It's a phrase I've heard a few times already, and it's starting to irritate me.
The first time involved his fingers and his nose, grossly enough. He was digging for treasure one morning, and I told him "Fingers out of your nose. That's gross." He giggled and stuck both index fingers up his nose to the first knuckle. I'd love to say that was it, but instead, it has become his favorite joke to play on me when he's feeling the least bit mischievous. So, of course, it was only a matter of time before he did it in public.
Some random woman asked, "Who taught him that? Was it Daddy?"
No. He has a brain of his own, and he did it spontaneously.
Since then, I've heard it several times. Any time Miles does something particularly silly or ingenious or (in more than one case) absolutely disgusting, I hear it:
"Who taught him that?"
As though my bright, inventive son is incapable of figuring out anything on his own. Or even thinking for himself. Let me be clear: there are plenty of things we do teach him - letters, numbers, self-care, care for our cat, etc, etc But sticking his fingers up his nose is something he figured out all on his own.
I think the reason it bothers me is the perception that children - especially small children - are incapable of original thought. That they must be taught everything. That ingenuity is the sole claim of the adult. And in my experience, it is exactly the opposite. Children - especially young children - have a much greater capacity for ingenuity because no one has taught them that certain things are impossible. When you view all things as possible, you find ways to make them happen, rather than giving up on them. Adults are the ones who have to be taught. Children absorb, and think, and create.
So, the next time someone asks, "Who taught him that?" I think I'm going to respond:
"No one. Who taught you how to breathe?"