As Amy has grown one of the things that has always amazed me about her is her ability with language. She has an incredible memory, and can recite many books, rhymes and songs. For Amy reading a new book is like a tasty snack, she listens attentively as she soaks up new words, emerging from her happy cocoon only to ask you to read it again so she can devour the words again.
Being her primary caregiver I usually know when she learns new words or concepts from books and the situations around her. She is also learning from being at school now, but I am still continuously surprised when she uses language or sings songs that she didn’t learn in our space together.
Like the time I heard her singing ‘I hear thunder’ in Zulu. I was sitting on the couch in our lounge when I overheard some Zulu words floating in the air towards me. I was quite taken aback, my ears pricked up and I listened harder…yes, there was definitely a little voice singing ‘Liyaduma’ in Zulu. Turns out she had learnt the song at school, how amazing to think her mind could retain a new song in a different language like that, and then even teach it to me! She also knows a sizeable chunk of our national anthem, which as any South African knows, is quite challenging even to us parents.
For all of her knowledge, she is still learning, and sometimes that gets lost which does make us giggle. For example, she is convinced that she saw a waterhog at the game reserve this past holiday. Given the small warthog we saw was wallowing in the shallow dam with the rhinos, she’s not entirely incorrect either, he was totally being a water hog! She also told me that my Labrador Becca was sniffing a caterpillow the other day, once again hard not to smile at the innocence of childhood.
The human mind is truly a miracle. My little guy is just 8 months now, but has already started to babble as he learns the first rudiments of language. He can already understand many things too, and can even give you a hug when you ask him to. How incredible to think that in the space of just 8 months he has gone from being born to being able to say ‘baba’ and understand when you tell him no. Even more incredible to think that in just another two years he will be able to sing his ABC’s, count to twenty, and recite the words to his favourite Hairy McClary book. He will of course also be able to remember any snack you promised him after his nap as soon as he opens his eyes from said nap.
The mind is a wonderful place, and our children are ready to soak in new words each moment of every day. Pay attention to what they are absorbing, they really are like little sponges.