Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Scientist in the Crib

A.J. turned 11 months on Dec. 5th. It is so much fun watching him grow and develop, discover new things. This week I've been introducing him to how shaped blocks fit into their corresponding holes on the cover of their yellow storage container. The first time I showed him, he acted like he really wasn't interested at all. But I am finding that when I leave his room to give him his alone time, he experiments with all the things I've shown him once he has some privacy. When I came back into his room, he showed me how he was trying to shove a triangle block into a hole in his stand-up toy. "That doesn't fit in there A.J., but that's a great connection you've made. Great connection!" I said. I had been demonstrating for him a few weeks ago how you're supposed to drop a ball into that hole. He doesn't like how the ball disappears, though, and falls out on the unexpected opposite side of where he dropped it. Since he prefers those plastic balls to any of his other toys, I think he thought he could sacrifice the triangle block into the hole. It wouldn't fit, of course. But tonight, I found him sticking his empty hand into the hole. Apparently, he had found a block that would fit in there. The cylindrical one. I had to fish it out for him. It was stuck inside and wasn't going to roll out the other end.

I've also been showing him how his plastic stacking blocks can fit inside one another. Once again, he pretended as if that was not at all anything he would be interested in figuring out. But when I peaked my head in secretly during his alone time, I saw him doing his experiments. In the first few days, he would get frustrated when a larger block wouldn't fit into a smaller block. Tonight, however, he showed me how he had discovered that the yellow plastic box that's supposed to store the shape blocks can fit any of the stacking blocks in it. He's found that when he can't fit a block into another one, he can always stick all of them in the largest block of them all, the yellow storage container.

Tonight, Andrew was away for men's Bible study. I was in A.J.'s room and wasn't rushing him to bed, since Andrew wasn't home. When it was getting to be past his bedtime, though, and I wasn't telling him that it was clean up time, while I showed him how we put things away, A.J. began to put his plastic book in the shelf where I store his toys. Then, he put the shape blocks into the yellow container it belongs in. Next, he began to attempt to put the blue cover on top of it. "A.J., are you trying to tell me it's time for night-night?"

Children are just another example of God's incredible creativity and power. It is really so amazing the capacity that babies have to learn from the day they are born. For instance, I've been reading a book called The Scientist in the Crib. It says that while the previous belief was that children are born a "blank slate," nobody ever found children worth researching back then to really be able to prove that. In the past 30 years, however, as they have been doing experiments to learn about children, they have found that children are already born with a certain amount of knowledge and an incredible capacity to learn. In fact, we develop the most we ever will our entire lives during the first three years. The book was saying how our five senses actually inform us of very little information, while we must infer the rest. For example, when we put a spoon in our mouth, it apparently disappears, but we feel the warmth of the soup on our tongue. We surmise that, in fact, the spoon has not disappeared into thin air, but it is concealed by our mouths. We learn all this very early on. Another example they give is that rather than seeing floating bags of flesh sitting around the dining room table, babies recognize that we are their family. In fact, from the day they're born they understand that humans are just like them, and they prefer the human voice to mere objects that make sounds.

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