Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jigs, Tidal Pools, and Dominos

I don't write about Maddie much - not because she isn't interesting, but, she is a baby, and I think most of us know the sorts of things babies do. But today I'll tell.
Trev was never interested in games like Pat-A-Cake (well, paddie-cake around here), but she sure is. She loves things like that. She likes to learn them, and practice them alot. Trev has this truck that he got from Grandpa Jerry (Eric's dad) when he was a baby, it has this hammer, and you can bonk it in a few different places, and it makes it honk, or make other noise, and/or move backwards and forwards. Trev really never got it, but that child plays with it deliberately. She likes to smack it with the hammer. She likes to do things the way they were meant to be done, she finds satisfaction in it.
She also has started dancing. It's really pretty comical, too. She starts the music (from her musical top, or other musical resources) and bends her elbows, and twists her torso and arms (above the waist) back and forth realy fast, getting jiggy with it. It's hilarious.
At the park on Tuesday our friend Travis brought two of her son's lawnmowers for the children to play with, and though Madddie didn't get a chance to play with them but for a moment, she saw all the fun the children were having pushing them around and racing with them, and has since found and claimed her brother's lawnmower. Yesterday and already this morning she has it firmly in her grip, and is pushing and pulling it around.
As I said, she has been venturing downstairs, and if she wants company, and you leave to go upstairs, she shouts at you. Two days ago she discovered the keyboard (it's really a great toy, I got it for like 10 bucks almost two years ago at Christmas, and it's really pretty wonderful), and she'll get it going, pushing the different program buttons, and hit the keys, and make her music.
I think even though she is really independent, also, and likes to do things her way and on her own, I think she'll probably want to learn more conventionally. I think she'll find sasisfaction in doing worksheets, and other "school" stuff, a lot of times. Oh she'll let me know when she's done with it (I'm sure it will have to be her idea), but I think she'll like doing it "by the book", just to prove that she can do it, and do it well.
Where Trev has never had much interest in doing things to prove himself. He likes to learn simply and purely for his own enjoyment. If it doesn't interest him, it ain't for him. He has nothing to prove.

It's amazing how he's blossomed the last bit. I think I told you about how we played "In the Jungle", and he was looking for other games. Yeah, I did - I remember mentioning Jenga.
So yesterday he wants to find more games. I'm up here, and he says "Mama, we need to go downstairs and find some more games for us to play. What else is down there?" And I'm thinking, we don't have any! The child has never been interested in them, has never wanted to sit down and learn one, and follow the rules to get to the end of the game. But now he does. But I did see the box of dominos, and we got those out. "Hey, I found these, let me show you something." And we set up the dominos "Don't bump the table," on the table in the playroom. He loved it, of course. Then he wanted to set them up over and over again.
He also has been very interested in a program I got at Costco, called JumpStart Kindergarten. There is a "fundamentals" cd, some sort of pet disc, not sure how that one works, an arts and crafts one (I guess I should try that again, too, -more arts and crafts, I mean, not the cd - though he has never shown any interest in crafts, only painting.) and this one that he is loving, called Animal Fieldtrip. This one you can go to five or six different climates, Temperate Forest, the Savanah, Tidal Pools, and I'm not sure of the others. But I got him to share it with me for a minute, and I went to the forest, and I went and checked out bats, and they were teaching echolocation, which of course we already know about, but it was still great fun.
Trev likes the Tidal Pool. He learned yesterday that hermit crabs not only choose other animals' shells for themselves (which we knew) but that they eat things that other animals leave behind, like bones, heads, etc. Sort of clean up. He kept coming in to me yesterday, "Mama, did you know that the hermit crab...." and I had not. Last night, in the middle of the night (true story) he says " It ... it takes... it.. it takes a long, long time, for the her..the her..herman...Hermit Crab (it was really slow, and he was being very careful, yesterday I told him it was herMIT, not herman) crab to grow a new claw." I had no idea. He was dead asleep!
Also, we were sitting on the couch last night, all of us, and he tells Daddy out of the blue "The rhinocerous and the Tickbird live symbiotically." Then proceeds to tell daddy that the tickbird eats bugs off of the rhino.
It's really a great cd set. It's kindergarten based, but a lot of times that stuff is really beyond the age it's set for, but that one is right up his alley. He is so into science, and the animals really hold his interest, but it's also concepts that he is already really comfortable with (like echolocation) so he loves it.
I need to get to the store and get some more children's games for our family.
After playing with the dominos yesterday he comes up a few minutes later with his big box of Lincoln Logs. He wanted to put those together. "Let's build this, Mama!" "Okay, baby." So we drug them to the living room, and proceeded to build a home and a barn for the cowboy and his horse. Trev took the roof off, and we pretended it was a tornado that lifted it off and carried it over the mountain. Then the man had to go check on his horse, Thunder, to make sure that he was alright, as it was a fierce storm. (He was.)
We also got on for a while and practiced some reading.

I'm so impressed with his desire to learn. I don't know if it's because I exposed him to a couple of new ideas, and it sort of snowballed, or if I am just really noticing it more than usual.
I think it's because his interest is so broad, it's not just the same things every day. There is like a new thing of interest (like the Lincoln Logs - which, by the way, he was attempting to read by himself) every day that he has never shown any curiosity about. I'm really amazed by it. Now I just have to keep such things -new and interesting- available to him.
How much fun we're having!

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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!