One of Q’ool’s favorite books is La Vie de Kuma Kuma, a story in French. I read it to him every Friday night. Yesterday, Q’ool brought it from from the bedside bookshelf, opened it, and said:
‘My friend Kuma Kuma lives on the mountain far way.’
‘It’s not easy to get there.’
‘He eats salad.’
‘He’s making his coffee.’
‘He read magazines at the book store.’
‘He carries his bags.’
He’s sweeping the floor.’
‘Kuma Kuma cuts fingernails and looks at them.’
‘He’s sliding on the roof. Watch out! Be careful!’
‘Ohhh, it’s raining! Kuma Kuma go inside!’
‘He’s rolling on the floor.’
‘Kuma Kuma writes long letters after dinner.’ (my favorite)
‘Time for bed!’
It’s amazing. He’s not reading, he’s telling the story. So Q’ool.
It may be good parenting, or good nannying, or some higher power better left unquestioned, but Q’ool has turned two without becoming a raving, tantrum throwing kid. His birthday was last week, and if you didn’t get the invitation, here’s your chance to at least see the birthday-flyer. Q’ool was quite pleased with his bounty, which arrived in waves over a span of 4 days or so:
- A wooden train set (the Yukon express)
- Three books (The Birthday Party, Choo-Choo, and a homemade photo album)
- Two t-shirts (“E=MC2” and “Chicks Dig Me”)
- A yellow truck-wagon
- Mr. Potato Head
More importantly, I think he’s learning to share with Little Fabulus.
One of the better ideas I had was to try and teach my not quite 2-year-old concepts rather than words. Symbols and metaphors rather than realist descriptors. A good example came a few months ago, when I put on my pair of circa 1999 silver snowboarder sunglasses and said to him, “superstar.” He repeated the word, but I wondered if he really got it. Recently he rummaged through a drawer and brought the sunglasses to me to put on.
‘Superstar, daddy?’ he instructed.
‘Yes,’ I said, putting them over my eyes for a moment. ‘Now you try.’
He put on the glasses silently, his chin pointing up at my face. Then he turned and walked away.
‘I look great,’ he said.