Book Monster

It occurs to me that some of you may not fully appreciate what I meant when I said, recently, that Dear Wife and I had created a monster.

I submit, for your consideration, the following:

B.T. Reading Brandon Sanderson's "The Way of Kings"
B.T. Reading Brandon Sanderson’s “The Way of Kings”

It is my supposition that B.T.can’t actually read the book he pulled off of my shelf.  But that’s not going to stop him from trying!

All he knows for sure is that what he’s picked up is a book, and if there’s one thing he loves, it’s books.

Some related facts about B.T. and books:

  • The first thing B.T. asks for when he wakes every morning is a book.  Literally. When either Dear Wife or I go in to get him in the morning, he smiles, jumps up for us to pick him up, and then says “Book?”
  • The second-to-last thing B.T. wants every night before going to sleep is, you guessed it, to sit on Mommy or Daddy’s lap and read a book.  (The very last thing he asks for? A song.  Or two, or three.  One thing he loves as much as books is music.)
  • On any given day, Dear Wife and I may read between 5 and 50 books to B.T.  (More on weekends, naturally, when he’s around us the whole day.)
  • It is not unheard of, when Dear Wife brings B.T. home from daycare, for B.T. to instruct Dear Wife as follows: “Call Daddy.  Daddy read book.”  His intention is clear to us.  He wants Dear Wife to call me and tell me to come home so I can read him a book.  Typically, he will accept Mommy reading a book or ten to him in the interim.
  • I had an old Economics textbook sitting around, leftover from my recent stint in an evening MBA program.  Having no further use for it, it was time to clear it out.  B.T. cried when I took it out of the house.  He’d grown fond of it, despite the fact that it had very few pictures.

The Continuing Adventures of B.T. Esq., Precocious Toddler

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on the neverending adventures of one B.T. Esq., Professional Precocious Toddler.  And so, once again, on the off-chance that the trials and triumphs of a toddler are of actual interest to you… well… you shall now be satisfied once again.

(Note: precociosity not necessarily included…)

I now give you to B.T., who shall recount his further adventures himself, in the first person.  From time to time, I shall step in to offer my own thoughts and insights in order that you, dear reader, may have the most rounded presentation of the facts as possible.

Let it not be said that the life of B.T. Esq. is not fraught with difficulties, challenges, and danger.  A young gentleman explorer’s life is not filled alone with fun and adventure.  Nay, but in his ongoing quest to encounter strange and exotic sites never before seen by the likes of man (leastwise, not seen by the likes of man-who-is-a-proper-height-of-just-less-than-three-feet; unlike those ungainly five- and six-footish giants said man may encounter in his travels through exotic lands), there are many pitfalls.  These strange lands are filled with many traps and snares: such devilish and conniving things as your own feet getting in front of you, or floorboards that are millimeters different in height, or immense, giantish tables whose tops come down to just the middle of your forehead so that you have to watch yourself lest you risk injuring yourself or, worse, getting a dreaded boo-boo.  Let me say, my good people: I have faced all these troubles, and more, exploring these strange lands. Continue reading

Language Wordsplosion

Language acquisition.  It is truly beautiful and inspiring to watch it unfold.

Dear Son, B.T., has now entered this stage of his life when his acquisition of language is accelerating into a literal wordsplosion.  (Yes, wordsplosion is a word.  You know it’s a word because I just used it, and you knew what it meant.  But you probably won’t find it in a dictionary.)

Dear Wife and I  have actually lost count, now of the number of words B.T. knows.  He knows a good number of his body parts.  He knows tons of animal sounds.  He knows the words for things like “house” and “car” and “tree” and “apple” and many others.  He can identify those things both when he sees them in the real world and when he sees them pictographically represented in a book (i.e. drawings, of varying degrees of quality and fidelity, of houses, cars, trees, apples, and so on.)  He knows the names of some of his classmates at daycare (the ones he plays with most often, anyway).

Just this week, in fact, he demonstrated that he knows his own name.  This was a huge revelation, for me as the dad.  B.T. can be a pretty willful little guy at times – he doesn’t consistently respond to his name being used so Dear Wife and I weren’t sure if he actually knew his name.  (I had theorized that the reason he doesn’t consistently respond was that sometimes he was willfully ignoring us.  His revelation that he does, in fact, know his own name lends credence to this theory.)  But this week he started pointing to himself and announcing his own name (or a somewhat consonant-confused version of his name).

