Both boys seem to have taken after me and love to chat, chat, chat away. I love talking to them about the things that interest them and O especially is so curious about language, the differences between Swedish and English and what words mean.
On the bus, he repeats the names of the coming bus stop after they are announced. And this caused a bit of a problem this week.
We were sitting near to two slightly older boys (aged maybe 8) with the mother of one of them, sitting alongside looking on her phone.
Every time that O said anything, they copied it in loud baby voices and laughed.
I looked over at them.
O said something else.
They laughed again.
I looked over again and glared at them. They carried on mimicking him.
I tried to concentrate on what he was saying to me. I spotted his best friend from preschool out of the window and pointed him out to O. We tried to wave to him.
The boys carried on mimicking O and laughing.
The mother carried on looking at her phone.
I looked over again and glared again.
The mimicking continued.
The mother lent forward and said something to one of them.
They carried on mimicking O and laughing.
We pressed the button for our stop.
O said the name of it. He loves that the bus stop has the same name as our address.
They mimicked him again.
I really wanted to say something to them or to the mother but I didn’t want to draw O’s attention to it. He really takes in what I say about “rules” these days – just 10 minutes earlier he had pointed out a car that was parked across the bicycle lane and told me that was wrong (something I have said before). He wasn’t really aware of the mimicking and I didn’t want him to know about and feel bad.
He is not even five yet. He is still innocent about how people can treat each other. I want him to keep that childhood innocence for as long as possible. He doesn’t need to know the cruel things that we humans can say to each other yet.
I love that his capacity for learning new things and his curiosity about language. I don’t want that to be dampened by what other children say, by feeling that he is different because he speaks two languages, because his parents come from different places. I want him to embrace the differences in our cultures and that he can communicate easily in both Swedish and English. I want him to know that these differences only make him stronger.
In just over a year he’ll be going to school. I am sure that he’ll learn all too quickly just how cruel people can be to one another, the hurtful things that we can say.
But for now, I just want to keep hold of my innocent little boy.
(Image at the top by Victor Jori, via Creative Market)