Miss Literal.  That’s what we call my daughter sometimes.  To her credit, she has learned to ask, ‘Is that an expression?’ when we say something she finds confusing.

Back when she had speech therapy, pronouns were a problem. ‘Carry you me?’ she would often ask. You me.  She wasn’t sure to whom the pronouns referred. So, for a while we eliminated pronouns. We used the names instead. When you say, ‘Do you want mommy to carry (Daughter’s name)?’ there is no room for confusion. She could tell who was carrying and who was being carried.  After a time she began to understand the pronoun thing.

There were other word issues though.

When she said she wanted to eat a hammer – we could discern that she meant a hamburger, for instance.  That kind of word confusion was easy. If you couldn’t guess what she was referring to, you asked questions. Lots of questions. What color is it? Who was there with you? When was this, was it yesterday or yesterday, a long time ago? (To my daughter all past is yesterday – I will be posting more about her lack of a concept of time.)  What did we do there?  Was it fun? Is it something you eat?  Do you like it? You get the idea.  With enough answers you can figure out what someone wants – and as she grew older this kind of word confusion grew to be less of a problem – unless she is very, very tired.

Opposites were a problem.  If pepper makes things hot, then salt must make them cold.  It took a long time and eating a lot of salty food to convince her this was NOT true.  When my daughter gets an idea stuck in her mind – there is no changing it.

When I said to her “Don’t do that, your dad will have a cow,” she calmly informed me, “Dad doesn’t have any cows.”  You don’t realize how many idioms, how many weird expressions you use, until you try not to use them at all.

I have a sarcastic sense of humor. I love puns and clever jokes. So does my son – he gets that from me;  our senses of humor are very similar. And when my daughter asks “Why is that funny?” one of us explains it to her. It makes me very sad that she doesn’t know.

Often she looks at us to see if she should be laughing…and just laughs along with us.

I don’t want you to think she doesn’t have a sense of humor – she certainly does.  She can be intentionally funny, and every once in a while, she surprises us with a joke that is hilarious – and we laugh  because it is funny, and smile because we know she understands why.




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