Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wide World of Symbols

Last week I was pondering the aisles full of toys you couldn't pay me to take home, and noticed that they still sell the little red-handset Fisher-Price telephones I had when I was a toddler.

"Does this make sense?" I thought to myself. "Phones look nothing like that anymore. Do kids even know what they are supposed to be?"

Then I recalled D1's phone fascination. Not only does she talk into my old cell phone, she can turn pretty much anything else that can be held in one hand into a phone. Suction cups. Film canister lids. Surely a red handset would be as much fair game as anything else. Except that she's used to cordless and probably wouldn't want to be tied down.

Despite having received a doll from a neighbor, she doesn't show much interest in it. (I don't blame her, it's ugly.) But she does love to burp things. She helps burp D2, of course. "Pat-pah?" Then she burps her blocks, her glass at dinner, and the other half of the film canister. Versatile things, film canisters. Except it drives her crazy to have the lids stuck on. "UCK! UCK!"

All this book reading during potty training seems to have finally sparked an understanding of what pictures in books mean. A few weeks ago, I would try without success to get her to point to the most obvious things in the books we'd read dozens times. Now she looks at new pictures on her own and points things out. When you think about it, this is quite an amazing mental feat. Somehow she knows that a couple of colored smears on a piece of paper are meant to reflect a reality.

D2, meanwhile, is fascinated by the discovery that his flailing arms sometimes come into contact with solid objects. He's at the ideal holding stage--he can smile and coo at you, but doesn't try to leap out of your arms. If only he weren't so heavy.


Devona said...

Olivia got one of those old phone toys for her birthday. It ended up under the couch, so it must not be one of her favorites.

And unlike D1, Liv is obsessed with babies right now. Anything that has the picture of a baby on it gets rocked to sleep or kissed. And her baby doll is always present.

the Joneses said...

D1 burping her blocks and film cannisters is a wonderful mental image. It will make me laugh all day. That's great that she's recognizing pictures (and you're right, their little minds are amazingly adaptable, able to recognize the same object in many different forms). Now reading to her will be a little less one-sided!

-- SJ