Just last week Dear Wife and I attempted to catalog all the words that B.T. has demonstrated his knowledge of.  By this week we’d already abandoned the effort because he’d added so many new words since then that we’d lost track.  It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 words, which will probably be behind by the time you read this.  If he keeps this pace up, he’ll know hundreds of words within a few more months – enough, at last, to communicate meaningfully with his Dear Mom and Pop.

It’s been a thing to behold, and it makes me so proud.

Now, to be sure, he has a long way to go.  The aforementioned “consonant confusion” issue, for instance, being one.  And dropped consonants and truncated syllable.  The word for “book”, for instance, he renders as “mooh” (with the same “oo” vowel-sound but slightly different consonants).  Likewise, “ball” is “mah”.  A house is a “hau”.  And cats, rather than saying “meow”, appear to say “mau”.  All of these, however, I am assured (by several articles) are normal at this stage of language development.

Interestingly, all of these seem to be examples of linguistic lenition.  And I have outed myself once again as a language-nerd for even recognizing that fact.

Pulling the Wool Over Our Eyes

My son, B.T., has known how to walk for several months now.  I know this because I’d seen him do it.  More tha once, and completely unaided.

And yet, for months, B.T. has refused to walk without the assistance of either Daddy’s or Mommy’s hand to stabilize him.  And we assisted, when we could.  But there were times we couldn’t.  And so, quite often, B.T. reverted to using his other locomotive technique: scooting across the floor on his bum.  The latter is a sight to behold – it’s very amusing.  But Dear Wife and I couldn’t understand: why did he refuse to walk unaided, when we knew he had the skill to do so?  Alas, all of our coaxing and cajoling, and trying to set him for success by encouraging him to walk from Daddy to Mommy or from Mommy to Daddy across short distances seemed for naught. Continue reading

Toddlers, Children and the Love of Books

B.T. has been doing the cutest thing, lately, with books.  The first time I thought maybe it was a fluke.  But he’s done it several times, now – so I know this is for real.  It warms my heart to know that he is developing a love of literature.  But I digress.  Let me tell you the story…

It started one evening when I was reading a story to him.  Dear Wife and I have read to B.T. almost every night before bed for most of  his life.  Some of his books are of the “Touch & Feel” variety, which include swatches of furry or fuzzy or rough or other textured things for the baby or toddler to feel.  Consequently, B.T. has grown to like touching books.  So often, after I read a story to him, I will hand him the book to handle and play with as he wants.  Usually I will then pick up another book and start reading that one to him.  On this particular night, I didn’t have a second book immediately at hand. Continue reading

Tricksy Halfling!

I’m still working through my notes from JordanCon and writing up a post on what I learned there.  There’s a lot more to write up about it than I anticipated.  In the mean time, since I haven’t talked about B.T. lately, I thought I’d share this little tidbit.

So, B.T. is walking these days.  Sort of, at least.  He’s been doing it for a little while already.  He can take a few steps on his own – sometimes this happens when he’s not thinking about it but lately he’s actually been putting thought into the decision to go it alone.  But usually, he likes to hold mommy or daddy’s finger (especially daddy’s, it seems like – as Dear Wife says, he knows who the sucker is) while he goes on his little walking romps. 

He also eats these little puffs.  They’re his favorite food.  And we’ve been teaching him some simple signs to ask for what he wants.  One of those is the “food” sign, which is basically just pointing to the mouth – easy, right?  So he’s been picking up on these. 

This morning, as Dear Wife and I were getting ready for the day, we thought we’d keep him mollified by asking him if he wanted some puffs.  It’s easier to feed him puffs than to have him hang on our fingers and walk around the house (which is what he’d usually really like to do first thing in the morning; and also pretty much all of the rest of the time, too).  He responded to Dear Wife’s signs by signing that he wanted food then pointing to the puff, so she let him have the puff.  Success!

Then Dear Wife had to go do something else to get ready.  Daddy’s turn.  I ask him if he wants a puff, and sign “food”.  He signs food and points to the puff, so I lean down to let him take the puff and eat it.  But he had other plans!

Within seconds he’s grabbed my finger and pulled himself to standing, and in no time at all we’re walking around the kitchen.  I’d been fooled, pulled in my his ruse of wanting something to eat when what he really wanted was to walk.  And once B.T. gets walking, there’s no slowing him down.   Resigned to my fate, I walk around with him for a while, the task of packing my lunch abandoned, temporarily.

One would think that maybe it’s a little early to be worried about a tricky little toddler – that surely at this age he can’t be that devious.  I am here to tell you: do not be lulled into a false sense of security. They’re watching you.  They know where you live.  And when you least expect it, they will strike!