We went to dinner last week. During the course of the evening, I felt the urge to relieve myself. Shortly before I excused myself from the table, I noted a mother and two young sons heading for the restroom. I gave them a moment and then left the table.
As I neared the restroom, I saw the mother standing outside the door. Then her older son came out and whispered something in her ear, he looked to be about eight. As I turned to enter the restroom I heard her tell him, "...Well, of course your tummy is going to hurt when you eat like that..." I enjoyed a silent chuckle and went about my business, noting, as I did, her youngest son finishing up, he looked like he might be five. He began to wash his hands.
I finished and went to the sink, only to see the youngest rush to the door and through the partially opened door, loudly whisper to his mom, "Mom! There's a problem!"
"What is it, hon?"
"Mom, come here!"
"What is it?"
"Mom, just come in here!"
"I can't. Can't you just tell me what the problem is?"
"MOM! I can't say, just come in here, it's OK!"
I had washed my hands by now and went to dry my hands, noticing that it was the type that has a sensor that you wave your hand in front of and it gives you a paper towel. The little motor whirred and spit out paper towel and I dried my hands.
The kid stopped in the middle of asking his mother to come in and looked at me.
Then he looked at my hands.
Then he turned back to his mom and said with finality, "Never mind." He let the door shut.
I had, by now, grasp his dilemma. I said, "Here, I'll show you." So I demonstrated how you wave your hand in front of the sensor and had him try it. Seeing him working it, I departed.
I whispered to his mother on the way out, "It's an infrared paper towel dispenser. I showed him how to use it"
She didn't say anything, except, "Thank you," but I could see the realization dawning in her expression of what had made her youngest so perplexed and troubled.
I love watching kids figure things out.