Thursday, September 16, 2010

Numbers and Letters and Words (and Puzzles), Oh My!

For the past couple of weeks (starting during our beach trip, actually), Peeper's suddenly been doing a lot more talking.

She's not added a ton of new words to her working vocabulary (although I'm sure there are some that I've forgotten to document in the sidebar), but she's doing a whole lot more echoing of things that we say.

Many of the things that she's echoed back to us have been funny to hear from her, because they are kind of random things that you wouldn't expect a not-quite-two-year-old to say.

I was thinking that, "Well, that's really cute to hear this one time, but kind of useless. I mean, when the hell is 'Buf-Puf' going to come up in conversation for her?"

(For example - there are better examples that don't come to mind at the moment. I must ask Shrike when she gets home.)

And then I realized - that's exactly why she said it.

She's not suddenly starting to say the words that she's been hearing and understanding and, often, signing, for ages.

She's repeating the novel words that she hears.
If Shrike and I are talking to each other, and one of us says "Blah blah blah aardvark, blah blah," she'll pipe up with "ah-vah!"

(Note: She has never actually said "aardvark," but that's probably what it would sound like if she did.)
So I'll say to Shrike, "Did she just say aardvark?" and Shrike will say, "I think she did!" and I'll say to Peeper, "Aardvark!" and she'll repeat "ah-vah!" and we'll go back and forth with that a few times until she loses interest.
It's as if she's saying, "Aardvark? Hmmm, that's new. I wonder what it means?"
(Or, perhaps, "Aardvark!? What the fuck, Mama?")
For some of the nouns that she's done with with (lobster, football), some repeated exposure and practice has moved them into her working vocabulary, which is pretty exciting to see.
She's also doing some very rudimentary pre-counting and number awareness. She definitely knows what "two" means, because she often picks up two of something and announces "Tah!" while holding up (well, trying to hold up) two fingers on each hand.
(I don't have the heart to tell her that's actually four. But she doesn't get the middle fingers very far up, so I guess it technically is two.)

I've been working on "three" with her, thanks to Mermama and her three merbabies. I can't really tell if she's getting it though, because she also seems to pronounce all numbers "tah."

(Oh, with the occassional "ssss" right after I say "five." Whoa.)

She's never spontaneously claimed any other amount of items to be "tah" but if you ask her "How many?" the answer is always "tah" and she "counts" things (pointing to them, one by one, often exactly one time each - that is a tough concept for lots of kids to get) "Taa-ah . . . taa-ah . . . taa-ah" in that same exaggerated sing-song voice that I use when counting things out slowly.

(Oh, you know you do it, too, "Wuh-uhn, Too-ooo, Thuh-reeee . . . . ")

I'm also pretty sure that she recognizes the number "1" because I've seen her sign "one" when she sees a "1" - or an uppercase "I" without the little horizontal lines, or an upside-down "L."

She's recognizing some letters, but may not quite as well as I was thinking for a while there, until I started asking her about other letters that she doesn't know.

She can "find the E" on request, will show you a "P" (or occassionally "q" or "d") and say "Papa," or point to an "S" and say "ssssss," but calls all letters (and numerals, for that matter) "Eeeee" and for any given letter if you ask "What starts with this?" the answer is "Papa" and "what does this say?" the answer is "sssss."

She's very interested in letters, and loves her "letter books" and fridge magnets, which is really plenty at this age, I think. That other stuff is just bonus for now.

Also on the beach trip, she started singing! Well, trying to sing.

On the drive down, we were listening to one of her Kindermusik CDs and singing along to "Skinamarinky Dinky Dink (skinamarinky doo, I love you. . . ) and suddenly realized that she was saying / singing, "deeky deeky deeky deek" sort of to a melodyish kind of thing.

She really likes that one and will always "sing along" when we sing it, and I think she's trying to sing the ABC song "ee ee ee-ee" and has also tried a few others from Sesame Street videos (Oh dear, that's another thing. Kind of obsessed with Elmo. Even in two-minute tidbits on!) mostly those with "La-la-la" kind of lyrics.

I was really looking forward to this music class that was supposed to start tomorrow, but we found out that it's not happening, because they didn't have enough kids sign up. Bummer.

The instructor said there's going to be a Christmas music class in December, which I assume will just be a few weeks long. I think we're going to try to take that one.
She's also really getting into puzzles. We had just a couple of really simple ones out, but she found the stash last night, and was actually doing much better with them than I expected. Some are rather tricky, with no pictures at all under the pieces, and she's still able to find where a few of them go.

She does get frustrated pretty quickly and say "Mama!" asking me to put them in for her. I try to just encourage her, and then, if she's getting too frustrated, I'll put it aaaalmost in the hole, for her to finish.

As challenging as some of the puzzles are for her, it's almost as challenging for me to let her dump out all the pieces of all the puzzles and get them all mixed up, and then leave them just lying around instead of putting them all back in the puzzle.

I managed to chill out on it a bit when I realized that putting the pieces in (and out of) the holes is just a tiny bit of what she wants to do with them. She also wants to hold them up and ask me what they are, and vroom vroom the ambulance across her tummy, and give all the zoo animals goody (and have me give all the zoo animals goody) and just play with them.

Sigh. Okay, I think I can handle that.

But you better believe I "solved" them all after she went to bed, and made damn sure no pieces were missing!

1 comment:

  1. (Actually, from Anonymama). The number thing is great. The hardest concept is one and many. Subdividing "many" into actual numbers comes afterward. Recognizing any letter shapes is great. Again, the first concept is "letter". Then, she can subdivide then into 26 subunits. She is the genius that we expected.


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