Tag Archives: learning

Parental Skill Sets: Action Interpretation

Our 17-month-old has been babbling since before his first birthday, with the initial declaration of “Hi!” one day when I went to greet him in the morning, the both of us freshly awake. He’d been standing in the corner of his crib, and he gave me a wave as he said it, which made me think that I know plenty of 30-somethings who never achieve the synchronicity of those two actions, and here he’s doing it at ten months.

Emile touching a playground bouncy horse

Since then his verbiage has unleashed on us like a wide pipe, flowing out during nearly ever waking moment. Often the words are garbled or an approximation of the words adults use — his tongue and mouth have some more forming to do, so things like Ss, the “th” sound in English, and words that end in “age” or “ege” are his biggest challenges. One of Emile’s favorite objects is a black spatula, which he pronounces as “zhezhi,” and the only reason I know zhezhi means “spatula” is because he’ll hold up the object and say the word, and point. Yes, I’ve tried repeating the word “spatula” to him, but he has yet to get that enunciation under his belt. Read More…

Ode to Libraries

Carnegie Free LibraryI often insist to people who ask about my early education that Catholic school was just fine for preparing me in the ways of the three R’s, even if I did believe, upon high school graduation, that the world consisted of Catholics, Jews, and protesters. I could diagram my sentences, perform passable algebraic calculations, type 85 words per minute, and name every state capitol city (Trenton! Montpelier! Madison!). But more importantly I had a curiosity for learning and wanted to get the hell out of Dodge. For while parochial school had some fine qualities for me the student, it certainly lacked in other areas, like its library.

I read through most of the sections by 5th grade, and I only started at that school as a third-grader. Soon enough I was pestering my mother to get a Princeton Public Library card, and devouring books on maritime history, the American Civil War, young adult fiction, and anything by Stephen King. Now there were too many books for me to read, but I took that as a challenge instead of demotivation. Nothing suited a precocious child more than the idea that the world’s knowledge is just at their fingertips. Read More…

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