There seems to have been a bit of a lull in Thomas’ language acquisition. I am not worried about this as it is something that I have noticed in my own progress in learning Portuguese. I can go ages without seeming to improve, and then all of a sudden there is a lap in my language skills. I think what is happening is that the brain is busy assimilating language and coming up with theories as to ow it works, and then, when it feels it is ready to put the theories into practice, there is a sudden rush of activity. With adult language students this can be a problem as they want to feel they are progressing all the time. They have to be reassured that çanguage learning is not linear, it is full of ups and downs and almost as many backward steps as there are forward ones.
A gross over-simplification, I am sure, but one that works for me.
We have, however, been learning and experiencing new stuff. Some of these include;
Marmite is a yeast extract spread that is black and one of my favourite things to eat in the world, especially on toast for breakfast. They have something similar in Australia and New Zealand called Vegemite. Most people who don’t learn to like it as kids end up hating it. I have yet to find a Brazilian who likes it at all*. As the advert says, you either love it or you hate it.
Unless youare a 20 month old toddler, when you can both love it and hate it. I had some for breakfast this morning and Thomas was intrigued so I gave him a small bit of my toast. He was suspisous of the look of it and the smell, but he eventually put it inhis mouth anyway. He ate it as if it was a normal piece of toast, and then all of a sudden scrunched up his face and shook it violently. I reckoned he was a Marmite hater, until 5 seconds later he came back for more. The result was the same and he declined another offering. I think, though, that it is an acquired taste and we have starte dout on the right road to getting aother Marmite lover in the world.
Obviously Thomas has sneezed before. The weather has changed recently so he has started to sneeze more often now than he has in the last few months. Today we learned of the dangers of sneezing when you have a mouth full of food. I had just put a spoonfull of banana and milk in his mouth when he sneezed it all over the table. I haven’t seen such wonder and astonishment as was on his face since he first tried to eat a lime. Within seconds he was trying to eat it all up once again.
It was one of Thomas’ friend’s birthday over the weekend. Fortunately I missed it as it was at the same time as the rugby match betwen Wales and England (which I won’t talk about). All of the kids get a goody bag when they are leaving and in Thomas’, among many other things, was a whistle. It took a bit of time to figure it out because he had to get his lip position right and regulate his breathing. To start off with he was holding it in his lips and imitating a whistle with a sort of quiet scream (see below). But he is now at the point where he can make it whictle more ofthen than not. He is very chugffed with himself when he manages it.
A couple of weeks ago we got a Mickey Mouse magazine that had stickers in it og the main carachters. He loved the stickers but got quite frustrated with them when he couldn’t get them off the paper he had stuck them to. As part of the same goody bag that he got the whistle from, he also got a small notebook with stickers from the film Cars 2. These stickers have been very successful. He likes the tactile feeling of the stickiness and spends a minute or two experiementing with that, before carefully putting them on the paper. This time there have been no disappointhments with the fact that once they are stuck they are stuck.
We have always had crayons and pencils around the flat for Thomas to use. For Christmas he got a small table and 4 chairs which he loves to use and demand that somebody sits next to him. Until recently his colouring in was faint and sometimes diffcult to see. In the last week he has developed very strong, bold strokes so that whatever he is ‘colouring in’ is pretty much obliterated.
We were having breakfast the other day and Thomas was starting to get bored waiting for his freshly-squeezed orange juice. He started messing around calling my name and then various other people. After a while these calls developed into screams, but good natured screams as he did them with a smile on his face. He was obviously delighted with what he had found out that he could do.
Up to now, these screams have continued to be for the fun of it. We went swimming today and another little kid started screaming for real. Thomas thought it was great fun and joined in with his play-scream. What could have descended into parent hell ended up with a happy ending as the first child stared at Thomas and then just started giggling.
I know that the day he uses his screams for real in a shop or a restaurant is just around the corner and I am not looking for ward to it.
EDIT: Since publishing this post I have been reminded that I do know a Brazilian who loves Marmite. I apologise wgoleheartedly to Luc and Kelly and I promise never to forget either of you again.