Dante is amazing me these days with the new stuff he’s able to do. (WARNING: Parental bragging ahead! Proceed at your own risk! I’m always wary of “look at what my son can do!” posts, but I’m also using this blog as a kind of record-keeping for these early years, and I want to remember all the stuff that’s popping right now. So you’ve been warned. :))
First of all, he is officially walking. He and I have taken several walks around the neighborhood. Daylight savings + warmer weather + walking Dante = lots of fun. We walked out to the newspaper dispensers, which are a bonus because they have letters on them. NEWS or POST, they say. He’ll point to each letter, and I’ll identify it. Then he’ll run his finger back and forth across the word, and I’ll read it. “P. O. S. T. POST!”
We also walked out to the road behind our house, which is totally enchanting to him. Cars and trucks, with their dazzling headlights and zoomy noises, draw him irresistibly. He’ll point at trucks and say “t-t-t-t!” Also, trees. And the number two.
Counting is another popular activity right now. He frequently will spontaneously lift a finger and say “wuh-wuh-wuh”, repeating until somebody acknowledges him by saying “one.” Then another finger, and “t-t-t-t”, up to five. (As I’ve said, it’s pretty much “fffff” after two.) He LOVES climbing the stairs and counting each one as he’s going up or down. On those he makes sounds up to t-t-t-ten.
He also will identify the numerals if they’re in front of him. I have some comicbook compilations on my “to read” shelf, and they’re in alphabetical rather than numerical order, so the numbers on the bottom of the spines look something like 6 7 1 5 1 3 2 4 1. He’ll point to the 1, say “wuh-wuh-wuh”, then find the two, and so on in order. He’s got some little toy numbers for the bath that he does a similar trick with, picking them out of the water in order. He knocked us both out recently by holding up a 1, saying “wuh-wuh-wuh”, then a zero, saying “zzzzzuh!”, and then holding them next to each other and saying, “t-t-t-t”.
He’s very spongy right now, learning things immediately and repeating them back. He’s way into book charades, i.e. acting out whatever’s happening in the book we’re reading to him. He comes up with stuff spontaneously (like getting into his 3-point stance of head and two feet on the ground when hearing the phrase “upside down.”) I’m teaching him stuff, pointing to things in the book or stomping at the word “stomp”, that kind of thing. He’ll hear it on the first read-through, then hand the book back to me for a second read, and do it.
Additionally, he seems to be trying to recognize at least some words based on phonemes. I recently read in “The Big Red Barn”, “the little pig squealed”, and he reached over and squeezed his teddy bear. Sometimes he’ll do stuff like this and I won’t grok what the mental connection is for him, but I was pretty excited when I figured out that he was squeezing because he recognized the “squee” sound. Now, I’ve tried to explain the difference to him, but for now he continues squeezing. Still, yay for guesses based on sound recognition.
Part of what’s so fun about this stage is the way he keeps surprising us, showing us that he understands more than we expect, and is capable of more than we realize. My current favorite Dante surprise: I said to Laura, “Dante is doing so much stuff! He’s blowing me away.” Dante looked at me, put his hand in front of his mouth… and blew.