I took Little Man to his swimming lesson yesterday. Thankfully he got in the pool this week - last week I had to sit on the very edge of the water getting soaked as I encouraged him in.
This week, whilst readying him in the changing room, he spotted something and let me know.
"Daddy, you've got a mark on your trousers," he said, putting his finger on it so I knew where. "It's black."
I could feel the mark a little so I scratched at it and asked: "Can you still see it?"
"Yes I can," he said, "it's not gone away."
I hate having to ask him to use his eyes for me. I don't do it very often unless it's basic kid job stuff like "Find the remote control for Daddy" if I can't find it - something I figure most parents do as they slump on the sofa after a hard day.
Having kids can certainly be a boost to your access requirements ... though many out there are probably reading this, vomiting at how I must be stealing his childhood away or reaching for the phone to call social services. It just happens, OK? He'll randomly offer up information that I find useful. I can't stop him being a visual being and he just says stuff. And if someone told you that you had a dirty great mark on you, well, you don't ignore it do you.
I rarely ask him anything visual or get him to do things I find difficult but, when I do, my personal rule is that it never places responsibility on his head and there are no consequences if he gets it right or wrong or chooses to ignore me. "Go and hoover the carpet" is not something you'll hear from me ... I'd rather over-vacuum a room taking ages using strategy rather than sight before asking that of him. It takes me far longer as I have to assume everything's covered in dust and suck every square inch time and time again even if they don't need hoovering which really can't do my joints or RSI any good.
I strongly believe kids should have jobs and responsibility towards the household though ... it's good grounding for their future. Actually, mental note, I must get him to do more round the house now he's getting older.
Anyhoo, back to the black mark on the trousers yesterday.
"I tell you what, Little Man," I said, "when we get home I'm going to rub something on it and put it in the wash. It's some magic soap that will take away the ..." I was interrupted.
"Vanish," said my five year-old.
"Yes, that's right," I said slightly taken aback that he was already a step beyond magic soap.
"Which one will it be?" he asked. "The red one or the pink one or the blue one?" I had no idea there were varieties of it but had quickly cottoned on that he knew the brand name, and probably from an ad break on a children's channel.
It upsets me a bit that brands break through into his little world so I tested it a bit further to see how well it had stuck.
"So, we'll go home, we'll rub the magic soap on the mark and then it will ----" I left a space for him to say the brand name.
"Disappear!" he shouted joyfully.
This pleased me.
The little girl has been exploring new words this weekend. I'm pretty sure we can now say that, after "mumma" her first word is "shoe". Well it's been developing from "ought" to "shoosh" round to something more like the word we know and love.
After a family discussion about what kinds of new things they could invent to put on toast in the mornings, I think we can now say that the third bit of vocabulary she has learnt is "ham jam".