BlogHer Reviewer

MeKate's got a new Etsy store. Gorgeous paintings!

A dear friend is selling ADORABLE handknit baby clothes. If you're in the market, have a look!

free counters

Books, Pictures, and the Concept of the Abstract

So far, one of the coolest things about bringing up Baby has been watching him grow a brain.  I mean, really, newborns are sort of like grubs.  Cute (and very demanding!) grubs, but still basically squirmy pale little things who flinch and wiggle but don’t interact much with the world, all said.

And as the months pass, you get to watch this little creature turn into a human person before your eyes, and it’s miraculous and wonderful and enough to make you religious (if you’re so inclined) or appreciate the science you learned once upon a time (if you’re so inclined).

And so I’m watching Henry hit some milestones dead on schedule, and perhaps lag a bit in others (Babbling.  Dear lord, I want this kid to string some consonant-vowel sounds together in an example of ‘canonical babbling’ so I can relax on this issue!) He’s been concentrating on physical stuff like pulling himself up to a stand recently, so I’m not super worried, especially when I see how much better his brain is working than it did even a few weeks ago.  He sits enraptured through almost a half-hour of Baby Signing Time, now, and when we read books – which he even initiates sometimes – he’s really paying attention, trying to figure out connections.

He’s been kissing the photographs in an ABC book for a while now – pictures of babies always get kissed, as do mirrors; and the white polar bear in a book we read every day (that I’m pretty sure he thinks is Nellie –white fur, black eyes & nose) gets smooched every time.  But yesterday, reading a lovely book called ‘Mama do you love me’ which is one of my favorites, but to which he’s taken some time to warm up to–in part, I think, because the illustrations are so abstract, he started kissing every animal in there – polar bears, musk oxen, wolves.  And he was being very careful to kiss just the animals, making sure his mouth was in exactly the right place on the page.  Cute?  Let’s just say my heart is still in a little puddle around my socks.

He made the cognitive leap about ducklings a few weeks ago–that photos of ducklings in books (and there sure are a lot of those, what gives with the duckling fascination?) are the same as drawings of ducklings, are the same as rubber ducks (who have always gotten kisses when they pretend to peck his face).  But to make the leap that somewhat abstract illustrations of musk-oxen and walruses reresent animals too, just like polar bears (and hence, like Nellie) and are therefore worthy of baby kisses?  Dang, I was blown away.

And it makes me think I shouldn’t worry so much about the lack of lalalalas in his vocabulary just yet.  Kid’s growing himself a fine little empathetic brain, and if he is going to be slow to develop verbally, I’m pretty happy that kisses seem to be a preferred way to express himself in the meantime.

5 comments to Books, Pictures, and the Concept of the Abstract

  • Em

    It’s so neat to see them grow! Marley’s not babbling yet either, if it makes you feel better. I’ve been worrying about the same thing! But the kid can clap and wave and when she waves, she says “hiiiiiii!” so I think we’re okay.

  • Pie

    That is so cool, and I totally agree – watching them grow, learn, show personality – it blows me away every time. He’s too busy with other things to lalala, and he may just start with other verbalizations instead. Enjoy all the new tricks he shows you!!

  • So he thinks before he speaks. ;-))

    It is a very enjoyable period indeed.

  • Heidi

    This was so great to read! Just wait until he really starts talking and you get to watch a process that, to me, seemed even more mind-blowingly amazing and absorbing than pregnancy and childbirth put together. Example that happened while I was in the process of reading your post: My 2 1/2 year old got a new toolbox today, and I JUST heard him explain to his older brother that “you ham the nail with the hammer.”

  • Cat

    My favorite development was when they got a sense of anticipation. When they started realizing that I was about to tickle them and would start laughing before I even touched them. There have been lots of milestones since then, but that was a big one and is still the most fun.

    As for the talking, one of mine is in speech therapy because she just wasn’t talking nearly as much as her two siblings, not even babbling much. We started the process last December at 17 months old and she officially started therapy in late Feb. You’re not supposed to compare kids to each other, but with triplets you have a built-in peer group so it’s difficult to ignore when one is not doing something the other two are.

    Though she was borderline, her diagnosis was poor motor control of her tongue and we didn’t think we were equipped to tackle that on our own. We also didn’t want to risk her falling behind and the therapy was free through the county. It also seems there’s a personality quirk as well, kind of, “you know what I want so why do I have to say it out loud” mixed with a desire to get it right in her own head before letting other people hear her say the word. It’s turned out to be easily treatable, in her case, with some specific exercises. In the two weeks between her most recent appts she started using 20 new words which doubled her vocabulary. I had to keep a list to remember them all. The therapist wants to see some more improvement, but she’s close to graduating.

    All that to say that, if it comes to it, speech therapy might not be that big a deal. We were very concerned that it was a cognitive issue and it really didn’t occur to us that it could be muscle related. We’ve found it much less daunting to have to only work on strengthening a muscle.