January 13, 2003 - Monday
"Did we go to the carwash?" asked Harry on our way home from the carwash.
"Yes, we did," I answered with knee-jerk parental excitement at Harry's interest in our recent adventure and clearly worded question; that, I suppose, instead of "duh," which might have been an appropriate response to such an obvious question had it been asked by a person any older than Harry.
"And, did the machine squirt water at our car?"
"Yes, it did. It squirted water all over the car," again instead of "duh!"
"Yeah, it squirted water," Harry said with a chuckle, likely remembering his anxiety-tempered excitment as the water came around the car, first squirting Jeremy's window, then going around back, then coming up from behind and squirting his window.
I used to think that this sort of blatantly obvious question from Harry was a way for him to try out language, working out new words to describe just passed events and occurrences. But, that can't be the case with this little exchange. Harry knows these words too well by now for that. He regularly speaks in sentences, often carefully and even elegantly constructed ones. Perhaps he's testing phrasing. An appropriate rise at the end of each question seemed to denote true curiosity. But, clearly Harry's agile young memory needs no reminding of what occurred just five minutes earlier. He has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt many times by now.
So, why does he ask this type of otherwise dumb question? My new theory is that he's working on conversation, reliving a good time, as it were. Imagine it this way, in a couple more years the same exchange would probably sound more like...
"That carwash was really [insert appropriately trendy word for "cool," "neat," "phat," etc.], wasn't it, Dad?"
"Yeah, it was, wasn't it."
"I loved how the arm of that machine went all the way around the car, squirting all the windows. I think Jeremy liked it, too, though maybe he was a little nervous at first."
"Yeah, that's just like you used to be."