changing her diaper. I looked around for her socks and realized that she had taken them off earlier when we were downstairs in the playroom. I told her that I needed her to go get her socks and a pair of shoes so that we could put them on her and then go for a car ride to pick her sister up from school. With that she ran off and returned a minute later with both socks and a pair of her shoes. She dropped them in front of me and then turned and headed to the closet to get her coat. I thought that was pretty impressive and told Mary as much.
Upon hearing this Mary made a quip about how smart all our kids were and that she had heard about a recent study that explained that kids get their intelligence from their mother. I don't think she really believes this. I think it's more along the lines of saying to your spouse that "your son/daughter/dog/cat did something gross/not smart/not to my liking" when they've done something gross/not smart or not to their liking. The flipside is that this same spouse is also likely to claim that "my son/daughter/dog/cat/fish did something brilliant or fantastic" when they've done something they want to brag about. That she used a "recent study" to back up her claim doesn't really convince me. I'm more convinced that they do get their intelligence from her when I pick up the girls from school and hear their conversations with each other from my spot in the front seat. To wit, here's the car ride conversation Mary's daughters held yesterday:
"I don't know Grace. What?"
"Hey Hannah, guess what?"
"Hey Grace, guess what?"
And on and on this went until they started changing it little by little:
"Hey Daddy, guess why?"
"I don't know. Why?" I said playing along.
"Hey Daddy, guess what?"
"What?" I asked hoping it was a different answer than the previous times.
"Okay." I said. This is funny. I get it. But..."
"You just said butt!" They said in unison.
"I didn't mean your gluteus maximus." I said.
"Did you mean my gluteus minimus?' asked Hannah giggling.
And then the conversation, if you could call it that, degraded even further:
"Hey Daddy, guess what?" asked Grace.
"I give up. What?" I replied.
"I have a chicken in my butt!"
I have a feeling that when she reads this Mary is going to say "You need to teach your children not to say 'butt' in public."