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December 12, 2011

Saving It For Later

I distinctly remember the first time I realized the girls could fill in the blanks in nursery rhymes and some of the texts from books we read frequently.

They were 21 months old, and I had wedged myself into the back seat, between their car seats, trying to entertain them to keep them awake on a 45-minute drive.

I thought I’d recite one of their ABC books. ’A’ is for apple, that I like to...and before I could finish, someone yelled out, “Bite!’B’ is for bear, whom I cuddle at…“Night!” We continued on and on, and they filled in most of the blanks in the alphabet. I moved to nursery rhymes, and they amazed me there, too.

I wondered how much the rhymes were giving the girls clues. Over the next couple of weeks, I began omitting words here and there in Curious George stories and other books. I remember laughing when one of them filled in the words “launching site” in a book about a rocket ship…it seemed so random, and it certainly didn’t rhyme with anything.

Over the last few months, the girls have started “reading” to themselves and their baby dolls. It’s amazing how they can recite page after page in so many books. There are times when they’re describing the pictures, but there are many times they’re saying the written text word for word, complete with Mommy’s inflections.

I remarked to a girlfriend how, despite me having read those books a gazillion times…which is obviously how the girls are learning the text in the first place…I couldn’t recite the text word for word.

A seasoned mom, she immediately responded, “They’re saving it for later.

I’ve thought about this a lot. And I don’t mean to sound trite, but I keep equating it to what is said of someone who loses the sense of sight, for example, that his other senses become heightened.

The girls can’t read yet, so if they want to enjoy their books when Mommy is not reading to them, this is their solution.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a Frosty the Snowman book, the original text from 1950. Granted, I read that book probably 20 times in three days, but I was astounded when the girls started reciting it verbatim within a few days.

Even otherwise unfamiliar text, like “floppy galoshes,” and more poetic syntax, like “said he”…they’ve got it down. And it’s so cute, where one trails off, so often her sister will pick right up.

The capacities of the human brain never cease to amaze me. if I could just channel some of their capacities to remember what I need at the grocery store!


Brad Jenkins said...

Based on the title of the post I thought it would have something to do with food. Our girls save stuff for later in their cheeks, then we find it in all kinds of places.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Mandy, your girls are VERRRRY clever :)

I don't think mine are saving up anything except naughtiness LOL

Unknown said...

Cute! Adam woke me up Saturday morning belting out Jingle Bells as loud as he could from his room! ha!

His new thing right now is puzzles! He can now put together a 24 piece jigsaw puzzle by himself and the kids is flying through puzzles like crazy around here. He seriously will sit at the coffee table and do puzzle after puzzle after puzzle! I'm so impressed! Sarah was always really good at puzzles so it shouldn't surprise me but its just so sudden that he's totally hooked and can do them so well!

Santa's definitely bringing him more puzzles this Christmas!

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

That is amazing. AMAZING! My kids are 23 months and well, they are not even talking I am in awe!

AMAZING! I think I should read more to them...LOL! ;)

Happy Monday!

championm2000 said...


I admit, though, in the throes of reading Mother Goose for the 50th time in an hour, I lose sight of the importance :-)

Anonymous said...

1) I know! I can't believe those little brains. I'm so impressed!

2) I STILL have that book memorized! My kids pull it out less frequently now, but it was a favorite for a looooooooong time!

3) M will help me make lists for the grocery store, but (amazingly), she only puts chicken and yogurt on her list. occasionally, she'll add milk or coffee, but that's really it!


MultipleMum said...

Clever little girls. Keep at it Mandy!

Nugget used to LOVE a book all about cars and trucks. We read it over and over and, at the age of about 2 he could name ever excavator, digger and tractor in the book (there are about 100).

I was reading it to Dew Drop the other day (nearly 3). He hadn't had much exposure and knew only a handful of the things. Interestingly though, Nugget was sitting with us too and had to read the names of most of the machines because he had forgotten them!

You retain what you need I reckon. The rest gets lost into the 80% of the brain we don't use.

reanbean said...

My guys do the same thing, and I also find it amazing. Their all time favorite is the book Little Blue Truck. It is loooooong, but it rhymes, so that probably helps. Even more than the words, I'm impressed that they've also memorized the page turns. I rarely find them reciting the wrong text on any given page. So cool how they can do this!