Friday, February 15, 2008

Feather of Quetzal, Eye of Newt

One of the bub's baby gifts was a set of Animal Parade alphabet cards. These cards are beautifully illustrated in a great color palette--not all pastel and baby-fied and yet not all in-your-face primary colors. Each card features a different letter and a corresponding animal. I was delighted to receive these cards and had big plans to use them to enhance the decor of the bub's farmyard-themed nursery (Pottery Barn Kids, NTB). First, I was going to secure several yards of lovely, yet still masculine, gingham ribbon. Then, I planned to take the alphabet cards that spelled the bub's name (don't worry about the three "b's" in one name--you know his name isn't actually "Bubby") and hang them on the wall using that lovely, yet still masculine, gingham ribbon. As with so many of my well-intentioned projects, this one never quite came to be. So, when the bub spotted the alphabet cards on his book shelf the other day, I figured why not let him play with them.

The cards have been a hit. The bub enjoys spreading them all around his room. Luckily, he also enjoys picking them up. Instead of reading books together before naptime and bedtime, lately he has wanted to do his cards: "Cards. Cards!" Such a passion for learning. NTB. The procedure begins with gathering; we check under the beds (there are three beds in his room, long story), the chair, and the changing table until we have them all. Then, the bub places the box on one of his beds and we sit down together. I hold up each card, say the letter, give him a chance to guess the animal, and then say the name of the animal. Usually, he repeats the animal name and then places the card in the open box.

Now the bub is fairly good with his animals. He knows the basics like cow, sheep, dog, cat, chick, pig, and duck. He even knows animals I consider more challenging, like hen and goose. But the animals on parade in these alphabet cards are more on the exotic side. The animal for "H" is not horse but hummingbird. The animal for "P" is not pig but porcupine. "C" is not cat or cow but camel. "U" is for underwing. "V" is for vole. "X" is for xanthos. Excepting "B" for bear and "S" for sheep, there are very few gimmes. The progress in learning new animals has been slow, but surprising. I am just intrigued by the animals the bub has "learned" so far. When I say "N" and hold up its card, he can offer, "newt." When I say "Y" and hold up the card, he says "hammer," which I accept as an honest effort to say "yellowhammer." But, most surprising of all, is "Q." He gets it every time, just from looking at the picture before I even say the letter: "quetzal" is pronounced with pride. In case you are wondering, a quetzal is a lovely little pink and green bird. A few days into our card studies, we caught a few minutes of a PBS kids show called, I think, It's A Big World. I was tidying up and heard the bub saying, "Quetzal, quetzal." I looked at the television and, sure enough, there was a pink and green bird talking. Proud moment.


CJR said...

How about "a squared plus b squared equals c squared"?

LAP said...

Our quetzel knowledge is based on our Dora ABC book. Diego is also educational in the way of hear the words "pygmy marmoset" come out of a tiny little body is just hysterical. I also find that the llama is often a featured animal. I've learned that they are fast, good climbers, able to carry heavy loads (ie can get over the mountain to return Dora's library books before the library closes.) My previous knowledge of them was simply that they are unattractive animals...based on my observation of them on a small roadside farm on the way to South Bend. As far as a newt goes, I'm pretty sure I couldn't identify one....go bubby!

E... said...

On my way to my parents' house today, I was listening to NPR (thanks to O's willingness to watch his "show" wearing the headphones) and amazingly, the "resplendent quetzel" was mentioned. Seems they are in competition with the hornbilled toucan in the cloud forest of Monte Verde(I think) for the hollow trees -- something to do with good and bad things coming from global warming. The toucans like the quetzels' eggs, too, apparently. Never would have absorbed this bit of info if not for the bub, so thanks.

Actchy said...

This post made me laugh out loud. I am reminded of a conversation we had over a decade ago, MEP, when you discussed making future use of your "French In Action" (no pun intended) materials for your issue. It would appear that the Bub might be intellectually curious enough to handle the adventures of Robert et Mireille some day? Mystere et Boulle de gum!

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