September 27, 2009

What's the word?

I am intrigued by Bright's fascination with written language. It seems he can't get enough, that he can't learn fast enough. He is interested in all things academic, but the written word most of all.

Examples? Let me see. Well, this morning, he read the word "name" and said, "It has a silent 'e' on the end so we know not to pronounce it 'nam'." Ok, he's four, people. Does that seem a little crazy to anyone else? The other day, we were riding through the city on our three-wheeler and we passed an electronic billboard scrolling something in the local language which none of us could read BUT it included commas. I didn't even notice the billboard. Cities here are like Manhattan meets Vegas meets Haiti...if you know what I mean. At any given moment there are literally thousands of things to see. But, Bright saw the commas.

"Mama," he asked, "What are those little marks for at the end of those characters in that sentence?" I followed his little pointing finger and saw what he was looking at. "Those are commas, honey." "But what are they FOR?" he asked. "Oh, well, they indicated a pause in the sentence, like 'Hello Bright (comma) how are you?'" He was satisfied. Then today, he was sitting on my lap at the computer and he was looking at the keyboard (rather than the screen, you see my point?) and he asked about the key with the colon and semicolon, and he asked why there was a little line below the question mark. I'm telling you, folks, he is FASCINATED.

Then again, I wonder if he is less fascinated with words and more fascinated with laws and the way things work. Perhaps he loves reading right now because reading is the only thing he knows that involves laws (as in this letter makes that sound and an exclamation point tells you to read the word with excitement, etc.) Just look at this picture of him painting. This is his style. He likes everything to make perfect sense. Maybe our little linguist is really a mathematician with no math.

Who knows, really. At the end of the day, he a four-year-old kid who didn't wipe his rear-end very well. But it is beautiful to watch, the unfolding of your child. Absolutely amazing.