Master A has developed a rather strange habit of late. To begin with I thought I had simply misheard him but now I’ve become increasingly aware he is referring to himself in the third person.
An example of this sudden case of Illeism was over the weekend. He was playing in his first football match proper – a game that, I’m afraid to say, brought out the very worst in me.
Who knew one could get some utterly enraptured by the dramas of a simple five-a-side footie match – and, in the process – become a sideline screamer. Anyone at the match would have been forgiven for thinking EastEnders’ Big Mo had abandoned the Slater market stall for the morning – I was that loud and menacing.
Fortunately, Master A’s team won so there was no need for Pauline Fowl-er language (er, sorry). He came off the pitch and proudly announced:
“Master A had a really good game; I don’t think the team would have won without him.”
He went on for several minutes talking about himself in this way, seemingly quite unaware of how this was sounding.
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My son has never been one to lack confidence but he seems to be taking it to a whole new level now with his use of self-referral, separating himself from the narrative.
A little disturbed by this, I questioned Master A about the way he was talking. He looked somewhat confused: “Master A doesn’t know what you mean, Mummy.”
And then he ran off, back to play with his footballing buddies, leaving me feeling totally creeped out. It’s just weird listening to your seven-year-old speaking about himself as though he was a separate person.
A quick Google search of why people use Illeism confused me further: I am either raising a narcissistic egotist who could be capable of carrying out psychotic deeds... or a too-smart-for-his-own-good child who uses self-irony as a way of not taking life and himself too seriously.
Working Mum, wondering from where Master A has picked up this language habit... hmmm.