Wednesday, June 07, 2006
On Volcanos and Pachyderms.
Yesterday my brother brought his second-grade volcano project home. It was volcano made of flour and salt clay, and painted brown with red lava streaks. It featured a special hole that you could put...baking soda? and vinegar in to make it erupt.
Today he had another one, and he was just as excited about it. He called my sister over and said, " Did you see my volcano? I made a replica of the one I have at school!"
"You made a what?" she asked.
He's seven and he makes replicas.
Lately, we've been teaching him "big" words. Replica isn't one of them, but it could have been. As things come up in conversation, we call him. "HEY B! Wanna learn a new word?" He comes running. Recently I taught him about being facetious, arachnophobia, and triskaidekaphobia. My sister taught him about misnomers and being garrulous. Dad taught him 'superfluous.' He's known 'confiscate' for a long time.
He's seven, and he uses this stuff in conversation.
It's not that big of a surprise, really.
There is a system called Baby Signs that my mom discovered around when Seven was born. Seven learned sign language before he could talk, and we all had a lot of fun signing with him. Instead of crying because he wanted more food and couldn't tell us, he would just sign that he wanted more, and we'd give him more food. It was great.
Naturally, we wanted to do the same thing with B when he was old enough. B learned a few signs, but not nearly as many as Seven had. Instead, B started talking. Somehow, my sister Lavish and I got the idea to teach him animal names with our Beanie Babies. We had tons of them because they were popular. At the ripe age of two, B learned probably thirty different animal names.
Oh, but we didn't just teach him 'cat' and 'dog', oh no. In fact, we didn't teach him those at all. Instead, he had a 'feline' and a 'canine.' He also had a marsupial, a dromedary, a pachyderm, a bovine, an arachnid, a crustacean, a lagomorph, a mollusk, and a serpent. And about twenty others with similar names.
So there he was this two year-old boy who identified animals by their scientific names. "Look B, do you see the feline?"
Oh, we'd show him off all the time. We'd say, "B, go get your ______" and he'd run off and find the right toy. Or we'd put all of the animals out on the floor and make him name them all. He thought it was a fun game. Adults were impressed.
I was asking my sisters to remind me of some of the animals that we had, and we remembered something else that he did. Before my mission, he was about five years old. He collected church Pass Along cards. His brothers had Pokemon and Yu-ghi-Oh cards, and he had his Pass Along cards. The elders would come visit and he would get really excited and want to see which cards they had so that he could go through and see if he had all of the ones they did. He'd carry around a thick deck of them.
What a funny kid.