Thursday, June 30, 2005

Four's a Fun Age

I'm finding four to be a fun age. Sure, there are a lot of times that Ki will stomp on my very last nerve, but that's the definition of "child" isn't it? Recently, however, he's really started to be interesting to talk with.
For one thing, he's trying out all sorts of new phrases. I guess it's the next logical step after vocabulary building. Some of these phrases are things he's picked up from his more-than-it-should-be-but-hopefully-still-not-too-bad movie watching. Several nights ago as I was drawing him a bath, I suggested that he pick out some toys; "I'm on it!" he replied. And yesterday he said to his Mom "Has anyone ever told you you have beautiful eyes?" Sure, it's really not a line you'd use on your mother, but still endearing that he's experimenting.
Other phrases he's been trying on are things he hears his mother or me saying. Aside from the things that you really wish he hadn't heard from you the first time, it's a real kicker to hear him utter not only the words, but use the exact intonation that you'd use too. It's particularly amusing when he mutters them to himself while he's playing. The hard thing is that all this is so charming that you want to laugh, and often do; but that only serves to annoy/confuse him and make him self-conscious. How do you express your joy at their attempts without making them think you're laughing at them?

One corollary to this new verbal stage --– and to those that preceded it --– is that his aural comprehension drops off a bit. I suspect that before now he'd just ignore the words or constructs that he didn't understand and assemble the meaning from what was left; now, however, he's trying to make sense of all of the words and how they fit together. The net result of this is that the most frequently word in his vocabulary is currently "what?", said so quickly it's almost "wht?"

The other fun thing about age four is his growing curiosity about the world around him. What things are, and why, and how does it work? As a science/engineering type, I love the challenge of trying to answer his questions truthfully but at a level that he might begin to understand. More intriguing than answering his questions is listening to him state his hypotheses. I'm sure there are many that would say I should use that opportunity to "correct" his assumptions, but my own curiosity into how his mind works (not to mention the fact that I thinking learning reasoning skills is more important than learning rote facts) causes me to ask him probing questions instead. Sometimes, probably most of the time, he finds me annoying and will simply ignore my questions. But other times, he'll answer. And I'll get a brief, treasured glimpse into the wonder that is the developing human mind.

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The Computer Guys said...
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