Daniel’s Literal Interpretations

Sometimes Daniel’s literalism can result in some funny situations.

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Just the other day, Anna puckered her lips and told Daniel, “Give me a smack.”

The minute I heard it, I knew exactly what was going to happen. And sure enough, he got a quizzical look on his face, then lifted his hand in the air…

Fortunately, Anna also realized what she had said and caught his hand in time. She laughed and told him, “No, I meant give me a kiss.”

Daniel responded, “Well why don’t you just say what you mean?”

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Every week Daniel has homework. One week the homework was to create a coin. I read the instructions to Daniel exactly as written: “Create a coin and put your face on it.”

So Daniel drew a circle on the paper, then laid his face in the middle of the circle and said, “I don’t know how this is going to work.”

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One day Daniel had a caterpillar on his t-shirt. We all got in the van to go somewhere, and he didn’t want to leave the caterpillar behind. Because it was nice, we rolled our window down. Melina told Daniel, “Roll up your window. The caterpillar is going to fly out.”

“No it’s not!” Daniel said. “It doesn’t have wings!”

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Last Christmas, Anna sang part of Mariah Carey’s Christmas song to Daniel, “All I want for Christmas . . . is you!”

Daniel gave her his quizzical look and said after a few seconds, “So . . . you want a Daniel statue?”

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Needless to say, he also tends to take teasing literally and seriously. The good news is that more and more he’s starting to ask me, “Are you joking?” And just the other day I made some ridiculous claim as a joke, and my daughter said, “You’re lying,” but Daniel defended me and said, “No, sometimes daddy’s joking.” So it seems my relentless challenging of his literalism is starting to work. It will take a while, but metaphors, figures of speech, and jokes will eventually make sense to him. And if he’s like me, he’ll come to find them pretty fascinating.

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