Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Like a Swiss Watch

When Eleanor was just a tiny baby, I tried to imagine what her voice would sound like, once she actually started talking. Just what was going through that tiny, perfect head of hers, anyway?

She's been talking for awhile now. But as her command of the language grows, her personality is becoming more and more evident. I know it's early days, but I'm so happy to report that she loves words. She soaks them up like her once-crunchy Rice Krispies soak up milk all morning long, until she decides to eat them soggy and limp at snacktime. (I'd like to think the love of words comes from me. The soggy cereal tendencies, I have no idea.)

And, in a way that I would never expect from a 2-year-old, her understanding of the language is very precise. If I use a term for something, that IS what the something is, and cannot be changed. Once I read a book a certain way a few times, that IS the way it will be read. And she doesn't hesitate to correct me, although she's usually polite about it. A few examples:
  • The other week, I was trying to offer her water in her water bottle, but for some reason the word "bottle" was escaping me. I held it up and called it her water "jug." She ran across the kitchen to me. "No, mommy! Water bottle. I'm sorry Mommy, water bottle."

  • Last night, we read Corduroy and Ella Takes the Cake at bedtime. In Corduroy, I messed up the page where he comes upstairs and sees "rows and rows of beds." For some reason, I read it as "rows and rows of beads."
    "Beds!" she piped up as I turn the page, already forgetting what I had read.

    In Ella Takes the Cake, at one point Ella asks her mother a question and "'You are helping,' her mother replied."
    I read it as, "'You are helping,' her mother said."
    Even though the meaning was the same, Eleanor still corrected me. "Her mother replied!" I had to go back a page and confirm that yes, Eleanor, the word is "replied" and not "said."
When she was younger, if I missed a word or switched it out, I just kept going. I can't get away with that anymore. She's watching (listening to?) me like a hawk. Just because she likes soggy cereal doesn't mean she's stupid.

What I really need to do is post a video of her "reading" one of the many books that she's memorized. Unfortunately, the only good video I have of that right now is her in her underwear, swinging her legs around, and wearing her hot pink belt as a necklace. Once I get a video that's more appropriate for public viewing, I'll post it.


Jonathan said...

I am ALWAYS being pulled up by our kids for calling lunch "dinner"... and they always respond instantly.

It is amazing, isn't it - how they memorise things perfectly... and then pretend to read without *really* reading...

Andrea said...

I love your Eleanor stories! And her tendancy to repeat you word for word will only get stronger.

Will's latest is that he says he wants a new tender for James (Thomas' train friend) for his birthday. He had to throw his away because "it got all jacked up." No, it didn't get messee up or ruined, it was really just "all jacked up." Nice, Will! I recall the day that Daddy told him to throw is away and used that term....
Now I wish we could sometimes go back and cahnge what we had said since it gets repeated over, and over, and over again!

Kristen B. said...

Its amazing how they seem to go from little persons who have no opinion on anything and just take what we give them to mini adults who show free will every which way.

Same thing is going on at our house. Melrose has a few new phrases: "No, mommy, NO!" when I am doing something incorrectly or, my favorite, "I do it myself!!" She also joins in with my frustration while driving by saying, "Come on dude, lets go! Uhhh. So annoying." It is like my voice is channeled through her little body- ha!