We were at a restaurant recently when a group of little people came and sat at the table right next to us. Meg, having never seen little people before, was curious; and because she was curious, was staring. I could almost see the thought bubbles above her head. Were these kids? If so, where were their parents? And why were they acting like parents to some of the kids with them?
While I understood her curiosity, and I wanted to answer her questions, I also did NOT want to be the person with the ill mannered, staring child. So, I leaned over to her and very quietly said "Meggo, it's not polite to look at people when they may not want you looking at them. Do you understand?" She nodded, and I assumed I had handled the situation and could explain to her about little people later. I went back to my dinner and talking to others at the table. Then Ryan nudged me, and inclined his head towards Meg.
She was eating with her eyes closed.
If she happened to open them, say to figure out exactly where something was on her plate, she would clap her hands over her eyes if she happened to catch sight of the little people at the table next to us. Turns out that while I thought I said "please don't stare," Meg heard "don't look at them at all." As they were directly in her line of sight, the only thing to do was to close her eyes.
I should have known to pick my words more carefully, since every word that comes out of anyone's mouth right now is taken as the total, unabashed truth to Meg. The other day when her Dad told her to hold a baseball bat higher, meaning choke up on it, she instead waved it above her head like she was fighting off birds of prey. When Luke and his friends were screaming they were "taking over the ship" as they played on the jungle gym in my mom's backyard Meg became distraught because she assumed it meant she could never get to play there again.
And don't even get me started on how she doesn't get sarcasm.
I guess it was about the age of five when Luke stopped being so literal and started getting the "gist" of things. That means we have about two more years of having to explicitly explain everything.
After all, we don't want her going through life with her eyes closed.