A few weeks ago in the bath, Chase discovered that Cole had painstakingly lined up all the foam letters and numbers alphabetically and numerically on the side of the bathtub. Twenty five (missing the letter A) letters and ten numbers of all different colors in a neat line. Chase was thrilled - one of his favorite toys is the foam orange letter "A" he carries almost everywhere.
He immediately scraped off the letters so they were all floating in a colorful array in the bathtub. He glanced up at me, swished his hands around in the water, and pulled out the orange letter "G". He examined it carefully, tossed it back in the water, and pulled out the orange "S". The rest of his bath, he spent fishing out letters, examining them, and tossing them back - most of the time, he chose orange letters.
The next day, Cole found Chase's precious letter "A" and re-alphabetized the letters - just in time for Chase's bath. Again, Chase gleefully knocked all the letters off the wall and into the water. And again, he searched all the orange letters. When he got to the orange "4", he examined it a bit longer than the others, even putting it into his mouth for a taste. But then he spied his "A" in the water - he lunged for it, grabbed it, and refused to put it down for the entire rest of the bath and while he was getting changed for bed.
Over and over again Cole and I did this same experiment. Lined up the letters to see what Chase would be interested in, what he would reach for. And over and over again, Chase examined orange letters, but only until he found his beloved "A".
Color recognition, number and letter recognition, fine motor skills - all these amazing realizations I didn't expect my eleven month old to have yet - they would have been lost if I had been focused on entertaining him in the bath or "showing" him the letters, or handing him something to play with instead of watching his choice.
I am in awe of his awareness, his recognition. I only wish I could know what was going on in his little mind!