Monday, December 19, 2011

Confession Time

I don't like to chart the kid's growth too closely, because it just seems unsporting, but here are some of Jackson's current skills and a rundown of where we are at 20.5 months:

  • He doesn't yet speak in full sentences, but he has a vast vocabulary (I'd estimate well over 1,000 words), he does two and three word phrases, and he communicates very well, albeit in the form of "barking" rather than in fluent English.
  • I think he knows all his letters, upper case and lower case, although I don't particularly like to test him so I can't verify for sure. I assume there is at least some confusion about the similar looking p/q, b/d, M/N, s/z letters, but by and large I think he's got it. He picked these up from many alphabet books (especially Curious George Learns the Alphabet), Signing Time: ABC Time (which we all adore), and various alphabet puzzles and magnet sets and quilts and foam thingies scattered around the house.
  • He knows many letter sounds, and is starting to hear them in words. For example, we were reading Taro Miura's Tools yesterday and when I got to "vise" he said, "V"? He also walks around the house making letter sounds. If we mention M, he hums "Mmmm..." for a while, or if he hears about a pumpkin, we get a lot of puffing for the P. And while we were driving yesterday he made me recite, over and over again, a long list of words that start with M: "Mountain, monkey, moose, music..." I can't say that he knows all the letter sounds yet, but he's getting there (thank you Leap Frog fridge phonics, Letter Factory, and inspired by Jen at Teaching My Baby To ReadRusty & Rosie), and he has at least some concept that sounds and letters are related.
  • He points out rhyming words, unprompted by me. When we were talking about a gold Christmas ornament, he connected it to cold and when we were reading a Tom and Pippo book, he asked about hippos.
  • He can count to five fairly consistently, although sometimes he still drops four or puts it after five. He loves pretending to count and listening to numbers.
  • I think he can correctly identify a collection of one, two or three things. (Is that called counting with correspondence?)
  • I think can identify most of the numerals, including zero (as distinct from the letter "oh" or a circle). I'm not really sure how he learned this; the plain ol' Melissa & Doug numbers puzzle is my best guess.
  • It's hard to pinpoint this cognitively, but he seems to connecting some words as opposites: hot and cold, tall and short, quiet and loud. (Also, sometimes I hear him in the backseat of the car, whispering softly to himself, "Quiet...quiet...quiet." and it cracks me up every time.) 
  • He's interested in seeing his name in print. Tonight he pulled all his magnetic lower-case letters off the dishwasher and held them up one by one, saying "Jackson? Jackson?" seeming to demand to know if that letter was in his name or not.
  • He can consistently identify at least a couple of shapes by name (stars and circles come to mind) and he knows a few other shape words, like oval.
  • He knows many color words and he gets what a color is and he can match two things that are the same color, but color words matching with colors isn't happening yet. He gets green, blue, red and pink correct most often when he's playing with his pens and crayons and other colorful things, but I've sort of decided to ignore colors to some degree until he's further down the developmental path.
  • He likes books.
  • He seems genuinely intrigued by everything in life, and takes words, letters, numbers and counting in easy stride.
  • He's incredibly adorable and loving with his friends, family and stuffed animals. He insists that Dr. Knuffle Monkey get to see and participate in everything that he's doing. We had Monkey at the airport over Thanksgiving, for example, and Jackson insisted that Monkey get a prime position at the window so he could watch the planes and trucks. "Watching! Watching!"
  • He sleeps well, plays well and eats really well. He's getting better at handling a spoon and cup. He loves his binky (for better or for worse), but he's able to go long stretches with out and seems to be starting to learn binky-less coping skills for car rides. Potty training has begun without too much drama, but I'd say we're on step one or two of a 10-step process. He can't jump yet (he just stands on his tiptoes), but he can run increasingly well and he carries his little stepstools around the house so he can climb up and see more of the world. He can put non-round shapes into non-round holes, but with effort.
As we move toward year two, I'm planning more art and music and movement (now that he seems to have sort out the basics of motor skills), many more read-alouds, lots more field-trips, more Signing Time videos, more Montessori-inspired activities and more sensorial stuff, so pretty much more of the same!

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