Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas tree, coloring, the road to reading

I am now in the habit of daily posting. We'll see how long this lasts!

Carter always returns from a trip with some new skills. There's something about traveling that pushes him to grow, and it's really fun to watch him take these leaps. They're generally things that seem unrelated to the trip too. For example, this morning we went to Carter's swimming lesson. He can now swim 4-5 feet to me from the side of the pool or from the teacher, unassisted. He swims just under the surface of the water, kicking his feet and paddling with his arms. It's amazing to watch, and it just happened all of the sudden. He is also now doing the thing where he will turn around and head to the wall when he falls off the side. He'll do that when he slides off of a float too -- he'll turn around underwater and swim to the float, grab it, and pull his head up out of the water. That was the whole point of taking swimming lessons, so it's pretty awesome!

Another thing that happened is that he's suddenly really interested in coloring. Well, scribbling is probably a better word for it. Until very recently, he was more interested in eating crayons and markers than in using them to draw, but now he gets very excited when he sees his art supplies. He's trying really hard to draw particular things. He really wants to draw a happy face, and he'll ask me to draw them over and over while he watches. His come out looking like big curly-queues with dots, but he doesn't seem frustrated by that. He just keeps trying. He's getting better at identifying colors, which I think is due to this sudden burst of interest in coloring with markers.

I had gotten him some bathtub crayons a week or so ago, and tonight was the first time he's had a chance to play with them. He immediately knew what they were when he saw them, and spent his entire bath drawing on the walls. The water was finally cold, and I had to drain it and get him out. He usually tells us when he's done, but I had a feeling that tonight he would have played in there for a long time.

After he'd covered the wall with scribblings, he washed it off. Yeah, I was surprised too! I didn't tell him to do this -- he just did it.

Sometime in the last week or so he started to recognize letters of the alphabet as distinct from other symbols or decorative marks. He recognizes written words and letters as something to pay attention to. He'll point to letters on signs and in magazines and try to identify them. He recognizes about 10 letters now, and can sing a little of the ABC song. If I write down a bunch of words, his name among them, he can sometimes pick out his name when asked. He's not consistent about that yet, but he's getting there. He can occasionally spell his name when asked, though he leaves out a letter or two most of the time. He definitely recognizes numerals and will point them out when he sees them.

We aren't pushing him to do this; it's just something he's really interested in all of the sudden. I strongly believe in following the child's lead in these areas, so it's not like we sit down with him with the intent of teaching him the alphabet. It's just something he's decided he is interested in, and hey -- if he wants to learn to read, I'm on board with that!

We put up the Christmas tree today, and Carter was actually very helpful. At first, he just wanted to sweep the tree. I'm not sure why.

As we got towards the end of the assembly, I was on a step-ladder, and I could ask him to bring me the next set of branches, and he'd bring them over and hand them up to me. It was actually quite helpful! He wasn't as impressed with the lit tree as I thought he'd be, though he spent some time giving the tree kisses and hugs. My little tree-hugger!

Of course, once he found the switch the turns the lights off and on, everything else was forgotten.

After he went to sleep I looked at some pictures from around the time of his first birthday, and wow -- he's grown so much in the last year. He's just over 20 months adjusted, but he'll technically be 2 in about 6 weeks. Crazy!

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