Monday, May 10, 2010

Learning

When Bubba was first born, one of the gifts he received was a set of three Peek A Boo books. They have a flap on each page that can be lifted to find an animal underneath. Usually there is some part of the page that has a texture. This one is the one he reaches for while ignoring the other two:

One thing that they all have in common are the words PEEK A BOO! under the flap. A few months ago, Bubba started to point to the letter B in the word BOO over and over again. Of course, like anything else he would point to on the page, we would say what it was - bee. It was part of the ritual of reading the book along with turning the page, lifting the flap, and feeling the texture.

Well, imagine my surprise when he not only started to point out the letter B in other locations, but also started to say BEE! It didn't matter if it was handwritten, on a block, or in a fancy font, as long as it was a capital letter he could identify it. It was definitely a source of amusement for his parents.

Well, next thing you know, he starts pointing to the letter O in that Peek A Boo book. Then he moved on to pointing it out in Goodnight Moon. It wasn't long before he was calling out the letter O when he spied it out and about.

It didn't take long for my husband to start to teach him other letters. He now can correctly identify the letters B, G, O, S, T, M, H and E. I didn't realize he had learned so many! It kind of shocked me because I didn't think babies learned that stuff so early. I will admit, I am skeptical of parents who brag on their kids about stuff like this. I remember being on a play date and having a mom boast that her kid spoke 80 words at 18 months. I was thinking to myself, Really? We've been here two hours and I haven't heard her say one. Also, who the heck COUNTS??? Ask me how many words Bubba knows, and I'll be able to tell you what most of them are off the top of my head. I will not, however, remember them all and I certainly will not have a vocabulary count!

I decided to do something to reinforce what the boy's father had taught him. I mean, it was the least I could do to help, seeing as how up to now my contribution to his education has been to teach him the location of his butt. I pulled my chair up to my computer, and Bubba joined me.

Okay, first we goofed off on Facebook, but then I made these:

He has a little shelf with some of his toys in the living room. Above that shelf are some small mirrors, and above that are the letters that he knows, along with the addition of the letter A that was up there previously. I just did them in Microsoft Word using Word Art and flipped them backwards to print. I printed them out on colored cardstock and then cut them out. They're stuck to the wall with Hermafix Vario squares.

And just to make this a more complete post of what he knows, for posterity's sake...

Body parts he can identify when asked - nose, eyes, mouth, hair, ears, belly button, foot, toes, and yes, butt.

Animals he can identify and say by name - cat, dog, bunny and horse. I love how he says horse; it's more like "house." We were chatting with my mother in law on Skype when my husband mentioned something about a horse and Bubba got really excited. He kept saying HORSE HORSE and then ran over to the dresser and pulled out his can of toy horses! Gotta love those connections being made.

Other words he says - uh oh, ball, cheese, binky, pizza (bee duh!), Gidget, Leila, mama, dad, balloon (boon), moon (also boon), bird, baby(bee bee), car, bus, bike, hot, ouch, and jellybean (beed). I think that's all of them, but I'll probably remember something else later. A lot of them aren't pronounced correctly yet, but clear enough that other people can pick up on what he's saying in context. For instance, we were at the grocery store and he was going on about the boon, and the cashier was like, yeah, that's a balloon!

Words he signs - milk, please, more, hungry, thirsty (signs hungry for that too actually because they're sort of similar), all done, I don't know, and help. I tried to teach him the correct sign for help, but instead he just lifts his arms over his head. This is nothing like the sign, but since I know what he's saying when he does this, I let it slide. We really slacked off in teaching him these when he was smaller, but picked them up again when it was obvious that his inability to communicate was frustrating him. I didn't want him to learn that screaming would get him what he wanted. Now I tell him to ask nicely and wait until he calms down and signs please first.

Things I won't teach him just yet - animal sounds. It drives me batty to hear toddlers refer to a cow as a "moo" or a lion as a "roar." Yes, it's cute at first, but I just feel like it's a disservice to not teach children the proper names for things just because the parent thinks it's adorable. Maybe that's the education major in me, or my inner Montessorian. He'll figure out the animal sounds later and I'm sure he'll be okay for not knowing them as a toddler.

It's so amazing to see him grow and really start to understand what we are saying to him. I can ask him to throw something in the trash, or take something to dad, or bring me a bib, or find his water bottle and he gets it. He mimics us as we do things, and sometimes we'll catch him doing it later by himself. "Talking" on an old cell phone or using PhonyPhone is a favorite pastime, as is combing his hair. He's got the whole iPhone thing down pat. He can unlock it, scroll to the page with his apps, and watch YouTube videos (through Kideo so they're not bad ones!) or "read" The Cat in the Hat.

Some people are baby people and think newborns are just the best, but I'll take a toddler ANY day. He's so much fun now, and he gets better with every day that passes!

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3 Comments:

Blogger April said...

This is all just so ridiculously sweet. I cannot *wait* to see him! (And you guys, too!)

3:55 PM  
Blogger Samara Link said...

That's pretty cool! It's gotta be so much fun to see him connecting and demonstrating knowledge of things you've taught him. That's really exciting.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Hooptee said...

So awesome! It's so funny to watch what they pick up, especially when you don't think they are paying attention. That's a smart little boy you've got!:)

10:26 AM  

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