As soon as I reached the top of the stairs, Philip came over to give me a hug. Or so I thought. Instead of reaching his arms around my waist, he lifted up my shirt.
“Hey!” I exclaimed. “What are you doing?”
Realizing the only thing that I was concealing under my top was a roll of belly fat, Philip let my shirt drop. Peter was the next one to be inspected. Philip grabbed his empty hands and looked behind Peter’s back, but didn’t seem to find whatever he was searching for.
Philip thought we were hiding something from him, but what could it be? We had only been home for a few minutes after a quick Christmas Eve visit with my sister-in-law. I was pretty sure we had brought in everything from the car, including the gifts to Philip from his aunt. After unloading the car, I had gone straight back outside with the dog. I’d had no time to hide anything.
I assumed that Philip’s quest would remain a mystery, but, well you know what happens when you assume.
Philip went to his iPad. He hit the word “play.” I could tell that wasn’t the word he wanted, because he immediately tapped the screen again. Play was in the same sequence, but there was an extra step to get to the correct word: “dice.”
Philip was looking for dice. Just an hour before, Philip had spotted a die on an end table at his aunt’s house. He kept putting it inside a boat she had given him, letting it roll from stem to stern. I added the word to Philip’s vocabulary list on his iPad’s speech app and then showed him the sequence to find it. He humored me once by repeating the word before continuing with his play: drop the die in the boat, watch and listen as it rolled around, take it out, and repeat.
When it was time to leave, my sister-in-law had offered to let Philip take home the die. But after watching one of her dogs chew on it, I was afraid that Roscoe might try the same thing and end up choking. Besides, I figured that Philip would have enough entertainment from the boat.
I was mistaken. Philip associated the boat with the die. And he was certain I was hiding it from him.
“I’m sorry, Philip,” I said. “We didn’t bring the dice home.” He looked at me, and then seemed satisfied with my response. He went back to playing with the boat.
I told him the truth: we didn’t bring home any dice. But what we did bring home was even better: a new word.