Friday, July 20, 2012

Concept of mind

Magical lied to me this week. 

On our weekly reading date he told me that his dad said I couldn't bring my baby to see him anymore (this week Baby L was safety playing with her grandmother and not terrorizing Magical). His mom shook her head over his and said, "he's making that up", obviously embarrassed that her son would tell such a story. Personally, I was thrilled.

Telling stories, or lying isn't something many of the kids in last year's class did. Well, some of them did, but for others the concept was beyond them. The concept that you are able to know something and someone else doesn't know it is a level of thinking that some of my children hadn't developed yet, although their typically developing peers had. For the most part it made getting to the bottom of classroom squabbles easy- I just turned and asked someone who wouldn't even think of lying because they didn't know that they could lie. Rock Star was always a go-to in a case like this. She'd help me get to the bottom of it as long as she felt like talking that day. Magical was another, although he always began with the truth and then veered off into discussing his robot. (That pesky robot still did not follow the rules that robots are not allowed in school...)

I'd often forget that Rock Star did not have a concept of mind yet until we would read Goldilocks, one of her favorite stories. When the bears come home and question why their house is a disaster Rock Star loses it. "Goldilocks!" she would squeal, with obvious frustration at the bears. She knows it was that sneaky Goldilocks, why don't they? She got particularly frustrated when we read a version of the book where the bears decide it must be aliens or monsters before they find out the truth. She absolutely could not stand that they would think something that wasn't true. 

We did puppet shows with the story but unless Rock Star was Goldilocks she could not make it through the final scene when the bears come home. If she was playing the part of a bear she'd immediately skip to the bedroom scene and yell "Goldilocks!" not giving anyone the chance to say "Whose been eating my porridge?", or even "Whose been sleeping in my bed!"  Sometimes even when she was Goldilocks she'd yell "Goldilocks!" and have her puppet pop out of bed and run away the minute the bears came home. She knew the answer was there, so why go on pretending? 

Magical has always been able to make up stories, but the actual concept of deceit was not something I'd ever seen him practice. It's not that I want to be lied to, or that I want to encourage the practice. But I couldn't help inwardly celebrate that Magical had found this new skill. It is a sign of growth and development. Now we just have to make sure he uses it for good...  

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