Thanksgiving did, of course, pass us in a gravy drenched and meringue-topped blur last weekend. Following tradition, we spent the majority of it out at “The Farm,” a place that Ger’s family owns out in the wild lands prowled by savage beasts and slightly less savage hillbillies. And like the rest of us, Sam has grown to love The Farm, both for its wild charms and for the chance to visit with the rest of her family.
Sam was actually pretty sociable throughout the entire gathering, though I was constantly left wondering where she learned that the appropriate way to greet someone was to get two inches from his face and say “Hi! Hi!” for like five minutes straight. I’m pretty sure I didn’t teach her that. But still, she had fun going for walks in the woods, climbing things, and sleeping. On Thanksgiving day proper, she also managed to stuff herself silly like the rest of us, belch, and then demand to be put to bed early.
Sam’s mental and verbal abilities continue to climb to new heights, though I’m still pretty sure I could take her in a fair debate if I had time to prepare. One new thing that I’ve noticed is that she’s starting to take pieces of information and put them together to make inferences or conclusions. She often, however, does this very poorly as of yet. For instance, we had this exchange with her when she picked up a rock outside:
“Sammy, don’t pick up rocks off the ground and then put your thumb in your mouth,” I said as she did just that. “That’s dirty. And leave the rocks outside where they belong, please.”
Sam pauses here to consider my words for a moment before responding with “I can only suck my thumb OUTSIDE.” She beams as if she totally stuck the landing on this bit of logical gymnastics.
“Um, noooo. That’s not really what I meant.” But by this time she trying to fit the actual rock in her mouth and the thumb doesn’t seem that bad after all.
Sam has been much better, however, at tackling longer conversations and explaining series of events. I came in on her the other day to find her with an old game from her grandparents’ bookshelf. The contraption consisted of several concentric rings placed so that each ring was lower than its exterior neighbor, forming a kind of shallow funnel. Each ring could spin around the center of the board and had several slots into which you could place marbles. The object of the game seemed to be to rotate the rings so that gravity pulled your marbles down the slots when two of them were properly aligned. Doing this, the marbles would eventually drop into a well at the center of the board with a satisfying clunk. I know all this because Sam basically explained each step in surprisingly effective terms.
The funny thing is, though, that Sam quickly either got stumped by the game or came to the end of her patience. So she’d just pick the marbles up and drop them directly into the well at the center of the board. When confronted about this, she proved coy and difficult to pin down.
“Hey!” I said. “You’re cheating!”
“Mmmmm, maybe I’m not cheating,” she said, still not looking up at me.
“You just picked that red marble up and dropped it in the hole, Sam. I think that’s cheating.”
“I think it’s not.” She looked up at me with an furrowed brow. “Maybe you’re cheating.”
I probably shouldn’t have let her watch all those political ads during the last election.