Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Four items, no unifying clever title

1. He's utterly obsessed with books. I mean, one wants kids to like books, right, but he's relentless, especially now that he's discovered the wonder of getting a whole new batch of library books every week. I can step back and think objectively how cool this is. But I admit that there are also times when I want to give him a Clifford video or a donut so he'll give the reading a break already.

2. Lest #1 seem a bit of insufferable puffery of little Pete's intellectual ambition, consider this point as well. He was counting something a few days ago--coffee scoops, I think--and made it up to fifteen. I took the opportunity to talk him through the late teens, and then he remembered twenty, and I told him about the twenties. Then I explained thirty and, getting increasingly excited, told him that if he figures out how the twentys and thirtys work, he'll be able to do hundreds of numbers in no time at all! Pete mulled that over for a minute and responded, "I want to play basketball."

3. This is less a Pete story than a humanity story. Pete got a new race car from a box of Cheerios a couple of days ago. He played with it for a little bit, then went upstairs and came back down. He said, referring to his established race car collection, "I put it with the other ones, and now there are ten." There's nothing unusual about that sentence in the conversation of Pete and his peers, but it blew me away that the human mind goes from no language to that kind of complexity in such a short time. The sentence involves space, numbers, time, categorization, agency, two kinds of pronouns. I've probably said this before, but the most of the things that amaze me about early development are the ordinary ones.

4. Pete has developed a completely diabolical strategic sense. For example, if he gets a little scrape on his knee, he will want a Band-Aid on it. When he was younger, he would want the Band-Aid right away. Now he waits. The rest of the day passes, then bedtime books, then getting in bed, then saying good night. 15 minutes later, he demands the Band-Aid. Knowing we won't refuse him that (or a couple of other key things like trips to the potty), he has saved it all day so that he has the right ammo for disrupting the bedtime routine and avoiding sleep. We have begun to evolve countermeasures, but he's winning the battle in a rout.

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