Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Milestones

Back in September I mentioned that Smiley had started pretending. His imagination has passed two more milestones.

First, he now clearly cares about his stuffed animals in ways he did not before. He not only hugs them for his own comfort, but he pretends to feed them, gives them a blue cloth to hold, takes them for rides in his doll stroller, and becomes distraught when they fall down as if they could get hurt.

Second, he today did his first pretending that involves imagining an object is something completely unlike what it really is. Before he would drive toy cars on the ground, pretend a bowl had food in it, etc. Today he pretended two of his wooden blocks were bottles of lotion, and used them to put imaginary lotion on my cheeks as we do after I shave.

He also used grammar for the first time today.

As a bit of preface, I need to share that during the past few days he changed how he said "yummy" from yurm-yurm to nyum-nyum and his usage also broadened. Yurm-yurm always meant precisely yummy: "that is something am looking forward to eating, or am enjoying eating." But now nyum-nyum can describe anything he enjoys: for example, yesterday afternoon he said it repeatedly while being happily reunited with two of his stuffed animals after his nap.

This afternoon I had to interrupt him playing with his duplo train to change his diaper. Before taking him off the changing table, I asked him, "Do you want to go back to your train, or do you want to help me with laundry downstairs and climb on the bed?" (I fold laundry after bringing it up to my bed, and being allowed on the bed is an unusual treat.)

He replied, "Nyum-nyum choo-choo." I'm not sure if that involved an adjective or a verb ("enjoyable train" or "I'll enjoy the train"). But either way, I think it was his first spoken syntax.

This morning he also did something new with toys. He had built a tower of duplo squares (at his age we've restricted his duplos to train cars and 2-by-2 cubes to minimize his frustrations) but wanted it to be even taller. So he went into his cupboard and took out three pieces of wood. He appeared unsure exactly what he wanted, but using gestures he asked me to add the wood to his tower. I stacked the wood on the floor and set the tower on top of it, which pleased him.

Except for using some toys as containers and other toys as items to put inside, this is the first time I can think of that he combined types of toys to do something.

Finally, he still cannot do color matching.

He owns a bunch of eight-sided dice of different colors. These were initially merely things nice to put inside containers, or share with people. Then they became small blocks to stack. Later they also became small things that work well as cargo for his toy dump truck and front loader to carry. Eventually we can use them to help learn numbers (both counting how many dice and looking at the numbers on the dice) and colors.

Anyway, today when he asked me to read his book about colors I wondered if he could match the dice to the colors shown in the book. He did much better than randomly, picking the green and yellow dice when looking at those pages in the book. But when I repeated the experiment with colored blocks he no longer made any correct matches. He must have been lucky.

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