I am sure that many of you with toddlers, preschoolers and even early elementary age children know of what I speak when I say concrete thinkers.
I however have the unique opportunity to parent a dwarf that is physically WAY past this stage of learning, but because of the consequences of his biological mother's poor choices while she was pregnant with him, he is stuck, knee deep in concrete. Since I always seem surprised by the look of confusion, and the slack jaw... I thought, without divulging which 15 year old male dwarf this is :), I would share some of the more recent "concrete" moments.
When discussing a basketball game played at 3 Rivers (Stadium) was the word he missed, we had to pull out the laptop, and physically search for coverage of the game in question, and a photo of the stadium, surrounded by land, because he thought that the game was played on a barge on the actual river water.
When discussing a man that we were about to meet for the first time, and indicating that the man's identifying feature was his salt and pepper hair... the conversation got a little confused because of course we know what salt and pepper are, but why would they be in someone's hair...
In a conversation about a "broken" alarm clock, it was difficult to explain that each time he unplugs the clock, on purpose or accidentally (because he sleeps with it beside his head) that the time on the clock automatically goes back to 12:00. The clock is not broken. In order for it to work, keep time it must be plugged in. Keeping time is not a job it just automatically does because it is a clock. The appropriate power supply must be engaged. (I suppose that this year a battery back up clock may be in order.)
On a recent day when we were having plumbing issues at the house and there was a moratorium on using the facilities for "number 2", I was struggling to figure out if he needed to use the bathroom, or if he just wanted to ride his bike to the Hess station. I got a little short with him, to which he responded with "MOM, why are you angry?" I tried to explain to him, that me having to deal with the plumbing problems, would be similar to asking him to put on a tutu and dance in the Nutcracker... oh so many things went wrong with that analogy, but the biggest was the fact that he did not realize that a Nutcracker was a Christmas ballet...
Phrases, like "dullest knife in the drawer", "Shut the front door", as a statement of astonishment, "cup of joe","you can't judge a book by it's cover" make his head whirl. Most times he can tell by the tone or inflections that we really do not want him to "bark up a tree" or "beat a dead horse" but the expression on his face is always priceless.
I do rejoice that typically after the phrase is initially thrown out, and the slack face and confused eyes appear, we have successfully, with one explanation or two, significantly explained the premise, so that he appears to understand next time he hears it... however a concrete thinker will never repeat these phrases in their vernacular because they would never be 100 % sure they were using it correctly.
You really can't make this stuff up!