An Owencentric Universe

Duncan remarked the other day that right now, Owen views the entire universe as revolving around himself. His is the geocentric as opposed to the heliocentric universe.

The Ptolemaic System
Owen and some "Planetary" Spheres

This is probably a toddler phenomenon, but it actually affects how Owen communicates. Right now, one of Owen’s most predictable comments is whether someone has gone away or has come back. Usually, this dynamic is straightforward. Duncan goes to work: “Daddy a-wayyy”; Duncan comes home from work: “Daddy back!” But the same happens when Duncan drives Owen to daycare. “Mama a-wayyy!” (no, mummy is at home – Owen went away). Or the other day, when Duncan brought Owen back downstairs after changing his diaper: “Mama back!” (note: I had not left the kitchen).

Owen has also started to insist that we participate in certain activities with him. This morning, he was up at 5:00 and, while I was willing to get up with him, I was unwilling to actually wake up for real – so I got him some milk and put on YouTube videos and lay down on the couch. After about 15 seconds, Owen realized that I was not “participating” in the video session. “No Mama dodo! No Mama dodo!” (dodo=sleep). I lied through my teeth: “Mama’s not sleeping. I’m watching. See, the mummy is chasing the baby with clothes and the baby is turning into a bird” (it helps that I’ve seen the video hundreds of times). My ruse satisfied him for a while, but he kept checking to see if my eyes were open, so I had to be careful to keep the blanket over them to obscure his view. I really think he suspected me, but didn’t quite want to accuse me of lying. That will come, I’m sure.

The benefit to the Owencentric universe is that Owen genuinely believes that everyone is delighted to see him, all the time. We walked on the boardwalk last night and he was friendlier than usual. Every group or individual we passed got a wave, a grin, and a “Hiii!” – and those who responded were graced with a “Bye!” – then Duncan and I heard Owen comment “People a-wayyy. Bye bye people.” He has a knack, this child, for bringing smiles to strangers’ faces, and it’s such a delight to watch him work the boardwalk. As much as I know he will (and must) learn that the world doesn’t revolve around him, I hope he can keep a healthy dose of this confidence and assurance that he is loved and adored, so he can reflect that love back out to the universe.