Hide-and-seek in plain sight

We went to the park Sunday. Thing 1 and Thing 2 challenged Sweetie to a game of hide-and-seek, and Thing 2 (the 5-year-old) found the perfect hiding place:

The swings.

While Sweetie was looking behind trees and inside the climbing place, Thing 2 was swinging with the other kids, keeping an eye on her. Soon as she spotted him, he jumped down and ran to base.

I asked him later, “Where you trying to hide you were on the swings? You weren’t just swinging?”

“No,” he said. “I just knew she’d never find me if I was up in the air.”

What’s funny is that this is actually a thing. It’s called “selective attention.” The idea is that sometimes you’re so busy searching for something that you miss the thing that’s right in front of your face.

Here’s what I mean. Watch the video (it’s short) and count how many times the players in white pass the basketball to one another:


(It probably works better if you don’t see it cold; they showed us this at a work retreat a few months ago, and nearly everyone in the room, um, miscounted.)

I don’t think they’re teaching this in preschool. Thing 2 somehow figured it out by himself, and, as a parent, that scares me, because he’ll be a teenager in 8 years, and if he’s this clever at age 5, then I’m doomed, I tell you, doomed!