Li'l D is six. OK ... six and a half. He and I were playing with his marble game, one of those (very high quality and therefore pretty expensive) marble run sets where you set up lots of tall sculptures with tracks and holes and whirligigs and such, and then drop lots of marbles down the chute and watch them go. It was fun. He had built a large one on his own in the basement, and then I came over and for an hour he and I made bunches of improvements, many of which necessitated some very intricate and precise movements as we shifted pieces around, carefully working together so as to not wreck the entire thing by making it plummet to earth. After we were done with the bulk of the rebuild, and after 5-10 minutes of him dumping hundreds upon hundreds of marbles down the chute (which is pretty loud---try dropping hundreds of glass marbles onto a piece of 3/4" thick plywood and see how long you last ...), I was studying the few pieces we had left and realized that we could indeed use them all with two more minor mods. So I stopped the cacophony of marbles and said to him, "If we move this one over here and then shift these pieces to there and then place those on top of this and then ..." It was then that he said, very plainly and simply:
"Daddy, I don't get what you are saying."Very subtle, but for a six year old, I think this is absolutely amazing. He literally stopped me in my tracks. I sat there for a few seconds collecting myself. I then told him that that was an incredibly grown-up thing he did. Rather than just sit there and hear what I was saying and pretend to understand, he really wanted to fully follow what I was saying, know the details of the plan and be part of it. He had to admit to himself (though this wasn't a conscious decision) that he didn't understand what I was saying and that he'd have to tell me so. I was incredibly proud of him. And I told him so several times afterward. I also continued explaining my plan, but in a much slower and simpler manner.