Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mr. Articulate and book reading

This weekend has shown itself to be a huge milestone in Quint's vocabulary! On Saturday, while is Daddy was at the gubernatorial inauguration all day, Quint said enough new words that I had to start keeping a list so I could be sure to remember them all!

Here's a list of the words or short sentences he used correctly this weekend:
Can I?
May I?
rise up (there's a story)
table top
just a minute (which I seem to be saying to him all the time)

His daddy taught him how to open the tiny upstairs fridge and fetch himself a snack. This has good aspects and bad aspects, of course, but thankfully, he can't open the packages on the yogurt or the jar of applesauce. After I had fussed at him for opening the fridge when he wasn't allowed, he started putting his hand on the door and saying "Can I?".

Tonight, during his daily run around nearly naked time just before PJs, I asked him if he was ready for his PJs. He said, "just a minute" and then "may I?" pointing to the bathroom where his daddy was making a lot of fun sounding noise cleaning up from bathtime. I said, "sure! Go play with Daddy!"

At one point Saturday, he noticed all the tub toys in the dry tub and patted it saying "tub". Priscilla has a tub in her daycare bathroom, so I bet he learned that there. We usually call the bathtub.

At one point Saturday, he sat at his little table, patted the surface and asked, "snack?"

While holding and kissing his plastic goat, he said "goat".

While playing in our bedroom early one morning, I was laying on the floor far too much for his liking. Twice, he would stand behind me, try to physically lift my head with his hands and say, "rise up!" Gee, son, what exactly is it that you want?

Once, he had the pad and pen where I was marking down his new words and phrases. I asked him where he got it. He pointed at the kitchen table and said, "table top". This also indicated to me that he can now reach about 4 inches in from the edge of the table and can actually touch and retrieve things on the kitchen counter. Alarming news, actually.

Other cute things he has recently done: Today he lined up three cubes perfectly in a row along the edge of a shelf and coo-ed in happiness at the neatness of it.

He now recognizes cats in every form they take!
A friend gave us some Duplo blocks last week that included a tiny, Duplo gray cat. This started a wonderful kitty cat craze around here! Quint has always loved our cat Callie (sometimes painfully, but he's getting better). When he found the little cat in the duplo set, it opened up this whole other level of understanding. He can now recognize cats no matter how different they look. For the first time ever, he has realized that the Fisher Price toy is ALSO a cat. The photo in the book that's just a cat's head is ALSO a cat. The Aristocats are ALSO cats. The Lion King has LOTS of cats. Before he played with the little gray duplo kitty, he could only recognize other live cats as cats, and he wasn't sure if they were colored different or really fat. Now he really gets it. It's been really fun to see him searching for cats where ever he is.

He's also starting to handle book reading better. For a long time, he was impatient with the slow speed of my page turning, and I'm sure that's a very common stage, but something I was unprepared for when I first started reading to him. I hadn't realized there would be "book training", as in "how to act with a book", but how should he know otherwise. He would try to turn the pages quickly in the board books and never would sit still for more than a few pages. My next door neighbor told me to let him get down when he wants, but keep reading the story. Maybe the 10th time through, for EACH book, he might be really interested in looking at the pictures along with listening to what you're saying. This gave me some very useful, realistic insight on when to expect him to care about reading.

We've now graduated past only board books, to supervised-only hardback, paper page books. I still have to very firmly anchor the pages to make sure that we stay on THIS page the whole time we're reading the book, but he will now frequently sit through more than one book just before bed. When reading during the day, he will seldom sit through a whole book. But during the day, he will frequently bring me the book and then plop down on the floor to at least look on for a while. Serious progress!

Because Quint's going to be a big brother, we've been talking a lot about babies and what will happen once the baby arrives. We've got one book just strictly about becoming a new big brother. Baby on the Way by Martha Sears. It's a really great book about what's going on with mom while she's pregnant, during labor, and when the baby first gets home. It's written for big brothers or big sisters and you can modify the story for your family as you go, adding in doctors or doulas, hospitals or birthing centers, etc. We've read that a time or two so far.

More interesting to me was the book he wanted to read twice tonight. And he sat all the way through it twice! This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten. I'm not sure I even read it to him before Christmas, but there's no reason to only read Christmas story books only during December. In this BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED version of the Christmas story, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus aren't actually named. They're "the mother so mild", "the husband so wise", and baby. But as I read it and point out the pictures, I also talk about that we're going to have a baby, and we'll put it in a bed, and ours won't coo like a dove, but cry quite a lot, and other reality aspects of our baby brother. After we read it once, he wanted to play with turning the pages, which was fine. After a minute, I put it down and tried to pick up another book to read. He obviously wanted to read that one again. So we read the book and talked about baby brother again. Pretty cool!

Maybe he'll be a tiny bit prepared when baby brother makes his grand entrance!

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