06 March 2009

Representational Drawing and other developments

Last night Nathan sat down at his table with markers and drew an orange circle on his paper. He put the marker down and said, "Circle," then added, "Suh" with the hand motions he uses to mean sun. This isn't the first time he's done something like this -- back in October he made some crayon scribbles and called it "tyaah" (cat).

According to the child development book we're using, representational drawing doesn't emerge until nearly 36 months of age...maybe we're misunderstanding the meaning of "representational," but nonetheless, we were rather impressed. Nathan drew something intentionally and clearly communicated its representation before and after he drew it.

At Playgroup, Nathan is building a reputation as very polite. Parents comment on his ability to say "Peez" (please) while signing "please" in ASL when he wants a toy another kid is playing with instead of just grabbing it. Also, he makes sure to say goodbye to everyone before he leaves. He goes to each person, waves, and says "Bah!"

Nathan can identify the first few letters of the alphabet and pronounce their sound phonetically. This early phonetic awareness is remarkable!

He knows all of his body parts, even his heart, for which, he shows us his scar.

He knows what two is. When he puts on his shoes and socks, he knows how many are 1 and how many are 2.

Nathan knows all of the basic colors and can say them all, relatively.

He began pretending months ago. He loves soup. When we are in the kitchen or when he is in the bathtub, he pretends to pour, stir and drink the soup. This imaginative play is also not expected to surface until the end of the second year. I thought it was just mimicry, but when we are not making food, he will do the same thing.

When we count to 10, Nathan will fill in a number we intentionally and randomly stop at. 1,2,3,4,FAH! 6,7,8,Nah! 10-TEH!

Since before his first birthday, he was able to identify most of his toys and we would ask for him to get them and place them in the basket or his shoes in the closet. Crawling, he would excitedly do so.

He can remember back several weeks. He would remind himself with his Pinocchio bath book that he was at Pinocchio and rode the Train as much as 3 weeks back! He remembers even more weeks past that his friend Alex came over, they played (over here -- pointing) and then he left, through THAT door! He walks us through the steps of actions that didn't just occur today while we were at work, but as far back as 2 months ago when we had a bunch of teachers and their kids over.

He makes choices and has been since August. And, surprizingly, he doesnt change his mind if we offer the object he passed on before. He has firmly decided this is what he wants to eat, wear, play with, who he wants to give him a bath, what book to read.

He can now fill in any random word in ALL of his books and songs. He insists on turning the pages to get to the parts he remembers he likes. He knows what pages they are on, and how far back it is in the book!

I like to think all of this is because of the constant 1:1 attention and positive encouragement to read whatever he chooses and crawl around the entire house since he was little expanding his desire to explore.

The most remarkable behavior is Nathan's ability to think critically about an object we ask him about. With no car around, we ask Nathan, "Do cars have feet?" He says "No!" "What do cars have?" He indicates that Cars have wheels! We ask him if mabel has wheels, and he replies, NO! She has?........."Feeee!"

His understanding of language and his ability to think critically, creatively and accurately is incredible! His exposure to multiple languages like Armenian, Russian, English and of course ASL is definitely having a strong effect on his acquisition of language. According to Angela, who has seen dozens of toddlers in the preschools, Nathan is far more verbose than other toddlers his age and especially boys, even much older than him, respectively.

Who knows what he will impress us with next?

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