Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Elephant In The Room

Earlier this summer I wrote a post called "Things We Know". In it I stated that my boys are "keenly interested in all things abba-bet and can tell you what every single letter is no matter how abstractly it's presented". 

For your consideration, here is an example of what I mean by abstract (click to embiggen):

When I wrote that, the boys really had mastered the upper-case letterforms, including the ones shown here. At the time I wasn't sure whether to be impressed or alarmed. Shouldn't uppercase "D" look like a "D" or is a lumpy square also acceptable?

Since that time, Nate and Seth have moved on to learning the lower-case alphabet as well. In the longest video ever, you can see them happily working on their new puzzle which includes a reasonable rendition of upper and lower case letters. They are quite good at their new puzzle and are able to point out individual letters in both cases now in print which they tend to do unsolicited a lot.

Like when I'm reading them a story, for example.

It tends to make even the most gripping tale a little disjointed since I have to pause and acknowledge the letter being pointed out before I can continue.

Each and every time.

But I digress. 

For their birthday last year the boys got a set of colorful blocks. At the time they enjoyed stacking them (or at least watching me stack them) and knocking them down. We've also had fun color-sorting. The blocks also have the complete alphabet in lower-case and numbers 0-9 printed on them. Until recently that has largely been overlooked but now, of course, it's game on.

To be honest, I find some of the letters/numbers a bit ambiguous. Am I look at a lower-case "b" or the number "9"? Depends on which way it's facing I suppose, but some of the letters and numbers are definitely open to interpretation.

Still, I figured if the boys managed to master lumpy, square uppercase "D" then there wouldn't be much to throw them off course.

Until this: 

Like me, you probably think that's a lower case "m". And you probably think that because you know you're looking at an alphabet form. And you probably know that because you know that you're looking at a child's block on which alphabet forms are often printed.

Also, you are not 21 months old.

And not only are you not 21 months old, you are also probably not fairly obsessed with elephants. And even if you are fairly obsessed with elephants, you probably don't regularly go about making elephant noises.

So at first I was a bit mystified when I casually asked Nate what letter that was and he countered with his elephant noise. When I asked again he looked at me very seriously and said "el-fant!" and after pondering that for a moment I took a closer look.

And he was quite right of course. That's an elephant everyone!

- L.

PS. For your enjoyment, there is a new video with some of Nate and Seth's quieter "elephant noises" posted on our YouTube™ channel.

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