We all know that we’re supposed to watch what we say in front of young children. As a child, I’ll admit that I did have a tendency (and yes, I still do at times) to repeat phrases and dialogue that I found particularly amusing, and not always at the most appropriate circumstances. Now that I have kids of my own, I really do try to watch how much ‘inspiration’ I give them for such behavior.
The Monster goes a step beyond that, though. We first noticed his ability to retain things he’d heard when we were playing Rock Band regularly, and he picked up the chorus to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ a little bit more quickly than we’d expected. (As a side note – a small child belting out a slightly muddled version of that song’s chorus? Absolutely precious.) It’s gotten worse with age, though, because he has a mind for jingles.
The Monster has full-blown delayed echolalia, a condition where a child will repeat the vocalizations they hear others make, but not in close time-proximity to when he’s heard the vocalization. He occasionally presents immediate echolalia as well, but usually that is in response to direct questioning, and can usually be taken to be an affirmative response with him. We’re trying to work on that part, at least to get him to respond with a ‘yes’ rather than repetition of the question. But more often than not, it’s the delayed form that we see in our daily lives.
If only there was a rhyme or reason to what got stuck in his head. A few days ago, when I was getting him ready to go out swimming with his mother, he stood by his changing table, waiting to get picked up on it. Since he’s fully capable of climbing it himself, and I was ill, I sighed at him and reprimanded him with a, “You know the drill, [Monster].”
That evening, he was parading around the house with a new mantra. “You know the drill. You know the drill.” The wife was… amused.
It’s not always inappropriate when he repeats what he’s heard – he’s learned to reprimand the cats when they’re on the furniture (“Sammy! Get down!”) or to announce when someone he knows has arrived (“Who’s there? It’s Abba!”). But a lot of the time, it’s just something that’s stuck in his head, like this morning’s chorus of “What’s the matter, kitten?” (said a few nights ago while both cats were hiding under the same piece of furniture).
The echolalia definitely makes me watch what I say around him, which is probably a good thing – he’s only once repeated a profanity that one of us spat out, and that lost attraction for him fairly quickly. Now, if I could teach him to repeat something useful…