Tuesday, September 18, 2012


When I go to the library I get books for the Little Man (technically), because I don't have the time and energy to browse for myself while one handedly pushing a stroller with a baby whirlwind in it and using my other hand to hold onto a toddler who constantly asks me if I'm done yet. But when I'm being honest, though the books are for L.M., I only pick ones that I actually want to read to him. This is because in his mind, repetition is a virtue unparalleled by any other, and library books must be read and reread until we're so sick of them we have to take them back, at which point, he has them memorized already anyway. I do not tell a lie. Last week he entertained himself by responding to any and all meal choices with those classic words from Dr Seuss: "I do not like them, Sam-I-Am. I will not eat them with a fox. I will not eat them in a box. I will not eat them here or there. I will not eat them anywhere!" It got old fast.

Point being, that, since technically I'm looking for my own entertainment instead of my child's, I frequently come home from the library with books that aren't quite appropriate for his age level. This has lead to some stretching of his vocabulary. For example, this week he is obsessed with the Maurice Sendak illustrated Swine Lake, written by James Marshall. New words include "marquee", "lorgnette", "inconspicuous", "scrumptious", and the list goes on. I'm trying to allow him to figure out most of the words by context but will occasionally pause and give a brief definition. I also grabbed a copy of Nina Rycroft and Stephen Harris' Ballroom Bonanza with its lovely illustrations of dancing animals, which has proved educational as well. L.M. was quite upset that there were no foxes on the page that mention "foxtrot" and was unimpressed by my explanation for the "tango." I also found out that he hates flamingos. Who hates flamingos?

The funny thing, though, is that while he may not understand half the words in the books I pick out, he can still tell if I'm reading in English versus another language. I know, because he is adamantly opposed to being read to in Spanish or Indonesian. I don't have words for how this makes me feel, but at least he will have an expansive vocabulary in one language...


  1. So he won't read the Spanish Dr. Seuss book I bought him? Sad... I need at least one multi-lingual nephew. Is it going to be Micah? He does love him some Arabic videos...before I left for India, I played him a bunch of Hindi cartoons on youtube, and he loved them too. I will still love Smig even if he is monolingual...his mother resisted learning languages at an early age, but then she wised up... :) Also, I think Smig's Dr. Seuss quote was actually very well used...

    1. He only lets me read it to him in English. It is a disappointment. But I'll keep trying. He got mad at me yesterday for singing "Hari Ini"; I told him to shove it. Nicely. I will prevail.