Widget2 has learned the power of “me”. I discovered this the other day when I was holding a piece of pizza and he reached toward me and said that terrible, terrible word. I instantly decoded his baby language. Translation: “I want pizza. Hand it over and nobody gets hurt.” I’m pretty sure he learned the word from the millions of times Mom and Dad have chased him around the apartment saying “give me that toy,” “give me the TV remote,” “give me Mommy’s cell phone,” “give me that gross black sludge you’re about to explore with your mouth.” But now it’s “give me pizza,” “pick me up,” “turn on the remote control car,” “hold this controller and make the car move while I chase it,” “bow down and worship me.”
His first word was Dad. Then he learned Mom. Now he can say ME. Watch out world. Our son now has linguistic referents for both the self and other. This is the baby universe equivalent of verbalizing the distinction between Man and God. The theologian in me is reminded of John Calvin’s insight: “no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves…On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself.”
At a less philosophical level, what this new breakthrough means is that Widget1 has gained the capability to call us into his presence and tell us exactly what he wants, and he can keep on screaming “me” for as long as he needs to until we give in.