I once read that a child should learn "at the rate determined by her own happy hunger." (I believe the quotation is from John Ciardi, but I haven’t been able to confirm that.) It is delightful to observe Jonathan’s voracious appetite.
He loves books, and rhapsodizes, "Library! Lots of books!" He asks frequently to be read to, usually specifying the book he wants. This week his first choice is usually, “Hop on Pop, Cat!” (The Cat in the Hat, don’t ask me how it picked up the “Hop on Pop” part) and sometimes “Wocket Pocket” (There’s a Wocket in My Pocket). Elephant’s Birthday (new from Great-Grandma Landeen) and A Fly Went By are other favorites.
He is equally enthusiastic about his “bits.” (See this post and others from Daley Ponderings.) Basically, they are large, discrete, unambiguous pictures of almost anything under the sun, from flowers to art works to mathematical quantities. He has a large collection of physical bits (on 11x11 or 8.5x11 card stock, laminated), and we had some new ones for him to see on this visit. We also have a large number on computer CD’s (“Picture Dictionaries” in which the pictures are shown along with the names of the objects, in English or any of four other languages.
At home, when and how Jonathan sees his bits is somewhat more disciplined, though he still has a lot of freedom to express and indulge his happy hunger. But at Grandma and Dad-o’s house (with Mommy’s permission), just as in the pool, we let Jonathan “drive” with the bits. We show him the cards as often as he wants, several times in a row if he asks. And with the Picture Dictionaries he is allowed to choose the subject (there’s a menu of 15 on each disk) and see whatever he wants, as many times as he wants. He even navigates the mouse (with a fair amount of help) and does the clicking.
He has definite preferences for subject matter, and one of his favorites is Dots (number quantities) in Japanese! He is not (yet) interested in any other language besides English and Japanese, but asks repeatedly for the Japanese Dots. Last night he asked for other subjects in Japanese, which he had resisted the day before. Although he has seen the Sports Equipment only a few times in English, and Vehicles not much more often, he vocalized “baseball bat” and “road roller” in English after seeing them in Japanese. I don’t know what that means; I just thought it was interesting. He asks for some subjects by category (“Dots”) and others by the name of one element of the category (“crab-it” for Sea Creatures, “double bass” for one set of Musical Instruments, “trumpet” for another).