Friday, February 8, 2013

Skills Building

2.5 is such an incredible age to witness. His brain is just exploding with all the new things he's learning and doing and saying. And for the first time, he's really verbal enough that I get to have a glimpse into the working of his mind - what has in many respects been a black box to me until now. Every little cognitive leap achieved or fine motor skill conquered leaves my jaw aching with beaming pride.

Recently he's reached a new level of logical understanding: the "But...." statement. This is both pretty cool to witness and simultaneously challenging. Now, rather than just hollering out in noisy, wordless defiance when I'm suggesting something he doesn't want to do, he's capable of the beginnings of intelligent rebuttal (usually paired with a bright flash of his eyes as he disagrees). For instance

Me: Taran, now that you have finished your milk, it's time to clean up.
Taran: But... there's still some left  - as he points to the miniscule drop at the bottom that can only be obtained by licking it out with one's tongue

Me: Taran, we don't stand on chairs. It's not safe.
Taran: But.... - and he'll proceed to list off all the times he's seen me stand on said chair in the last 24 hours alone to change a lightbulb, get the rice down from the top shelf, put the griddle away...

I find myself sometimes incapable of a counter-argument because often, in a very black-and-white kind of way, he's right. And while he may be capable of posing a reasonable argument, he's not yet capable of subtle shades of gray. So I feel this simultaneous sense of exasperation and amused pride.

There are skills that I expected to witness at this age - establishment of sense of self, learning to put on his pants and work the zipper on Papa's computer bag, use a fork with the end result of at least 50% actually landing into his mouth. And then there are skills that he's decided to focus on that feel uniquely him, based on his own particular passions and interests. One of my favorites in this category is his love of precarious engineering, particularly pile-building and hanging sculptures.

Watching these constructions is akin to watching a master artist meticulously daub paint onto a canvas. He steps up close to observe the lay of the land. Assesses the size of the object in his hand and the available niches to determine best placement. Delicately places the object in it's chosen spot and then steps back to reassess, often adjusting or rearranging as he sees fit. And then finally, taking the final step back to gaze upon his handiwork and take pleasure in the accomplishment. I could watch this process in endless silent admiration.

[Here is where I was going to post a photo of the awesome gravity defying sculpture he made this morning, but I just went down to snap a photo and my ever-efficient and far-cleaner-than-I husband had already put it away. Sigh. I'm sure there will be others.]


  1. Forget the post-doc and become a writer!

  2. I'm serious. The world is just waiting for the next Erma Bombeck... and you're more subtle and insightful than she was.

  3. Thanks Dad. Not that you are biased or anything. ;)

  4. Rebecca, I'm totally on your dad's side, and I don't have the parental bias. You are such an entertaining writer with a gorgeous command of descriptive language. Keep going!

    1. Linda, thanks! Now I'll take this with only a teaspoon of salt instead of the pound a took with my Dad's comment. Ha! No seriously, I appreciate the kind words. I like to think of ou reading about our escapades and staying connected with our lives. Just wish we could do it in person. Boo