it reads like a headline from the onion, doesn’t it?
every monday after work, i hang out with my friend c, who is about 16 months old. we make towers out of wooden blocks then knock them over, and bang on all sorts of purpose-built as well as improvised musical instruments, from xylophones to steel bowls. we read books together, and sometimes we go to the park, usually to my favourite one with the big accessible playground. that’s where we were yesterday evening, running up and down the ramps and struggling with the concepts of slides being easier to go down than they are to climb up.
suddenly, c began pointing upwards and saying “moo”, though with less of a bovine inflection than i’d expect if he were trying to imitate a cow. the highest tower of the play structure was in front of him, so i asked if he wanted “more”. as in, to go to the top of the tower.
he looked at me like i was severely lacking in smarts, and said it again, pointing.
this time when i suggested “more?”, i added the ASL sign for the word. again, the look of disappointment from my young friend.
i went over to where he was standing and sat down beside him, and followed where his hand was pointing. holy crap. he was recommending that i admire the bright silver crescent hanging in the darkening dusk sky above our heads.
“moon!” i said, completely thrilled.
“moo,” he replied, obviously relieved that we were moving on in our conversation.
not five minutes later, after going down a slide, c giggled and repeatedly gave the ASL sign for more. “more slide?” i asked. he replied by running up the ramp while signing. at the top of the play structure, he stopped his (hand) chanting and pointed up in the sky, looked at me very seriously and told me “moo”. “moon,” i agreed. i’m learning, slowly but surely.
c’s mom, x, who is also a friend of mine, later told me that she didn’t even realize he knew what the moon was until earlier that same day, when she watched him reading a book with someone and he commented on a drawing of the sky at night. it’s amazing to me that he’d take a concept from a page and then apply it to something that he observes in his everyday life. hell, that’s a skill that i have yet to master!
and this is why i love hanging out with kids.