Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Eencey Weencey Spider by Anonymous

Eencey Weencey Spider
Eencey Weencey spider Climbed up the waterspout;
Down came the rain And washed the spider out;
Up came the sun And dried up all the rain;
And the Eencey Weencey spider
Climbed up the spout again.

I had never thought about the authorship of this song before today, so I went and looked it up. According to Wikipedia, this song appeared in the early part of the 20th century in books of camp and folk songs, already having lost all attribution. I generally sing Itsy Bitsy spider rather than Eency Weency unless I'm doing Robert Fulghrum's idea and singing it to the tune of Ode to Joy.

Yesterday in church, all four of the little girls in nursery were really participating well in the singing. Even Elizabeth who is about a year and a half younger than the other three was trying to do all the actions -- even when she'd never seen them before. This is representative of everything she's been doing lately -- she's mimicing everything people around her do and say.

I'm sorry that I haven't been posting frequently in the last few months (OK, I think there have been 11 posts total this year) so that you could have vicariously have watched her progress, but it's been amazing. Sometime in May, she decided that she was going to get ready for Kindergarten. Having mastered the shapes by reading her sparkly shapes book, she up and decided to learn the letters. She started with the obvious round O and the very useful B (for ball and blanket) then spent hours demanding that we tell her which magnet she was pointing to. A lucky find at a garage sale got her foam numbers for the bath, and she learned them too. She's currently working on colors and grammar.

Meanwhile, she was picking up two, three, five, then up to ten new words a day. Eventually, she just started repeating any word that was unfamiliar, and we stopped counting. Sometimes this gave very cute results. The other day, we were coming home late, and as we came in the door, Grandpa Roly noticed that he hadn't turned on the front porch light for us. "Nuts!" he said, as he helped us inside. Elizabeth, who had finally falllen asleep a block from home, perked up and said "Nuts. Eat it." and wouldn't settle down again until I gave her some cashews.

It sometimes amazes me how much she listens. I can be listening to an NPR story about Blue Dog Democrats, and she'll say, "Rowf rowf" which is what dogs are currently saying in her world. Because of that, I've cut way back on listening to news, and started playing a lot more songs in the car. When she hears one she likes, she'll say, "'Gin!" and I'll play it a few more times. Her current favorites (which she'll sing along with sometimes) are the "Dig Dig Dig" song from Snow White, and several from Sesame Street: One Fine Face, Elmo's Song, C is for Cookie, and I Love Trash.

She also picks up phrases. She says, "I see you!" when she wants to play peekaboo. She also likes "Oh, I see!" and "Happy to YOU!" (leaving out the word Birthday for some reason).

She's participating in reading books more and more. Last night we got a video of her reading Worms Wiggle with me and she could read every other word. It's also fun to hear her read Moo, Baa, La la la

On the grammar front, she's been putting words together into phrases like "Daddy's Shoes" for quite some time now. Nouns get some kind of adjective applied to them on the second or third repetition of a sentence (She's serious about practicing). Favorite adjectives include Big, Little, Mommy's, Daddy's, Roly's, Nice, Happy, Sad, Same, or a guess at what color it is. Whenever we hear a baby cry, she will comment that the baby or boy or girl is sad, and she loves to find happy faces on all the pumpkins around this time of year. (She also loves to find happy faces in her collection of balls, and one day, when there weren't enough, she had us draw happy faces on most of the plain golf balls).

She's making complete sentences now, when she has something to communicate other than "Look, there's a _______!" Usually, the object of the verb is "it" as in "Get it" or "Mama do it" but more and more often, she has a real subject verb and object in the sentence. The order isn't always the way I would say it -- Last night she said, "Kitty bag in" -- but it still got the point across.

She's also trying to conjugate and decline words. She noticed that Dog was sometimes Doggy, so for a while she tried putting a Y on the end of many words to see which ones we responded to. Recently, she's been doing the same thing with -ing. It works fine when she puts it on verbs, but it's terribly cute when she puts it on nouns and we hear about kittying.

Most of the time she pronounces things very carefully, and gets them just right. She has no problem with tricky sounds like the ir in Girl and Bird. She doesn't leave off the ending sounds -- on the contrary, she says them very deliberately, and sometimes with too much stress, but that's cute too. She does get R and L sounds mixed up occasionally, and she'll throw an extra sound in to some words (for instance, Fish is Firsh). She rarely will leave off the initial sound of a word like sanke, but I think that that shows a problem with the way she was taught the word. "Snake goes sssssss ssssssnake" she very understandably thought that nake was the animal, and sssss was the sound.

Generally, I try to do as my Language Development teacher in college suggested: When the child makes a "mistake" (usually by overextending a rule that they're learning, or mispronouncing a word) you shouldn't correct them as if they're wrong, or they'll be hesitant to try again. on the other hand, you should model the correct way to say it. To take one of the examples above, in response to "Kitty bag in" I said, "OK, we'll put the kitty in the bag." Or, if I point to an animal and say, "What's that?" and she answers "Meow mow" instead of saying, "No, it's called a kitty" I'll say, "That's right, a kitty says meow meow."

I like the geneal idea of this, but sometimes I think it works too well. The adorable mispronounciations and baby talk are fleeing far too fast. I treasure the few that I do get. One of my favorites is "Cakoo" (which sounds like cukoo with an ah sound) meaning crocodile. She has a little pop up book with a crocodile eating everything in sight, which she can recite about half the words to while reading it to herself:

Crocodile wakes, his jaws go crunch. -- Cakoo crunch
Down goes breakfast -- Bekfast
Later lunch -- La'er lurch
Later still and feeling thinner he eats his grandmmother for dinner -- Gamma
He sighs, Now what am I to do?" -- Doooo
And grinning wide he looks at you -- at yooooooou!

One final thing I want to mention is names. She discovered recently that other people have names. She figured out without any prompting that Daddy was also known as Peter and Mama was Karen. She can identify several people in pictures, especially Grandma (Gamma) and Grandpa (Gmpa). She loves to come and tell me about the picture of herself with her friend Joel that's currently my desktop wallpaper, and that's how I discovered one other mispronounciation that I had been missing. She came up to me, climbed up on my lap and pointed to the computer screen. "Joel!" she said. "Weee!" (the picture is of the two of them on a double glider swing) "Leefun!" (What?) "Leefun." (There's no elephant in this picture. There's a slide, but she can say slide.) "Leefun Joel wheeee!" At that point, I realized that Leefun was her way of saying "Lizbeth" I think it's odd that a girl who can say Trampoline without trouble can't say the word she hears most often -- her own name! And yet, in the week that has elapsed since then, it's already evolved to Leesun which is not too far from Lisa which is not to far from Lisabeth.

Well, to end, I'll give you an idea of how much she's talking with this video of a typical ten minutes of her playing in the basement.


  1. Smart Lizbeth! :) It's so fun when they start talking.

    One thing Kate still does sometimes that cracks me up is to put the "ing" on the end of two-part verbs, like "He's spit upping!" or "I'm take caring of it."

  2. So sweet. How fun to see her learn new things! We should get together soon--I'd love to see her progress in person.