Lately Elli has picked up a new and very troubling habit. In lieu of speech she simply points at something and expects us to figure everything else out on our own. For example this morning she was utterly refusing to get out of bed and throwing a tantrum. I tried very hard to pry out of her what was wrong and after five minutes of wrangling she finally pointed into the living room. This was not especially useful as I couldn't fathom what the living room had to do with her mood. After another minute she said 'sofa'. Again I was flummoxed and asked her repeatedly to use words because I could not interpret pointing at the sofa. Finally she said 'Hobo' and a light went on - she was angry that Hobo was no longer sleeping on our sofa and had headed back home in the far East. Her friend had abandoned her!
If it were only a one off incident I would just drink half a bottle of Jack Daniels and go on with my day but it has become a constant occurrence. Oftentimes she isn't even willing to point with her hands but will gesture vaguely with her feet and become enraged when waggling her foot around randomly doesn't lead us to understand her problem exactly. She is clearly falling prey to the fallacy that if somebody cares about you they must be able to determine exactly what is angering you and therefore people who don't instantly divine your problems must hate you. In a child this is an incredibly frustrating problem but what really concerns me is that it might continue on into adulthood. The assumption that anyone who really cares should just *know* what you are thinking is not just wrong but incredibly destructive. I learned that lesson in a relationship a long time ago and I do not want that sort of misery for her.
Unfortunately I don't know if this is the sort of thing that can be taught. Parents have a lot less influence than they think they do it turns out and even if I had a lot of influence I don't know that I could usefully impart the lesson that assuming that people around you are selective mind readers is an incredibly stupid thing to do. (Clearly parents can influence their kids destructively but given that you aren't going to be neglecting or abusing them you can't actually do all that much, it turns out.) I guess that is one of the harder parts of being a parent - not just watching kids make mistakes but worrying that they are going to make precisely the same mistakes you did and knowing that there is nothing you can do to prevent that sorrow.