Tuesday, June 4, 2013

From the mouths of babes.

Dear boy loves to read books.


We've always read to him, a handful of stories before each sleep as part of his 'winding down' routine. Sometimes he picks from the basket in his room and sometimes we do, always finishing with one of his three 'sleepy' books: The Going to Bed Book, It's Time to Sleep or Hoot's Lullaby.

Now that he is older, he is choosing books as his 'toys' too, abandoning his blocks or his trains or the babies for a lap full of stories. He turns the pages and looks at the pictures, sometimes talking to them or interrogating them with the difficult questions. Sometimes he uses the row of books under the window as a seat. Other times, he'll search me out with a book in tow and demand I read it to him, insisting on turning the pages himself but pointing at the pictures I must describe.

I don't mind that he spreads them all over the floor, throughout the house. I don't mind that's there's a little Peppa Pig book in the pantry and one in the Tupperware cupboard. I don't mind that he sits on them or throws them around. They are his books and he knows to be gentle with mine.

Combined with a lot of daily-life narrating on my my part, I think books are one of the big reasons why he's accumulating words at a rate of knots. At 17 months, he has far exceeded the standard 18 month old vocabulary of around a dozen words.


His favourite word by far is 'bubbles', which he asks for at every meal (rice bubbles) and every bath time (bubble bath).

A few short months again anything with wheels or an engine was a 'car'. Now he can separate out a car from a 'bike', a 'truck', a 'train', a 'tram', a 'plane' and his most recent acquisition, a 'digger'.

His diction has also become startingly precise on some words, pronouncing slow and steady to make sure it comes out correctly: 'chick-ken', 'moo-nnn', 'ssssshoe'.

And then the combinations of words, in phrases like 'all gone', 'this...and that?' or 'don't know' (although that comes out as 'dunno', which might be my fault) or, most suprising to me, the connection of ideas and things to one another: 'Daddy bum.... ffffart' (thanks Lovely Husband).

He just amazes and astounds me, putting the world together ('home!') and wandering about in it in his own sweet way ('cuggle!'). Watching him discover new words, rolling them around on his tongue before sounding them out is a delight. I'm looking forward to our future conversations, not just for the ease of explaining things and (hopefully) the coming of reasoning and logic, but also to know his thoughts and how his mind works. I want to see where his adult self might go. I want to know if he'll refuse to read fiction (like his Grandad) or books in the first person (like Lovely Husband) or if he'll devour all manner of stories (like his Aunty K and his uncle Middle Brother Mountain). There are worlds upon worlds to discover in all those books on the shelves. Which ones will he choose?


  1. That is so good. Jarvis also loves his books, but at 18 months barely talks. Well he "talks" all day, but not words.

  2. Maybe one day Jarvis'll just bust out with full sentences. My stepmother's very first words were 'I've got a flea'.

  3. I think books are so important and special for little ones. Actually no, everyone. My first daughter is a chatterbox and always has been, it will be interesting to see if number 2 follows in her footsteps and loves books and talks early too.


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