I am sure that the following is no surprise to those with children about them all the time but Scrip’s recent but all too infrequent visit to the now not so sunny Cornwall set me thinking about how, as children develop language skills, their actions and thought can make perfect sense in the context of their experience whilst not necessarily conforming to the adult perception of the world. What we might see as perverse, are logical choices to the child and have to be understood and respected as such.
One evening, after a pretty wild and rainy day, we went to our local cove with bucket and spade to make castles for the sea to wash away. The sand was smooth and there was a long reach on the tide which should have made castle building easy with enough time to get back well before the castle was flooded. However, the car park, deserted but for us, had a plethora of muddy-looking puddles and it was these that Scrip was really interested in. The prisitine but autumnal beach came a poor second even with the chance to play with bucket and spade. ‘I’ve got my wellies on and I can jump in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig,’ she said and she proceeded to do just that. Ultimately with a little bribery from Grandy, albeit much against her mother’s principles, we got onto the beach and Grandy was allowed to help make the castles but even then it was the chance to splash in rock pools that was the real attraction: she could do that on her own, was only allowed to do it when her wellies were on, and that followed the example of her favourite TV character. She wasn’t being awkward, just logical.
The next day we spent some time feeding the goldfish in the garden pond discussing how they lived in water and couldn’t breathe air like we could so would die if we took them out of the pond (yes I was once a teacher). Later hoping to find out that the weather was going to improve we were looking at the TV weather forecast for the West Country. I pointed out where we lived on the map and where we had gone to the beach., Scrip’s eyes lit up as off shore on the map there were wind direction blobs and arrows. ‘Fish!’ she said pointing to them ‘Fish in water!’ I didn’t have the heart to correct her and her perfectly reasonable deduction.
She has the same quasi-logical approach to language too. I was bringing Grandma’s iPad down for Scrip to use – her skills on it are better than mine. ‘Who wants this?’ I asked holding it in front of her. ‘ME ME’ was the reply. ‘Me Me what?’ said I, knowing that her mother insists on ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’. Scrip looked at me obviously thinking I was approaching my dotage ‘ME ME Scrip,’ came the withering reply.
Totally logical and, as they say, ‘there’s no answer to that’.