Toddler geography

Watching my children learn and grow is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced.  It’s one of the biggest benefits (and one of my favorite parts) of being a stay-at-home mom — I love the sheer number of hours each day I get to watch my kids try, sometimes fail, and eventually succeed in learning or doing something new.

My kids have had some experiences outside of typical, though.  This adventure that we’re sharing manages to insert some fun additions into the normal list of rolling over, crawling, walking, running, jumping, first words, learning colors, counting, singing and reading letters that kids go through.  And, although those things are absolutely magical as I watch them unfold, I get particularly tickled by the ones they surprise me with.

For starters, they start to do some of those things in more than one language, completely removed from our influence.  Liam is working on learning his colors, and on counting, but he’s trying to learn two different words for each concept at the same time, and that certainly seems to add confusion.  (Although hearing him count, “Eins, zwei, jump!” is pretty darn cute.)  B is struggling with the same thing when in comes to reading letters — vowels in particular, since “E” in English sounds just like “I” in German.  We didn’t set out to teach them those things, but kids are like sponges.  B learns them at school, comes home and says them, and then Liam works on them, all on his own.  It’s pretty darn cool.

But then, there’s the really unexpected stuff.  Like today, when Liam showed me something new — something I didn’t see coming.  I was reading both boys a story today, and Liam pointed at a green, white and red flag in the book and said, “Italy”.  He repeated it, pointing with impatience, when I asked him what he said.  He can’t yet identify the colors green, white or red (actually, he gets “green” most of the time) but he recognizes an Italian flag.  I knew that both kids could identify some of the major sights and landmarks we’ve seen on our travels, but he gets extra credit for Italy, since we haven’t been there yet!

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