The great circle of life as CJ sees it

The other day we took CJ to a house with a friendly, but barking, golden retriever. CJ was a little intimidated, and at one point really scared when the dog took a run at him.

Later we had this conversation:

Me: CJ, were you a little scared of the dog?

CJ: I was scared but Daddy was not scared.

Me: Maybe when you’re a little older you won’t be scared.

CJ: When I am a little older and Daddy is a baby we will go in the house with the dog and I will not be scared but Daddy will be scared!

Update:  Toby asks in comments whether it’s common for children to have this misperception.  Fortunately, the indispensable I Used To Believe, the online repository of weird childhood beliefs, is here to help.  We quickly find:

  • “I used to belive as i got older my parents would get younger and i would have to take care of them as babies until there body couldn’t age as fast then they would die”
  • “I used to believe that when I got to a certain age, my older brother would ‘turn small’ and I would be able to be the older sibling. I believed that this cycle would last forever.”
  • “i used to believe that my brother and I were going to switch places with my parents – that as we got bigger, they would get smaller. I was under 5, because my other brother had not been born yet – and it seemed to make sense.”
  • “When I was about 3 or 4 years old, I believed that, just as little kids were in the process of growing bigger and older, adults were in the process of growing younger and littler. So I thought that my parents would one day be little children again.”

And that’s just from the first 5 pages out of 27 on the topic of “growing older.”  Much more common, apparently, is the belief that you switch genders as you age – CJ has expressed some thoughts along these lines, too, now that I think about it.

6 thoughts on “The great circle of life as CJ sees it

  1. Toby says:

    I wonder if this is a common thing with kids, or with mathematician’s kids? Matt had a similar story, I think, the details of which I don’t remember well enough to record here.

  2. Em says:

    One of my children is obsessed with turning me into a baby and growing up and turning into me. Sometimes she wants to move time backwards and become a baby again herself.

    The other one never said anything of the kind so I can’t speak to how common it is, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were common.

  3. Daniel says:

    Maybe kids just have a keener innate sense of time-reversal symmetry?

  4. Steve says:

    There was a widely-publicized literary novel by a Washington, DC-based writer a few years back in which the protagonist is growing gradually younger, and will at some point become a toddler…

    Some people do, in fact, switch genders when they grow up. What other Weird Childhood Beliefs are (suitably qualified) true?

  5. JSE says:

    They switch sexes, but do they switch genders? Only by referring to them in French can we truly be sure…

    That novel is excellent, and the author is Andrew Sean Greer — I knew him back in Potomac when we were 11, didn’t you?

  6. Adam says:

    I knew him as Andy Greer once upon a time. I liked the novel but kept thinking of Mork and Mindy while reading it.

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