Monday, July 12, 2010

words and pictures

I can remember a day when Isaac was about three. He was leaning over the back of the love seat in the garage (uninsulated family room anyone?). I asked him what was back there. “Oh, random items,” my toddler replied.

His articulation lags somewhat, e.g., he still announces things like, “A-tend it's 'nowing, and we're may-ting 'now angels...,” but his communication skills have been well advanced from day one.

He was still a tiny thing once when we were at my mom's and he was amusing her by arranging cereal into an empty egg carton. The next day he wanted to eat that kind of cereal and when I brought him the wrong kind, he ran for the egg carton, pointed, then pointed to his mouth. I got it.

We taught him basic sign language early on that he picked up instantly. Sometimes it was even hard knowing what my baby was thinking. Like when a nasty diaper rash came up and at each changing he'd press together the tips of his index fingers – the sign for “pain.”

When he began to speak, he was aware of the gap between how words were meant to sound and how they came out of his mouth: “This stick a trane, mama! Not train choo-choo, trane like has arm and picks things up.”

As he grows, it's his vocabulary and command of the language that blows me away. It does a writer-mama's heart good. “Let's consider our options,” Isaac might say to me. Or, “Wow, mommy the hood of the car is glistening in the sun! Isn't it stunning?” While I might not choose to describe a car as “stunning,” my five-year-old clearly would, and damn if anything out of my mouth ever “glistened” until I was maybe a decade beyond him.

Books, of course, are held in high esteem in our house, the default source from which I imagine him gleaning in depth knowledge and words. However, in my current state of insanity and sadness, I have relied more heavily than ever on videos. We have no TV and there was a day when the only thing Isaac knew of video was learning sign language through it. My son, the one who I used to try to make sit in front of the hotel TV until I got out of the shower but would cover his ears and run away in anticipation of the oncoming conflict in the Clifford episode, now runs to my laptop after school yelling, “PBS kids dot org! PBS kids dot org!” I can't say I don't feel kind of guilty about this.

My personal favorite is “Sid the Science Kid.” Though Isaac's been OD-ing on “Dinosaur Train.” I am ashamed to admit that there have been a couple afternoons recently when I simply loaded up the cartoons, left him on the couch and crawled into bed. The one consolation is that I realize he is learning things from these shows. Including vocabulary. Hears it once and he owns it.

After one day of too much screen, I turned it off and convinced him to come outside - likely more for my sake than his - and we were in the garden when I pointed out a large spider walking up his shirt. “That's okay,” my son said lightly brushing it off, “it's prolly not venomous.”


Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

You're a good mama.

Daryl said...

Going to try this again.

You need to stop doubting .. look at Isaac and you will how good a mom you are.

I adore Ann Patchett. Magician's Assistant is my favorite. Patron Saint of Liars is my second fav, then Bel Canto .. Run is also a good read ....

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