Sam will occasionally get very fixated on families. Who’s in our family, how they’re related to Sam, and how they’re related to each other. Earlier this week he was talking about different things and then started listing people, “Mommy, and Daddy, and Sam, and Daniel, and Tay-Tay, and Ry-Ry, and Skylar” (Taylor, Ryan and Skylar are my sister and her husband and son), then he said “That’s it! That’s our whole family!” Now if you know us very well you know that is by no means the end of our extended family. Eric is the youngest of 9 kids and I’m the oldest of 5. So I started asking Sam, “What about Grannie, is she in our family?” and he responded with an enthusiastic “Yeah!”, so I continued, “And Grandpa?”, which elicited another enthusiastic “Yeah!” I continued to list both sets of grandparents, all of his aunts, uncles and cousins and followed up by listing some of *my* grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins before we tired of this exercise.
There were two things that really impressed me. With nearly 40 cousins and 22 aunts and uncles there are of course a few duplicate names. As I went through the list whenever I got to a name that I’d already mentioned he caught it and would say “There are TWO Emilys?” or “There are TWO Aunt Ashleys?” I hadn’t even realized that he was keeping such close track of all the names that we’d said, let alone to remember them and notice the duplicates! Then as we were going through my dad’s siblings’ families I decided to throw him a curveball. Without asking the question any differently, changing tone, or skipping a beat I asked him if Tango (my uncle’s dog) was part of our family. This was well through the recitation of names and I figured he was just saying “Yeah!” to whatever names I gave him. He paused and said, “No, Tango isn’t in our family. Tango’s in a dog family!” While my Uncle Paul might not agree with Sam’s assessment that Tango isn’t part of the family, I was impressed that Sam could pick out that one name and identify it as not a person.
I’m amazed every day with how bright this kid is and the capacity that he has for knowledge. He really is just like a sponge!