Sorting, eighteen-month-old style

Everett is now a year and a half old, but he still has only a few words. Between pointing and declaring “This!” he gets most of what he wants, anyway, without speaking.

He does like to talk about body parts, sort of. “Eyes,” to him, means point to something round on your face, plus, for some reason, stick your tongue out and point at it, then make some more silly faces, before returning to a game of peekaboo while repeating the word “eyes!” I think he may have learned this at school, overgeneralizing from a lesson on the names of body parts.

He also likes to talk about animals by the sounds they make. “Moo” means a horse or a cow, “arf” means a dog or a wolf, and “this” means “Oh my goodness, this is so exciting, there’s a bird in the sky!” Or maybe an airplane. “This” is a very capacious word, for Everett.

He also tends to say “shhhh” while placing his finger on his cheek (not on his lips, as that gesture should go, but at least close to his lips), and meaning, “Is that person actually sleeping when they could be playing with me? Let’s wake them up!”

Despite his relative lack of language, I know my baby is brilliant. How do I know? He sorts the garbage. I don’t just mean the simple sorting, like recognizing that plastics go in the recycling bin and not the general trash. I think I already may have blogged about that. Now, Everett knows sorting that I was not even conscious of, myself. Tea-bags, I learned from him, go into the sink. That is in fact where I habitually place wet and hot tea-bags, to avoid soaking the small plastic garbage can under the sink — but I had no idea that Everett had observed this, nor that he would refuse to place even an old tea-bag anywhere but the sink. He knows that diapers go only in the best-sealed garbage can in the house. He really likes to pick leaves off our bushes and take them to the yard-waste bin. He knows that the yard-waste bin, when full, can get emptied into the compost. You see? Brilliant. And helpful.

Now I just need to teach him that the best way to greet his sister in the morning is NOT to climb exuberantly onto her bed and bite her shoulder.

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