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How soon they grow up

It started with three little words: "Oh, my gosh." There are plenty of exclamations Julie and I use (and mostly try not to use around Charlie), but that's not one of them. When he started talking about caps and peddlers, we could not deny the awful truth: his daycare has books we don't have at home, and his teachers read them to him.

Then he started asking us to help him do somersaults. What will they teach him next?

We try to get him to open up to us about his life, just like they tell parents in those public service announcements, but he's already mastered the art of inscrutability.

"What did you do at daycare today, Charlie?"
"Did you go outside?"
"What books did you read?"
"Charlie had a poopy diaper."
"Did you read a book about caps?"
"Charlie had a diaper change. Charlie has a fresh diaper. Sprayed the diaper table wiffa sprrrrray bottle."

OK, I guess that counts as telling us at least a little bit about his day. But it's not enough. I want to know who his friends are, whether he's hanging out with the wrong element in the nap room, what dastardly schemes he and his wee pals are hatching. ("Look your parents in the eye and smile when you kick hell out of the table leg at dinner," they tell each other — Charlie could never have  thought of that on his own, could he?)

Of course if he really is as fast-talking as the pediatrician seems to think, maybe he'll be the one that other parents worry about their kids associating with. He'll have a little 3-foot-high posse, all trailing identical stuffed Ernie dolls and all exuding a whiffy atmosphere of menace as they politely tell their parents, "Dad will get out of Charlie's rocking chair now."