Children seldom misquote. In fact, the usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said. ~Author Unknown
Last week’s post was about Tucker’s oral surgery and how hard it was to wait for any news. Just to get it out of the way, Tucker did well, and is now happily home. He must be kept quiet all the way until next Wednesday, and he is bored out of his mind, but so far, so good, and we are very relieved!
But back to last Thursday. I dropped him off about 7:30 am, and then went home to wait. They weren’t sure what time his procedure would take place, so I was uncertain about when to expect a call.
Of course I was restless, and couldn’t stay focused very well. First I went for a quick bike ride, and then my sister came over with her little friend, Emile, age 2. I had invited them to come play at our neighborhood park since it was a warm and pleasant January day.
Emile is a VERY busy little boy. He had a great time climbing, crawling, sliding, swinging, running, climbing, climbing and climbing some more. All the while he would parrot our words. I’d forgotten how cute kids at this stage are. I’d say, “up high!” and he’d say it back to me. Or “King of the Hill!” and he’d say, “Hill!” “Jump!” “Slide!” “Ball!” “Train!” He was like a little sponge, absorbing all these new words.
Of course, Tucker was always in the back of my mind, and I got to thinking about how dogs similarly learn words. Oh, they don’t say them back to you, but as you train a dog, you should speak the words you want them to associate with an action. When they sit, say, “Sit! Good dog!” Or when they wave their paw, say “Shake! Good shake!” It also works with other actions, such as Speak, Down, Off, etc. It’s even more fun if you use hand signals as you say the command. If you have a smart dog, it won’t take long at all for him or her to respond to either.
Language development is so important with both dogs and kids. One of my biggest pet peeves is to see mothers or nannies pushing a stroller with a child inside, all the while totally ignoring the little one. The kid sits dully looking ahead while the stroller pusher is either listening to music on headphones or talking on the phone with someone else or not otherwise engaging the child at all. Sometimes the child is fiddling with an electronic device, and I’m thinking, “Kiddo, you are missing a great big world out there!”
Look, there’s a bird! Do you see it? It’s red. Listen to it sing! Oh, there’s a doggie. Want to pat the doggie? I see a fire engine! Can you hear it? It’s so loud!
Joel tells the story of the time he and I were riding in the car (when Shannon was very small), and I pointed out to him, “Look, a cow!” It just popped out of my mouth.
But that’s the way kids (and dogs) learn. You’ve got to talk to them all the time. Emile learned the words stick, log, bead, bug and others as Camille and I would point them out to him. It was great fun, and we have made a plan to make a date for another outing.
Boy, this really makes me want to have some grandkids!! 🙂
(note to Joel: Happy birthday to a wonderful husband and father… the founder of the feast!)