Friday, August 2, 2013

The Conceptual Leaps of a Two-Year-Old

Last fall Alessia memorized several of her books. She would sit with a book turning the pages and recite the whole story. Then one day in January something changed in her brain. She was running around with a stuffed giraffe. She suddenly stopped and looked down at a green box. She slammed the giraffe into the box and recited from a book "Who's hiding inside the flowery box?" She plucked the giraffe out of the box and exclaimed, again reciting from the book, "It's jolly giraffe." Her play changed after that as she realized that objects could become props for reciting stories. She was no longer limited to reciting the story while looking at the pictures of the book itself. Throughout the day she would grab objects and recite stories.

Sometime in the spring she made another conceptual leap. All of a sudden I would hear her reciting a familliar story, but with herself or her dolly or another toy in place of the story's usual protagonist, "dolly and the purple crayon" for example.

Today something changed again. She not only changed the protagonist of If You Take a Mouse To School to herself, but she changed the story to fit her own life. "I'll be ready for my lunch. On the way to my kitchen, I'll see some building blocks. I'll build a bank.” In the original the mouse is on the way to the school lunchroom and he builds a mouse house. Alessia has lunch in the kitchen, and Adam and Alessia often build a bank with our wooden blocks. The story ended there as she got distracted with the blocks themselves.

I wish I knew more about brain development. It fascinates me to watch my girls' brains changes. When Alessia was a baby I used to describe it as someone turning on light switches inside her head, and with each switch even familiar things looked different to her. It doesn't surprise me that my babies get tired and cranky, it has to be difficult to have the whole world change and shift every few weeks.



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