I'm an avid podcast listener - so much so that I've pretty much stopped listening to music while I drive. It's podcasts only. Most of them are things I'm interested in, and that includes a whole heaping lot of true crime. I have loads of favorites, and they all cover some pretty disturbing information. It is true crime, after all. But since Shep has started to speak a little more clearly, I've realized that he's picking up on things even if I'm not actively teaching him. Alas, I've had to stop listening to My Favorite Murder (and most of my other podcasts) when I have the kids in the car.
When I say that Shep is picking up on things when I'm not teaching him, I mean that he's learning basically everything. On the wall above our couch, there's a framed world map. One day last week, Shep stood up on the couch next to me, pointed at it, and said, "Map!" Whoa, buddy! I never bothered to teach him that! I can't even recall ever calling it a map by name.
That's not the only example. For some reason, Shep calls his sister "'Rora", as in "Aurora". Yes, that's her full name - and what we call her on a daily basis. We call her Rory - and Shep calls her Aurora. Where did he pick this up? Was it from their first introduction? I can't be sure. Maybe that's even scarier - I feel like I'm trying to reverse engineer where he has picked up on something new that surprises me.
Yesterday, Shep wanted to watch Spiderman, but he also wanted to watch cars. We've watched a lot of car videos on YouTube, and what's crazy is that he doesn't just know cars go "Vroom!" I taught him that. Here's what's crazy: he knows how a motor revs. Seriously, he even switches gears. "vrrrroooooooOOOOOMM! VROOOOOOOOOOOM! VROOOOOOOOOOM" So, to appease him, I found a video of a cartoon Spiderman driving and working on cars. At one point, he was even working on a car - tinkering underneath the body itself while it was jacked up. Has Shep ever seen someone work under a car before? I don't think so! But he instinctively knew that there was an element of danger at play. Until the video ended, Shep sat on high alert - "Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!"
Last week, we took a long car ride to my in-law's house. In the last fifteen minutes, Shep got restless and started shrieking. I scrambled to find something that could help soothe him while I was driving. Talking to him and asking about his day didn't help - singing wasn't working this time. Out of desperation, I asked him to practice his alphabet with me. Now, I have sung the alphabet song for him before - but he has never repeated after me or sung along. But this time? This time he repeated every single letter of the alphabet with astonishing clarity. I was floored! Where did he learn this? Was it Sesame Street? Why did he wait until now to show off his new brain power?
I don't know, and I probably never will. Above all, seeing him learn and pick up on basically everything he sees and hears has made me more thoughtful in my own entertainment choices. At least, that is, while I've got Shep with me. Once he's down for a nap? It's time to Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered!