As my boys and I were driving home from dropping Jade off at school, Calder says, “A candy store! Look mom, its the sucker store!” I looked to see where he was pointing. It didn’t take me long to realize he thought the bank was the sucker store.
“Oh. No, Calder, that’s the bank. It’s where we keep our money.”
“Bunny?!” He exclaimed.
“Noooo. No. Money. Like dollar bills. Do you know what a dollar bill is?”
“Buildings?!” Everest chimed in (“bill is” to “buildings” — sort of a stretch, I know). “I looove buildings! I wish I had a…I wish I was…a…I wish I had a construction hat!” Calder nodded and giggled in agreement and they spent the rest of the drive home singing songs about building things.
I can’t stop laughing as I share this. Of course he thought the place where we drive up to a window, stop and wait, and are given a sucker, was the “sucker store”. Recently we went through a drive-through pharmacy and the kids chorused, “Suckers!” Apparently drive-through=sucker.
Being the overanalyzer that I am, when I got home I started thinking about how this early childhood development theory, sometimes called schema, applies to life as an adult. Don’t we all organize and interpret information into a conception based on our reality? And isn’t it really difficult, and sometimes frustrating, when people have beliefs or fears that we can’t comprehend?
Calder also has a lot of fears (the dark, monsters, ghosts…digital clocks…the usual). We’re really careful to sensor the things that he takes in from the media but you just never know how things are being processed. And explaining to Calder that the clock isn’t scary when his hysterical “the car is counting down! It’s gonna explode!” clearly says otherwise, doesn’t cut it. Since digital clocks are everywhere, sometimes this can be infuriating.
But all I can do for him is assure him that things are going to be okay and be patient while he figures things out for himself. Sometimes we have to tape a piece of paper over the clock numbers which isn’t so hard. And sometimes, at the bank, they’ll give us an extra sucker just for me.