More art updates to come, but first… some children stories!

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It is summer now, and I’m having to balance the kids’ indoor time carefully. It’s too easy to get caught up in Inside Stuff and forget that Outside is nice, too. The last couple days, especially, have been particularly pleasant. (I suspect that’s going to change tomorrow, but hey. I’ll enjoy the 75-degree days while I can.)

One baffling thing that I have not been able to figure out… How do I get them to draw with sidewalk chalk WITH me?

I realized this yesterday, when I tended my friend’s three kids, who are all near in age to mine. I took them all out front to draw with chalk, and my friend’s kids joined right in, helping me with my drawings. Which is when I realized that when I draw with my kids, they just sit there and watch. And make requests. But they don’t help.

What have I done? And how can I fix it??

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Language development in children is a wondrous and mysterious thing. Bean took in words like a sponge, but didn’t say much until he was two or two and a half. Sprout’s first words were “What’s that?” (more like “whazzat?” but it got the point across) and that was all he said for months before he suddenly started speaking in full sentences, with very careful enunciation of every single word.

Neither of them mimicked much, which surprised me, because I had always assumed that mimicking was how children learn language.

Peanut, now… he mimics just about everything we say. And tries it out over and over again, until he’s confident that he knows how it works. His enunciation is very unique and entertaining. For a while, “nah” was “yes” and “no” was “no”, so you had to listen really carefully… but now he uses a very enthusiastic “uh-HUH!” which is MUCH easier to understand.

Often he’ll pick up the end of a word before anything else. “EEM!” is “ice cream”. Yesterday he caught my mother-in-law eating some ice cream, and he shouted “EEM! EEM!” at her, while she shook her head in bafflement, until he finally ran to me (because, you know, moms know EVERYTHING) and yelled “EEM! EEM!” at ME until I said, “Do you want some ice cream?” at which he said “uh-HUH!” (jumping up at “HUH!” for emphasis). So I put him in his booster chair and gave him an ice cream cone and my mother-in-law looked at him and said “Oh that’s what that meant!”

The one that slays me (mostly because it takes me a while to catch it) is “BOOK!” which is either “book”, as it sounds like, or “milk”. Not The Same.

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I set out the “potty”, thinking that it was getting to That Time for Peanut… though it was more wishful thinking than hopeful, since neither of the other two boys had any interest in toilet training until they were 3 – and even then, I had to drag them into it kicking and screaming. But no… as soon as I had it out, he was interested. And then pulling off all his clothes and diaper so he could sit on it. I soon recognized that I had to put him in something that snapped at the bottom or he would have it off before I could look away.

But if they’re ready, it’s best to be ready with them and catch the opportunity as it appears, or it disappears and never comes back. (As we learned with our other boys, who showed a little early interest that I didn’t monopolize on fast enough and then weren’t fully trained until they were NEARLY FIVE. *headdesk*)

So now whenever Peanut says “Iht! Pah-ee!” (Sit! Potty!) I am THERE. Heck, maybe he’ll be trained before he’s 3! Which is when I started the other boys. *sob*