07.07.11 | 1 Comment

I knew a long time ago that Sean was listening to everything we said. He’d hear a key word that he knew and repeat it or ask for it. I imagined it sounded to him something like “blah blah blah banana blah blah blah.” And he’d say “ba! ba!” and make the sign for banana.

But more recently I’m realizing the extent of his comprehension of what we’re saying. And it’s amazing. Just yesterday he put a golf ball he was playing with in a paper bag. Then he picked up the paper bag and tried to reach in and grab the golf ball, but his arm wasn’t long enough. He tried several different positions for getting the ball, but still his arm wasn’t long enough. He started getting frustrated. “Sean,” I said, to get his attention. He looked at me. “Turn the bag up-side-down.” And he promptly turned it up-side-down and the ball rolled out, much to his delight. I hadn’t expected that he’d understand what to do with just my words; I was preparing to show him what I meant. He knows the word “bag” and we’ve been working on “turning” his magnetic train cars around when they don’t stick together. And we’ve used the term “up-side-down” before, especially when he stands on his head. But to put that all together and figure out how to apply “turn up-side-down” to a new object — well, I was pretty impressed.

Here’s another example from a month ago: Ben had his guitar out and he and Sean were playing with it together. It was super cute, so I went to get the camera. I tried to be as subtle and quiet as possible, because when Sean sees the camera, he runs to it and wants to see the image on the other side. (That’s something to be said for the old viewfinder cameras — no alluring display.) Well, I wasn’t quite quiet enough, because just as I got set up to take the photo, Sean saw me and ran over. I sighed. There haven’t been as many photos in the past couple months for a reason… But I invited Sean around to my side of the camera and showed him the display: “see, there’s Daddy and his guitar. Let’s take a picture of him.” And <click> we took the picture:

“Now you go over there so I can take a picture of you!” I said, fully not expecting Sean to leave the camera and its alluring display. But he did! He got up and went over to Ben and sat on his lap. He even posed for the camera:

And as soon as I said, “okay, I took the picture,” Sean bounded back over to me to see the picture I took of him. So he understands what a camera does, which must involve several abstract notions. And he understood enough of what I was saying to go have his picture taken. Granted, not the cute candid photo I originally set out to take, but a different kind of cute photo. I’m constantly amazed.

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